Nishikyogokusogo Athletic Park

September 8, 2014

Nishikyogokusogo Athletic Park

Ikki Kato, Sota Mori & Makoto Hachiya

The Park

This park is located in Ukyo-ku in Kyoto. It is roughly 180,000 square meters in size, and there are various buildings related to athletics: an athletic field also used as a football field, Wakasa stadium, a sub-athletic field, Kyoto Aqua Arena, and the Kyoto City Gymnasium. The athletic field is also used as a football field and the sub-athletic field is used for track and field, soccer, rugby, and American football. There are many competitions held here, including the home games of Kyoto Sanga Soccer team, Japan rugby top league games, Kansai student’s American football league games, and so on. However Wakasa stadium is only used for baseball. The Kyoto City Gymnasium is used for tennis, table tennis, badminton, basketball, and futsal. We can take classes at this gym, which includes tennis, table tennis, badminton, dance, etc. Kyoto Aqua Arena has two purposes, and the use of this facility changes by the season. It is used as a swimming pool in the summer, but in the winter, the main pool and jumping pool are converted into ice skating rinks. The main pool also meets the criteria for staging world level swimming events. In addition, there is an archery field range in a park called Green Hill, and this is free to use. You can see many people running or training here, but there are also many people walking with a dog or strolling, so the park is a place of recreation and relaxation for citizens. Nishikyogokusogo athletic park has actually been designated as a refuge in case of natural disasters, and can accommodate 36,000 people. The park was designed as an athletic park in 1930 to celebrate the marriage of the Showa Emperor. At present, it helps citizens lead a healthy life and makes the Nishikyogoku area very lively. Do you want to visit now?

The Main Stadium (above and right) and Wakasa Stadium (below)

IMG_1201 The Main Stadium (above and right) and Wakasa Stadium (below)

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Actions of the park for the environment

According to the Kyoto-shi Physical Education Association (managers of the Nishikyogoku General Exercise Park), many actions for the good of the environment are carried out in the facilities of the park. I will introduce some of the actions carried out here:

The park installed a box called “Eco station” from 2009 to collect PET bottle caps, paper packs, dry cell batteries, and tennis balls. 430 plastic bottle caps are worth 10 yen, and the caps money is donated to buy polio vaccine, which costs 20 yen for one dose. 9,550,111 caps have been collected between February, 2009 and May, 2014, raising enough money for 1,166 polio vaccine doses.

The park also collects used tennis balls and sends them to schools, where they are set on the legs of desks and chairs to reduce noise. 75,680 tennis balls have been sent to facilities such as schools between September, 2008 and May, 2014.

6,223 paper packs, such as milk cartons, have been collected between August, 2009 and May, 2014, and this is the equivalent in recycling terms to 1,037 rolls of toilet paper.

In addition to this, the park installed a box to collect used small consumer electronic items and this contributes to the recycling of rare metals.

A great and rare thing I also found when I walked in the park was a box to collect dog poo with a plastic bag.

All these ideas really help the users of the park and make the facilities more comfortable. It also makes sure the users’ cooperation is vital to keep the park a happy and fun place.

Dog poo collection box

Dog poo collection box

Kyoto Sanga

Nishikyogoku sports park can be used for many kinds of sports such as baseball, track-and-field, and of course, soccer. A professional Japanese soccer team named “Kyoto Sanga” uses a facility here as its home stadium.

Kyoto Sanga is a team now in the Japanese professional soccer league. They are the oldest team in existence since the Japanese professional soccer league was organized. The club was founded in 1922, but at first the name was different. The club’s former name was Kyoto Shikou Soccer Club, and Shikou meant purple light. That’s why the color of their uniform is purple. In 1993 they changed the name to Kyoto Purple Sanga after a popular vote. The word purple comes from Shikou, and Sanga is from Sanskrit (in Sanskrit Sanga is Samgha) and means buddy. Sanga also means rivers and mountains in Japanese. Especially in Kyoto, there are some clean rivers and a lot of beautiful mountains, which represents Japanese nature.

Kyoto Sanga is now fighting for the people of Kyoto and for the people who cheer them on. Their original mascots, Pasa-kun and Kotono-chan also cheer for them. They are not purple though, but red. You may think, why are they red? The answer is the color red stands for passion and the ability to take action. This is based on the actual spirit of the team and their motto, “Never give up to win”. Of course their staff and players still wear the purple uniform. Also a very famous Japanese company is supporting them, because Nintendo is their sponsor. Many people love the team, Kyoto Sanga, and they are trying their best to respond to their fans’ hopes and dreams.

Access

By bus

From Kyoto Station C5 bus terminal: Take Kyoto Public Bus No.73 to “Nishikyougoku-sougou-undou-kouen-mae”. Approximately five minutes’ walk from the bus stop.

From Uzumasa Tenjin-gawa bus terminal: Take Kyoto Public Bus No.80 to “Nishikyougoku-sougou-undou-kouen-mae”. Approximately five minutes’ walk from the bus stop.

From Shijo-Kawaramachi No.9 bus stop: Take Kyoto Public Bus No.32 to “Nishikyougoku-sougou-undou-kouen-mae”. Approximately five minutes’ walk from the bus stop.

From Shijo-Kawaramachi No.3 bus stop: Take Kyoto Public Bus No.80 to “Nishikyougoku-sougou-undou-kouen-mae”. Approximately five minutes’ walk from the bus stop.

