Explore the world of the School Sports Club
Konnichiwa Minna. In anime, school clubs have set certain expectations to people of how it must be in a school club. Today we are either going to debunk or confirm some of those myths. We also look at sports drinks, learn sport-related Japanese words, bang our heads to some sugoi sport anime AMVs and look at our anime challenge. To top all of that we look at some crazy sugoi types of sport you get in our Only in Japan. Add to that our monthly news and other goodies we pack in the bento, yes we’re going to have a feast. Itadakimasu!!
Anime and Japanese News
Arcade Kicker gets Arrested
A sixteen-year-old was arrested in Kakogawa City for alleged property damage after kicking a punching machine in an arcade. According to the alleged vandal he was angered since he dropped money into the machine’s slot and the game did not start so he angrily kicked it three or four times. The kid punched the machine’s coin slot return totally destroying it in the process.
Punching machines measures how hard one hits, not kicks. They existed since the early 20th century and in the 1980s, many Japanese game companies released their versions of the game including Namco’s Knockdown in 1981, Taito’s Real Puncher in 1990, and Atlus’ Punching Try in 2007. Let’s hope the kid learned his lesson and don’t kick back into kicking innocent machines.
Pacific Rim: The Black
If you love both anime as well as the Pacific Rim movie franchise then keep your eyes peeled on Netflix on March 4th as the Pacific Rim: The Black anime hits the screen. The anime was created by Craig Kyle (Thor: Ragnarok) and Greg Johnson (X-Men: Evolution). The animation is done by Polygon Pictures who worked on the Godzilla Netflix Original Anime Trilogy. The plan is for Pacific Rim: The Black to run for two seasons.
Netflix revealed the following synopsis:
“There was a time when Kaiju rose from the Pacific Rim only to encounter gigantic robots, Jaegers, built to fight them back. That time has passed. Now, Australia has been overrun by Kaiju, forcing the evacuation of an entire continent. Left behind, teenage siblings Taylor and Hayley embark on a desperate search for their missing parents, teaching themselves to pilot a battered, long-abandoned Jaeger to help in their quest and give them even the slightest hope of surviving.”
Pacific Rim: The Black drops on Netflix on March 4.
Temple in Space!!!!
Daigoji Temple, Kyoto Japan. The Daigoji Temple is a UNESCO World Heritage site, founded in 874 and features from a Benten altar in the middle of a pond to a five-floor pagoda, one of the oldest places in Kyoto and a national treasure to Japan. This temple may be old but it is always expanding, and this time it is expanding out into space.
With the help of Terra Space, a Kyoto-based satellite research and development company, the new temple will share space with an IoT communications satellite. Half of its interior space will be carrying Buddhist imagery, a mandala as well as other items. It will circle in low orbit, at an altitude of about 450 kilometres, circling Earth every 90 minutes. This new temple will be called Jotenin Gounji; ‘Joten’ meaning ‘pure Heaven’ and the kanji for ‘goun’ relating to the Buddhist concepts of the flow of time and existence of humanity.
The satellite’s launch will only be in two years time but already, earlier this month, the Daigoji held a ‘space prayer ceremony’, praying for peace and safety as humanity continues to go boldly where man nor temple has ever been before.
Woodcarving anime characters?!
We have all visited someone that has wood-carved statues in their homes of elephants, Egyptian cat statues and the odd woodcarving of the continent of Africa. In Vietnam woodcarving is a traditional handicraft where many religious objects are carved from wood, but there is an exception. DWoodart decided to make super sugoi sculptures of popular anime, manga as well as video game characters.
Here we share a few videos showcasing their art and the process in making them.
Inosuke (Demon Slayer)
Only in Japan: Sport edition
There are hundreds of different sports in the world, from rugby to Scottish sword dancing. Only in Japan sport can go to even the next level. We bring you an Only in Japan sport edition that will blow your mind.
This sport is a classic that originated in Japan in the late 1700s/early 1800s. It is still very popular in Japan and Kendama has an active community as well as an annual international tournament. It features two different sized cups, a stick and a ball with a hole in it and this has three levels of difficulty to it. How it’s played? Well, the video below will explain it perfectly.
What do you get when you mix two teams of 75 members, a giant pole and a brutal reminder of capture-the-flag, without capturing the flag, chaos? No, you get botaoshi. Loosely translated botaoshi means ‘bringing down the pole’. The game, shortly described are 150 young people in a gruesome fight to either protect or to bring down a pole in two minutes. The interesting part is that in a team of 75 members every person has an important role.
