They range in age from first grade to Junior High (with a couple of adults mixed in). The event was a mostly fun slalom kayaking competition. For those who are unfamiliar with the sport, you have to navigate a series of gates suspended above the river. Some gates must be entered facing downstream and others facing upstream. Your score depends on the time it takes to finish the course plus penalties for each time you touch (2 seconds) or miss (50 seconds) a gate. In this case, most of the kids only had to touch each gate with a paddle (rather than passing through) to avoid deductions. The outdoors school tries to play down competition, but it’s hard for the coach to be a purist when his daughter is an international level competitor who seems to have just barely missed making the Japanese team for Beijing. One of the Junior High boys aspires to be an Olympian, too.
My daughter, Reia, is in the second grade now. She really loves kayaking. She says she’s not afraid of being in the river. That makes us a little nervous, but I’m excited for her, too. I would have loved this sport when I was young but never had an opportunity to give it a try. If you watch the video you may see her. Her kayak is blue on top with a yellow bottom. Actually, there is another boy with the same colors, so picking her out may be a challenge.
The music is by my friend, Rennie Foster, who has been called a significant force and a pioneer DJ in the techno music scene. He’s recently been named one of the top 50 DJ’s in Japan and he’s hoping for a Top 5 ranking (by a music magazine here in Japan that I don’t read…so no link due to my ignorance, sorry).