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Young rugby fans experience Japan in World Cup themed taster

27 November 2019

Young rugby fans experience

A group of young rugby fans were transported to the land of the rising sun this October when they took part in a Japanese taster session to coincide with the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

Unite Wales and Japan: Experience Japan and the Rugby World Cup, was a rugby-themed Japanese language and culture taster session held at Old Penarthians RFC on 6 October. The taster session, which was organised by Dr Ruselle Meade and Dr Miho Inaba of the School of Modern Languages, was delivered to the under-8 and under-9 teams, as well as to their parents and coaches.

The whole of Wales was captivated by the national rugby team during September and October when they played across cities which included Tokyo, Oita and Kumamoto. This was an excellent opportunity to bring Japanese culture to Wales and help people understand more about the country and its language.

Participants took part in a traditional tea ceremony, played a Japanese geography quiz, mastered origami (paper folding), learned how to write their names in katakana script (a component of the Japanese writing system) and count to ten.

Participants were also introduced to radio calisthenics, which are gentle exercises based on instruction via radio broadcasts. Children (as well as adults) typically learn calisthenics in Japan. Participants performed these calisthenics during the session using their new knowledge of Japanese numbers to count repetitions.

The event was sponsored by The Japan Foundation. The Japan Foundation provided prizes (Rugby World Cup branded key-rings) to all participants, as well as posters, flyers and pamphlets about the cities hosting Rugby World Cup matches.

Speaking after the event Dr Ruselle Meade, co-organiser said, “Japan’s hosting of the Rugby World Cup provided a timely opportunity for us to engage with new audiences. The Japanese department decided to approach The Japan Foundation about sponsoring a language and culture taster session at a local rugby club. We did this because we thought that the best way to promote enthusiasm for languages was by introducing it through fun pastimes and in an environment where participants could see its immediate relevance. It was a fun session and the kids were full of enthusiasm.”

The School of Modern Languages offers a range of Japanese study options.

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