A small group of defenders, known as the Pole Support group lock their legs at the base of the pole, forming a human shield, a second larger group forms a thick layer of body support around them, the third group, known as the Interference, and a fourth, known as Scrum Disablers for a layer of aggressive defence, these two groups tasked with pushing back the attackers. The last line of defence is the ninja, the lone defender sitting on top of the pole, whose job is to kick back attackers and use his body weight to balance any attempt to push the pole over.
If you think botaoshi looked dangerous, then onbashira may shock you, it is pole riding to the next level. Every six years in Nagano Prefecture there is an even called Onbashira Matsuri. It is a festival where groups of men ride massive logs down a mountain’s side towards the festival’s main site, where they then ride the poles hoisted in the air. It sounds dangerously fun.
The name says it all, Yukigassen, ‘yuki’ meaning ‘snow’ and ‘kassen’ meaning ‘battle’ and it’s not home backyard snowball fighting, oh no, it is a massive snowball tournament. The game consists of two seven-member teams, and players are eliminated when hit by snowballs. Each round has 90 balls each. Sounds easy right? NO, here is the catch, each ball has been compressed so hard that it almost feels like a rock…. ouch.
There is much more interesting sport in Japan that is rare or non-existant elsewhere in the world, watch this space, who knows we may bring you more ‘Only in Japan’ related sports content soon. We end Only in Japan off with some pillow fighting. And yes, it is a legitimate sport, Only in Japan.
Kawaii Kulture: Sports School Clubs
If you are into school anime then you know about school clubs. Some are weird like clubs that study the occult or in one anime there is a library exploration club, but this bento we explore sports clubs. Anime such as Teekyuu or Prince of Tennis, where students belong to the Tennis club, Haikyu (Volleyball club, Ping Pong (Table tennis club) and Hikaru no Go (Go club) may come to mind but there are way more sports represented in anime like figure skating, basketball and swimming to name a few.
To the average Joe who wonders about these clubs, it is quite easy to explain. A school club is a gathering of students that share a common interest, in this case, sport. The Japanese have various terms for clubs such as kurabu katsudou (club activity), bukatsudou (club activity), or saakuru katsudou (circle activity) or just bukatsu. These clubs also have names reflecting what they are all about basically the name of the specific interest followed by the suffix -bu (club). For example, sokkabu means soccer club or yakyuubu means baseball club.
The club activities depend on the club itself but that being said it is a commitment that is taken seriously. No-one would ‘club jump’ or skip out without having a good reason, changing clubs is also usually not done, meaning if you are in middle school and join the tennis team but after a year you are bored, then you stick it out for two more years and change when you join senior high school. Or if you are lucky your parents move and you change schools and then join another club.
Fun fact: There is almost no grass on Japanese school grounds, if there are, it is not allowed to be stepped on. And yes, kids do take a slip on sandy gravel at least once a day, so you can imagine seeing kids patched up or icing a wound is a very common scene in school classrooms. What is super sugoi is that other students generally help the injured to carry their things to the classrooms. Very nice teambuilding, and speaking of teambuilding The students generally plan the schedules, put together the exercises and requests the equipment. The teachers just oversee the clubs and make sure it looks safe. Sadly, some of the teachers overseeing these clubs don’t always know anything about it. The school may place an art teacher in charge of the tennis club, but don’t worry teachers do get rotated in and out of a club.
There is a great sense of acceptance in these clubs. If you want to join a club but can’t play the sport you will still be welcomed, you have senpais that are there to teach you. The senpai-system is a crucial part of bukatsu. According to our source:” Don’t underestimate how important the senpai position it. If you are the same age but one only started this year and the other played since the previous year then they are the senpai. Hearing third-graders calling their senpai who is the student from one class over is a surreal experience. Also, your ranking determines seniority on the team but not between classes. So the top-ranked table tennis player is the top dog in the club but all shy and reserved if they meet a senpai during school hours.”
According to our source, Japanese kids see school as their workplace and student as their occupation. So if you ask someone what they do for work they’ll proudly tell you they are a student.
Our source also revealed the following: “Now this might seem normalish but here’s the kicker, they seriously see school as prep for the workforce. So if a student doesn’t study then they see it as someone that won’t work hard. Now here’s the interesting thing. This applies to clubs as well. They see club activity as the same as making project commitments at work. So changing clubs look like a jumping project. So when they apply for a high school or uni they have to take a test and an interview, where they have to show which clubs they belonged to and what they did. Almost like a job interview. They check both skills and commitment.”
We would like our source Timothy who some of you may know from our AnimeFanatika Whatsapp and Discord for his insights and help with this article. There are so much more to Japanese school sports clubs and here is a great video to teach us more.
