Making a Statement
Athletes left their sweats back at the Village for Wednesday's Opening Ceremony. Some were spruced up in smart suits, others sported a more relaxed look in track suits; still others delighted the crowd with their national costumes.
Of course clothes always make a cultural statement but conversations with athletes who wore national costumes revealed that there was a lot more to their outfits than meets the eye.
Cote d'Ivoire Deputy Chef de Mission, Mrs. Yvonne Bouanga-Akpa (above center), explained that the dress she wore to the Opening Ceremony wasn't her most beautiful, but that she chose it because it best represented her country.
The dress pictured above is the special costume of celebration, which marks the passage to adulthood. It is worn after spending a month in the forest learning the social skills and manners necessary for taking your place in the world. The material is thin cotton; the colors represent nature (blue) and peace (white).
The Vietnamese looked elegant, too, in their national costume, the ao dai. Both men and women wear it and the colors mark various stages in a person's life. High school students, for example, wear a white ao dai; university students like Diem thuong (see page 4) can wear any color as long as it is light and bright. When you get older, you wear a darker ao dai. Ao dai are long-sleeved because to the Vietnamese eye, it is more aesthetically pleasing: "Long-sleeved ao dai make women look beautiful," said Diem. An integral part of the outfit is the conical hat, made from tree bark and framed with bamboo. The hats slope down to shade the face. The ensemble is rounded off with a pair of sandals.
In Sri Lanka, opinions vary about which sari is the national costume. Some say the Indian sari, others insist that the "Kandyan" sari, native to "up country" Sri Lanka, represents the nation. The delegation wore both to the Opening Ceremony.
The Filipino delegation showed off the pared down elegance of their national costume, the Barong Tagalog. Originally from Spain, the shirts are reserved for formal occasions, such as weddings. Shirts come in a variety of colors but the bridegroom traditionally wears off-white. Even though the Philippines is hot, long sleeves are worn because they are considered more formal.
Burkina Faso's tiny delegation drew attention with their national costume, the Faso Fani, meaning "land and clothes." Both men and women wear it, for casual and formal wear. The formal version is made of higher quality cotton. As for accessories, Burkina Faso is a gold producing country, so the Faso Fani was traditionally worn with small gold earrings. Recently, though, foreign made costume jewelry is more popular than the real thing.
The Congo delegation's Michaelle Likipoi wasn't just making a fashion statement with her colorful shirt and short ensemble. Custom made back home, the bands of the shirt feature different geometric designs and colors, representing countries all over Africa. Incorporating designs from nearby Cote d'Ivoire and Eastern and Central Africa, she wore the shirt to express African unity.
Giving to the Games
Patricia Smith and Sue Beeley
Question: What makes people travel halfway across the world at their own expense, on their own time, solely to help others?
Answer: The Universiade.
Both Patricia Smith and Sue Beeley discovered the rewards that come from helping others in the Sheffield Universiade in 1991. Their experience in those games marked the start of a new outlook on life, and the two of them have since gone on to volunteer in a series of sporting events.
Patricia is retired from her job as a home help and has made good use of her free time helping out not just in Universiades (Buffalo '93 and now Fukuoka), but in other events such as the Children's Special Olympics in Sheffield in 1993 and the Transplant Games, an event for children who have received donor organs.
Patricia became a volunteer in part "because it's wonderful to be in a sports environment, "but also "for my ego - helping people keeps me young; it brings back my youth."
Back home in Sheffield, Sue Beeley is a teacher. Helping out in Universiade competitions gives her not only an opportunity to use her language skills, but also a chance to observe other cultures: "I love people watching," she says, "and the Universiade is definitely a people thing."
In Sheffield, Sue was V.I.P. attache to a Belgian university director and one of the greatest pleasures for her so far has been meeting old friends from the Belgian squad once more.
This time around, however, she is not so sure of her role. Since arriving she has done a lot of translation work and also helped out with accreditations, general office work, and the perennial problem of simply finding people, but says, "My not having Japanese has been a lot more difficult than I thought, considering that the languages of the games are English and French."
She feels it is important that the Fukuoka games have some non-Japanese on the cultural and service side, but regrets that the Japanese administrative staff haven't used her to her full potential.
That caveat aside, Sue is enjoying the games immensely, especially the Befu School District summer festival, which she attended with the Belgian team: "In Sheffield they didn't organize the schools; Fukuoka came up with a great idea. We all had a wonderful evening."