By Train

Take the Hankyu Railway Kyoto Line to “Nishikyougoku” station. Approximately 5 minutes’ walk from “Nishikyougoku” station

Kyudo

KYUDO

Makoto Hachiya, Ikki Kato, Sota Mori

 About Kyudo

At the present time, many people know about some of the more famous Japanese martial arts, such as karate or judo, but here we want to tell you about another not so well known Japanese martial art called kyudo. Basically, it can be said to be a form of Japanese archery. When you hear this, we are sure you can imagine what you need to do it, right?  Yes! A bow and arrows are what you need. However, it is not really that easy, as there are actually 8 steps required before you can shoot at the target.

1st:  You have to prepare for the shock of the release, so you have to place your feet outward at a 60 degree angle from each other, a stance which is called Ashibumi.

2nd:  You must keep your body very straight in a position called Dozukuri.

3rd:  You need to do Yugamae, which is to grip the bow and arrow. The left hand has to grip the bow, and the other has to grip the bowstring. Then you gaze at the target.

4th:  To prepare to draw, raise the bow above your head. This action is called Uchiokoshi.

5th:  Next you must draw the bow with the feeling in your bones, not your muscles. And the arrow must be parallel to the ground. This step is called Hikiwake.

6th:  Stretch your arms to the right and left as much as you can. This step is called Kai.

7th:  This step is the release, and is called Hanare.

8th:  The final step is called Zanshin when the body and mind remain still.

If you do the 8 steps correctly, your arrow will naturally hit and go through the target. Nowadays we don’t use our bows and arrows for war or hunting, but we do enjoy kyudo. Playing kyudo and hitting the target is really exhilarating!  It’s hard to hit the target, but when you manage it, words cannot express how great you feel. Don’t forget though, if you don’t follow the 8 steps, your arrow will never hit the target.

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KUFS Kyudo Club members

 

About “Seijin-Syakai”

What is the age of adulthood in your country or other foreign countries? In major countries such as Germany, China, Italy, Russia, France, the U.K, 18 years old is when a person reaches adulthood, and also in 45 states in the United States. This means, there are many countries which recognize that 18 years old is adulthood in the world.On the other hand, in Japan, it is at 20 years old that a person becomes an adult, and there is a coming-of-age ceremony to celebrate this called “Seijin-Shiki”. Women usually participate in “Seijin-Shiki” in a gorgeous kimono, and men generally wear a hakama.

In Kyoto, people who reach adulthood sometimes gather in Sanjusangen-do Temple, and shoot arrows in “the memorial ceremony of shooting on Coming -of-Age Day” called “Seijin-Syakai”(national Japanese long-distance archery meet of the Sanjusangen-do Temple). In the Edo era, there was a “long-distance archery” event for samurai to compete in that challenged them to see how many arrows they could shoot over the course of the day under the eaves (approximately 120 meters in length) of Sanjusangen-do Temple. This was the origin of this great event, and used to be held on the old Coming-of-Age Day, on January 15th, but is now held on the Sunday closest to the 15th every year.

In the current “Seijin-Syakai” meeting, competitors aim at a mark one meter in diameter, set at a distance of 60 meters ahead. The meeting begins at 8:30 a.m. under a wintry sky in the depth of winters. Just as in “Seijin-Shiki”, the women compete in a gorgeous kimono, and the men in a hakama. Players shoot just two arrows, and do so without warming up. If these two arrows don’t hit the target, they cannot pass the qualifying stage. The size of the target becomes 50cm in the final, and the skill needed to hit the mark with an arrow from 60m is incredible and very cool! Would you like to watch “Seijin-Syakai” and see the gorgeous kimono and Japanese cool budo “Kyudo”?

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Looking good at “Seijin Syakai”

About Kyudo at Kyoto University of Foreign Studies (KUFS)

KUFS Kyudo club has reached the 50th year since its foundation this year. The style of shooting an arrow with a bow must follow the rules of “Ogasawara”. “Ogasawara” is basically the head of a school of good manners. Therefore, there are many arts related to “Ogasawara”: for example, tea ceremony, art of flower arrangement, Kyudo and so on. The master of KUFS Kyudo club is Mr. Ueno. He is a master and supervisor. He has practiced Kyudo for fifty years and holds the rank of 7th dan.

Next, we’ll explain how to practice in our Kyudo club. At first we have to follow the form (the 8 steps needed to shoot an arrow from a bow called “Shahou-hassetsu”) in mind and practice that allows the hands to move freely. In the beginning, we are only allowed to use a rubber bow to acquire a sense of shot with resistance, in order to go on to shoot an arrow from a bow more easily. As we get to the stage where we can shoot an arrow to some degree, we are allowed to have a bow and use it. However, at this step, we are still not allowed to shoot an arrow. We can only use the bow in order to practice the form of a shot, as we have to the learn the feel of resistance from a real bow. Next, we are allowed to shoot an arrow with a bow not at a target, but at a block of straw. Up to this step, it takes us about three months of hard practice. Finally we are allowed to shoot an arrow with a bow at a target. The distance between an archer and the target is 28m in the “Kinteki” style. There are three days for regular practice:  Monday, Thursday, and Saturday. During practice, we make the correct form for a shot and improve on it. The master gives us advice and his assistants, called “Kaizoe”, also help us improve. We can also enter the Dojo at any time if we want to practice.
Our purpose for practicing Kyudo is to win prizes in some competitions; “Kyoto Student Kyudo Championship”, “Kansai Student Kyudo Championship”, and “All-Japan Student Kyudo Championship”. We also aim to be promoted to a higher league. Kyodo is very complicated but student’s Kyudo is simple. We all always practice to win.

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A KUFS student in competition