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HOME > National Teams > U-16 2017 > NEWS > Participating teams visit distressed area, experience Japanese culture – U-16 International Dream Cup 2017 JAPAN Presented by Asahi Shimbun


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Participating teams visit distressed area, experience Japanese culture – U-16 International Dream Cup 2017 JAPAN Presented by Asahi Shimbun

21 June 2017

Participating teams visit distressed area, experience Japanese culture – U-16 International Dream Cup 2017 JAPAN Presented by Asahi Shimbun

The "U-16 International Dream Cup 2017 JAPAN Presented by Asahi Shimbun" saw its closing on Sunday 18 June with U-16 Japan National Team's winning the cup. As a part of the exchange programme, the four participating teams visited one of the distressed areas from the Great East Japan Earthquake and participated in various activities to experience Japanese culture on Saturday 17 June.

The players first paid a visit to Sendai City Arahama Elementary School in Miyagi Prefecture. The following school was an evacuation site where a total of 320 students, teachers and local residents fled when the Great East Japan Earthquake occurred in 2011. Even there, the Tsunami reached the second floor of the school building. The players observed the building with visible damage caused by the disaster, photo exhibition of the aftermath and video footage of the earthquake and tsunami hitting the city. While looking at the diorama of the Arahama district and landscape through the window of the building, the young players listened attentively to the guide and asked many questions: "To what point did the tsunami reach?" "Are these buildings reconstructed?"

In the subsequent activities to experience Japanese culture, players from Japan, Guinea, the Netherlands and the United States were all mixed to form separate groups to participate in the Japanese tea ceremony and experience Origami (Japanese paper folding) and Shodo (Japanese calligraphy).

In the tea ceremony, the players tasted a fresh cup of green tea and Japanese sweets, while practising the traditional Japanese style of sitting known as “Seiza”. Amid friendly atmosphere, they asked each other how the tea tasted: “Does it taste good?” “Was it bitter?”

Then the players learned and tried Origami and Shodo with the students of Seiwa Gakuen. Japanese players also helped them with the writing of Kanji characters. Far different from the tense feeling of the tournament matches, this exchange programme was filled with friendly and cheerful atmosphere as well.

With smiles the players communicated with one another in English using body language and had a number of photo shoots to foster new friendship.

Players' Comments

KURIHARA Ibrahim Junior (U-16 Japan National Team)
At the tea ceremony, it was interesting to see the foreign players reacting differently to the green tea and sweets that we are familiar with. Origami is difficult to do it alone. We had to use gestures to communicate with other players from different countries and observe how others do it as well. I think I did it well at the end. Today, we came on the same bus with Guinean players and their team captain sat next to me. Regardless of the fact that the match against Guinea was scheduled the following day, we tried to communicate with simple words and small phrases. It was a wonderful day that we would not be able to experience so often.

Momo Joe KOUMBASSA (U-16 Guinea National Team)
I didn't know about Shodo before coming to Japan. I wrote my name in Japanese, but it was quite difficult. If I get a chance to do it again, I want to write it better. This experience became an excellent souvenir for me.

Manuel PHERAI (U-16 Netherland National Team)
A visit to Arahama Elementary School was a wonderful experience. It was difficult to understand. If the tsunami comes, I wouldn’t know how I would feel. I really felt sorry for the disaster that took away the lives of many and destroyed the city as well. Shodo was the most memorable in the Japanese cultural experience programme. It was my first time to hold a brush and write. It was quite difficult to write in foreign language as well.

Mario ANAYA (U-16 USA National Team)
It was my first time to visit Japan and I felt the difference between us. It is a wonderful that we have such cultural differences in the world. Every activity during the Japanese cultural experience programme was new to me, and I found them all enjoyable. Sendai’s sweets and green tea were delicious, and it was an excellent tea ceremony. I felt a bit uncomfortable with Seiza at first, but I gradually got used to it. Experiencing different culture is a wonderful thing.

2017-6-14(Wed.), 16(Fri.) and 18(Sun.)
Yurtec Stadium Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture[All Matches Free of Admission]

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