Sayonara to Stress
Now and Zen
A bus load of athletes visited Shofukuji Temple on Friday to get a brief introduction to Zazen. On the way there, interest in the tour was high. Estonian tennis player Edward Laane said: "I like see to Japanese cultural places." He added that he expected the tour would be "mysterious and something to learn about the culture." Russian high jumper Olga Kytchanova reported that she was "interested in religion," and had many books about Zen. Canadian Mark Chatel said the tour offered the chance to "find the strength within yourself."
Unfortunately, because most of the participants were from the Ukraine, they couldn't understand the tour guide's explanation in either Japanese or English. This fact plus the hot weather caused interest to wane once the group was inside the temple. Angela Davies of the British Athletics team said that in spite of the Zen priest's sincere efforts to make the visitors feel at home, it was "too hot" and she "couldn't sit in the proper lotus position."
KBC radio interviewer Takaito Hazama said there were a few problems during the meditation session. She said that a majority of the athletes didn't close their eyes, none of them could cross their legs properly, and some leaned against the sliding doors or walls while stretching out their legs. She added that many athletes were shocked when the priest shouted at them to breathe more deeply and straighten their backs. Finally, the players declined the priest's offer to take them on a tour and elected to leave early instead.
Joining The Fold
By now you may be a bit worn out from the immense hubbub surrounding the games and eager to find a way to relax. If so, you couldn't find a better activity than origami or a better teacher than Yumiko Matsuo. Ms. Matsuo uses gestures, amusing samples, and three languages to help her students fold color paper into cranes, boxes, and whatever else they want to make.
Although Matsuo certainly takes her craft seriously, she insists that her students not do so. "I'm not teaching them how to do origami, I'm trying to help them forget about their stresses and get them to laugh," she explains. John Twomey apparently got her message; after attending a recent lesson he claimed that the paper folding art was not unknown even in his native Ireland: "We do this to keep it in our wallets," he joked.
Asian Friendly Concert at the Sun Palace
Fukuoka City and the Asian Month Committee will sponsor a concert of classical music at the Sun Palace on September 1 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Orchestras from all over the Asia-Pacific region will be represented, including: Pusan Philharmony Orchestra (Korea), the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra (New Zealand), the Bangkok Symphony Orchestra (Thailand), the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, the Singapore Symphony Orchestra, the Central Philharmonic Orchestra of China, and the Kyushu Symphony Orchestra (Japan). Conductors: Nanse Gum, principal of Suwon Symphony Orchestra in Korea and Kazuhiro Koizumi, principal of the Kyushu Symphony Orchestra.
If you would like to attend, the application deadline is August 29. Please inquire at the Athletes Village Cultural Exchange Information Program. Tel: 885-6335.
Fmiliarity Breeds Content
Some families just can't seem to get enough of each other. This year's Australian delegation has at least eight members who are related. The Chef de Mission is John Purnell; his daughter Toni is press attache. Wife and husband Samantha and Tony Bond form a healing duo on the medical staff. Brothers Paul and Mark Oberman play on the waterpolo team. Vincent Matassa is on the soccer team while his cousin competes in athletics. As the old adage goes: the family that plays together, stays together.
You heard it in "Global Village" first. The following are the top five best-sellers in the 100 yen shop.
1. Plastic Hammer Rattle
2. Paper and Bamboo Fan
3. Miniature Paper Chest
4. Small Purse
Shop assistants attribute the success of fan sales to the weather, but the popularity of the hammers remains a mystery. Another unknown is why it is almost exclusively women who are buying chopsticks and chopstick rests.
Bags of iriko, tiny little fish, are proving a popular snack among players because they are a great source of calcium - one case when you don't mind finding bones in your fish.
And now for the duds.
1. Canned food
2. Dried Shiitake Mushrooms
3. Q tips/ cotton buds
Looks like everyone is well fed, with clean ears.
The Spirits of Universiade
Eight Fukuoka City hotels are offering their patrons ten
new cocktails, specially created to celebrate the 1995 Universiade. Each hotel has only a few of the drinks, so the dedicated drinker will have to attend several bars to sample them all. The cocktails are the inspiration of the Japan Hotel Bartenders' Association, which created them to help Fukuokans get in the spirit of the games. Each drink represents a different sport. The drink for athletics is called "My Best Lap"; decorated with cherry and a bay leaf(!), it symbolizes the moment of victory. The cocktail for swimming is pool blue. The "Judo Legend" is sake-based.
According to Solaria Nishitetsu Hotel, customers are pleased with the drinks. In fact, many patrons are so happy with their first cocktail that they request to sample the others. As a result, on weekends some hotels sell more than sixty of them.