Spread the Word & Word of the Month: Sport
Sport in a sense is its own universal language. It is something that many people relate too, You can be Afrikaans, German, English or Japanese and not understand what the person next to you is saying but you both might be able to communicate in a sense of sportsmanship while watching or playing a sports game. There are many types of sport. Here us a general list of sport in Japanese with the English meaning in brackets.
basuketto bōru (basketball)
fīrudo hokkē (field hockey)
hando bōru (handball)
barē bōru (volleyball)
takkyū (table tennis)
aisu hokkē (ice hockey)
bōtokogi / sōtei (rowing)
figyua sukēto (figure skating)
puroresu (professional wrestling)
While sport alone can bring you closer to a stranger, knowing a few words and sentences can be the beginning of a friendship. Here are a few sentences that may help.
Supōtsu wa sukidesu ka? (Do you like sports?)
Dono supōtsu ga sukidesu ka? (Which sports do you like?)
Nani ka supōtsu o shimasu ka? (Do you play any sports?)
Dono chīmu o ōen shimasu ka? (Which team do you support?)
Tenisu o shimasen ka? (Would you like a game of tennis?)
Word of the Month
The Japanese word for sports is supōtsu.
Recipe of the month: Energy Drinks
Sports drinks and energy drinks are an important part of sport. Many businesses make most of their money selling colourful tins of drinks filled with taurine, sugar and caffeine that people some people are addicted to and swore by that it gives them energy. However there are more natural ways to make energy drinks from home, drinks that are healthy and you do not need Dr.Google to translate ingredients with weird names that end with the suffix ‘-ine’. And it is really good for you. This month we share a recipe video on an Amazake energy drink, and we also share an ‘honest’ look at energy drinks….
Amazake Energy Drink in Rice Cooker
If Energy Drink Ads Were Honest
Anime Challenge: Two Car (Side Car Racing)
We have an action-packed sports anime for our March anime challenge: Two Car, an anime about Motorcycle sidecar racing. Yes, you read it right! It tells the tale of two girls who enter the competitive world of motorcycle sidecar racing. Girlish, slender Yuki is the driver that controls the accelerator and brake, the daughter of a family that runs a guesthouse and the boyish and impulsive Megumi uses her acrobatic skills and body weight to handle the corner work. Her family runs an inn. Our two heroines will battle it out on the racing tracks with other motorcycle sidecar teams from all over Japan.
Side Car ran from October to December 2017 and is a 12-episode-series. It was an original work by Nikoichi and was directed by Masafumi Tamura at Silver Link. Katsuhiko Takayama wrote the script and supervised it while Tiv created the original character design concepts. An unconventional anime should make for an interesting challenge.
Birthday of the Month – Yuri Plisetsky
Yuri Piletsky is one of the main characters from the anime Yuri!!! on Ice. He is a competitive figure skater and trained under renowned coaches such as Yakov Feltsman and Lilia Baranovskaya. He was raised by his paternal grandfather, Nikolai in Moscow, Russia. They were very close, closer to Yuri’s relationship with his mother.
Figure skating since a young age, he moved from Moscow to Saint Petersburg to receive training from Yakov Feltsman. He dominated the Junior circuit until he moved to the Senior circuit. Yuri is the two-time consecutive Junior World Champion and Two-time consecutive Junior Grand Prix Final Champion. Due to his incredible talent, he is seen by many as the rising star in the figure skating world.
Yuri is an artist on the ice, performing with beauty and grace but the moment he steps from the ice he ‘transforms’ much like a Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde persona into a foul-mouthed and rude person, dismissive of other people around him. This behaviour earned him the nickname ‘the Russian Punk’. It is not beneath him to threaten or intimidate to get his way. He yells a lot and is short-tempered, not an easy person to get along with.
AMV of the month: Sport Anime AMVs!
Since our bento is about sport we bring you sport AMVs. Ther choice was hard to make since there are so many amazing sport AMVs. We have the song Can’t Stop Me by Easy Mccoy, featuring scenes from Baki season 4, A nightcore version of That’s My Girl by Fifth Harmony featuring Yuri!! On Ice and the song Unstoppable by The Score featuring scenes from Haikyuu!! Enjoy the music, minna!
Can't Stop Me
That's My Girl
Anime Meetup: A Ball of a Time Anime Day
Our first and second Discord Anime Day was very successful and we even had members of our reader base joining us from Tokyo Japan! Since we are all still under a lockdown, for now, we have to brave it out and luckily we have discord to help us have our anime day. The next one will be on March 20th 2021 and our theme this time is ‘A Ball of A Time’. Grab your headphones and join us. If you dont have our Discord yet, you can join up by clicking below.
(Remember to accept the rules to gain access to the full channel)
Grab a friend and join us for a super sugoi online event.