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Entrance to Kibogaoka Park during the Sports Recreation Shiga 2008 festival during Oct. 18-21, 2008. It's an annual event held in a different prefecture. People from all 47 prefectures and South Korea participate in tournaments for 18 sports.
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Abbreviated "Spo-rec," this event was a very big deal for Shiga with over 20,000 visiting Shiga. Kibogaoka Park is a huge grassy park. There was an entertainment stage called Kenmin Yume Stage which can be seen at the center of this photo.
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On the first day Oct. 18, 2008, this stage featured an entertainment program from 9:30 am to 11:15 am. It included this balloon session for kids.
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A duo called Mellow Pair also performed. The keyboard player is from Shiga, while the singer on the right is from Miyazaki Prefecture which is the host of next year's Sports Recreation event in 2009.
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Then at 10:20 am, Jamie and Megan Thompson from Illinois, USA appeared and sang "Lake Biwa Rowing Song" (Biwako Shuko no Uta in English). スポレク滋賀、県民「夢」ステージ
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Jamie and Megan Thompson sing "Lake Biwa Rowing Song" at Sports Recreation Shiga 2008 on Oct. 18, 2008 in Kibogaoka Park, Yasu, Shiga Pref.
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Jamie and Megan Thompson sing "Lake Biwa Rowing Song" at Sports Recreation Shiga 2008 on Oct. 18, 2008 in Kibogaoka Park, Yasu, Shiga Pref.
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MC Chiho Ono from FM Shiga (e-radio) asks the twins a few questions. Also see the video here. 司会者 小野千穂
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Mt. Mikami (Shiga's Mt. Fuji) overlooks the park.
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Hand sculpture.
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Site of the opening ceremony held on Oct. 18, 2008 at the center part of Kibogaoka Park.
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What are these large balls for? We'll find out soon.
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Sports Recreation Shiga 2008 opening ceremony at Kibogaoka Park, Yasu on Oct. 18, 2008. It was a sunny, cloudless day, and quite hot in sun. スポレク滋賀 開会式
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The opening ceremony started at 12:30 pm with a line of Caffy flags each representing a different sport.
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Athletes from Shiga at the opening ceremony.
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Then representatives from all 47 prefectures marched through the crowd.
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Each flag had the name of the prefecture. This is Miyazaki.
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Athletes from Miyazaki Prefecture hold a sign saying "See you next year in Miyazaki!"
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Shiga athletes applaud as the different athletes marched past.
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Gunma
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Tokyo
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Nagano
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Shiga
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Flags for all the prefectures.
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The contingent from South Korea also marched to their seats from the center stage.
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The opening ceremony stage was at the front and center, looking very tiny to most of us. Shiga Governor Yukiko Kada is in a yellow pants suit.
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Large monitor shows Governor Kada declaring the opening of the Spo-rec event.
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On the right was a large stage for the band.
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Over 20,000 people competed in the sports tournaments held all over Shiga. They included soccer, softball, badminton, bowling, track, gate ball, folk dancing, aerobics, and trampoline.
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This sports meet is designed for adults of all ages. You can be 95 years old and still participate. They call it a "life-long sports meet."
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Caffy cap
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Giant balls were tossed to the audience. They slapped the balls toward the front, but many of them popped like a balloon.
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The next activity, representing water, was having a huge blue sheet covering the spectators. The opening ceremony had a theme based on water, humans, and the sky.
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The ground transformed into a lake.
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Then they tossed these small balls onto the sheet where they bounced all over.
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A taiko troupe performs.
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For the finale, they released these little balloons shaped like doves. This was to represent the sky.
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Dove balloons in the sky.
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Another activity for the sky...
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A tall crane hoists up the Yokaichi giant kite.
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Wish they actually flew the kite, but I guess there wasn't enough room.
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The giant kite goes up. Normally, the Yokaichi Giant Kite Festival is held in May.
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This giant kite is actually an old one, from several years ago. They took it down after the opening ceremony was over.
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Flags
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Spo-rec flags
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They had a whole bunch of Caffy mascots walking around. Caffy is modeled after the Lake Biwa Giant Catfish, a unique species found only in Lake Biwa.
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Caffy, the official mascot of Sports Recreation Shiga 2008, is modeled after the Lake Biwa Giant Catfish, a unique species found only in Lake Biwa.
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Sculpture for Water.
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Sculpture for Humans.
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Sculpture for the Sky.
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Toward the east side of the park was an area where you could try various new sports.
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Throwing Bingo
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Jumping rope en masse.
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Blow darts
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There were various health-related booths. Free shoulder/head massages here.
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Free acupuncture.
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Earthquake simulator
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Caffy mascot dolls
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The west side of the park had food and souvenir booths.
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Food booths
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Booth for the city of Yasu.
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Yasu's booth had a replica of an ancient bronze bell, Japan's largest discovered in Yasu.
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Ibuki goodies (Maibara)
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There were these large tents for resting and eating.
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Most people tried to stay out of the hot sun.
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Ryukoku University band entertains.
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Caffy-yaki sweet bean buns were popular.
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Caffy-yaki sweet bean bun.
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Caffy doll
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Miyazaki's booth.
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Miyazaki Governor Higashikokubaru is a celebrity and Miyazaki's top salesman. Unfortunately, this is only a cardboard cutout of him.
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Ayu sweetfish
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Sake from Shiga
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Paint it yourself.
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Exit. The booths and other festivities were held at Kibogaoka Park only during Oct. 18-19, 2008. While the sports tournaments were held at various venues until Oct. 21st. Official site here.
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Free shuttle buses took us from Kibogaoka Park and Yasu Station (or nearby parking lots).
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Kibogaoka Park
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The city of Maibara hosted the Sports Recreation aerobics tournament on Oct. 19-20, 2008. These are women in their 80s and 90s dancing. They were one of the winners.
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Sports Recreation Shiga 2008 aerobics tournament in Maibara.
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Joint session.
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Sports Recreation aerobics tournament awards ceremony. See more photos of the aerobics tournament here.
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