Tours for Aug 28 thru Sept 2
Fukuoka City Tour 'A' (full-day, Fukuoka City Museum-Fukuoka Tower-Marizon-Marine World) Aug 29, Sept 2 (Tue&Sat) 9:00-17:00
Fukuoka City Tour 'B' (half-day, Yusentei Garden-Fukuoka City Art Museum-Korokan Ruins / Fukuoka Castle Remains): Sept 2 (Sat) 13:00 - 17:00
Historical Sites (full-day, Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine-Itazuke Yayoi Village-Kushida Shrine- Hakata Machiya Folk Museum-Tochoji Temple-Fukuoka City Museum): Sept 2 (Sat) 9:00-17:00
Fishing Park (half-day): Aug 31(Thu) 8:00-12:00
Shofukuji Temple Zen Meditation (half-day): Aug 31 (Thu) 13:00-16:30 (for officials)
Genkai-nada (Genkai Sea) Cruise: Aug 30 (Wed) 11:00-15:00
Shinnittetsu Yahata (steel) - Toyota Jidosha (car): Aug 28 (Mon) 11:00-18:00
Kirin Brewery: Aug 29, Sept 1 (Tue& Fri) 12:45-16:45
Yasukawa Denki (Electric Company) - Toto Kiki (bathroom fixtures): Aug 30, 31 (Wed&Thu)
JR Nishinippon (Railroad): Aug 29, Sept 1 (Tue & Fri) 12:15-15:15
Saga Prefecture, Course 'A' (historical sites, hot spring tour) Juli Plats (hot spring, pool) - Hizen Yumekaido Theme Park: Aug 29 (Tue) 10:00-18:00
Saga Prefecture, Course 'B' (Making Ceramic ware, Arita Porcelain Park - Kyushu Porcelain Culture Center): Aug 31 (Thu) 10:00-17:30 Karatsu City Sightseeing
Karatsu City Course (Kyozan Kiln - Karatsu Castle - Nijinomatsubara Hotel - Yama Exhibition Hall-Nagoya Castle Remains): Aug 30, Sept 1 (Wed& Fri) 9:00-16:00
*Applications for each tour will be accepted 4 days in advance until 12:00 noon of the day before the tour.
If you are looking for inexpensive, healthy eating, Shizenya has the atmosphere of a Japanese pub, but the ingredients are chemical-free. Cheap, filling lunch sets, in the evening it doubles as a bar, serving elixirs (with a punch!) in relaxing surroundings. Hours: 11:30-3:00 and 5-11 p.m.
Address: Tenjin MK Bldg. 2F, Tenjin 3-2-8 Tel: 711-7957
Another good place to go for organic vegetables and super fresh fish, lovingly prepared, is Lau Lau. Lunches go for 750 yen and up, dinners are in the 1,000-plus range.
Getting there: Walk south 10 minutes on Watanabe Dori Street and you'll find it near RKB station.
Open 11:30-2:30, 5-9 p.m.
Address: Watanabedori 4-2-22 1F Tel: 713-6099
Shiranui Mingei - You don't have to have been in Japan long to know the word "Omiyage" - it means presents or souvenirs. Head on down to the Nishitetsu Meitengai for cheap, yet clever gifts - boldly-colored kites, folded-paper dolls, miniature sumo-wrestlers you can spin and battle in their very own ring. Whoopee! Prices start at 50 yen!!
Getting there: On Watanabedori. The souvenir shop occupies the left corner on the south end of the Meitengai.
Address: Tenjin 2-11-3 Tel: 751-9240
Back on Oyafukodori, have yourself a truly Japanese experience at the Big Echo Karaoke Box! Private rooms go for 3,000 yen from 8 p.m. onwards, loads of English songs.
Looking for something more mellow? Recline on cushions in the exotic atmoshpere of Mandara - way cool.
Getting there: Big Echo is right opposite Nagahama Park, an interesting littlespot in its own right. Address: Tenjin 3-8-16 Tel: 0120-050725
Mandara is in Maria House no. 7, 3rd floor. Tel: 725-0123
Bollox disco closes on Saturday the 26th after more than 3 years of riotous partying. Owner Jack promises a discount for athletes - 1,000 yen, includes 2 drinks (after 11 pm).
Address: Tenjin 1-13-28 Tel: 715-3926
Global Village Staff
Chief Editor: Masaru Inoue
Assistant: Yoko Kikutsugi
Writers: Yasuko Fujie
Photographer: Eisaku Harada
City Advisor: Masahiro Tomino