JAPAN PHOTOS by Philbert Ono

*Be sure to wear a mask when in crowds.


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Tokyo Skytree is the backdrop for Sumida River, Tokyo's most famous and storied river. This part of the river is near Asakusa. In mid-April, longtime rivals Waseda University and Keio University hold their annual Sokei Regatta (早慶レガッタ).Sokei Regatta (早慶レガッタ) is the Waseda-Keio Regatta held here on Sumida River. (At Keio University, it's usually called the "Keio-Waseda Regatta.")
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Waseda-Keio Regatta is Japan's most famous collegiate rival regatta, similar to Oxford vs. Cambridge (The Boat Race) in the UK. Waseda and Keio (pronounced "Kay-oh") in Tokyo are two of Japan's most prestigious private universities and a few of their rowers make it to Japan's Olympic rowing team.
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Saw the Waseda-Keio Regatta for the first time on April 14, 2019. It lasts almost all day with numerous men's and women's rowing categories and age groups ranging from jr. high school to senior citizen alumni rowers.
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Next to Sakura Bridge was the main cheering section for both Waseda (left) and Keio on the right. Surprised to see them sitting together, but it later made sense.
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Waseda's cheer squad performed in front of Keio, and vice versa.
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In Japan, rowing is still a niche sport and not a popular spectator sport. It doesn't get much national press coverage. These are alumni rowers.
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The finish line was at Sakura Bridge near Asakusa. Elderly alumni spectators on Sakura Bridge sang the school song spontaneously.
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For last and main race of the day, Waseda and Keio's best collegiate rowers raced 3,750 meters upstream on Sumida River. Both cheering sections got very loud. (This is Waseda which also has male cheerleaders.)
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The cheering section had a large video monitor showing the status of the two boats with 8 crew each. People here were cheering loudly non-stop during the entire race.
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The last race is the main attraction when the "Eight" is held with eight collegiate rowers on each boat racing on the river upstream for 3,750 meters. Waseda is the yellow boat, and Keio is dark blue.
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After 12 min. 49.64 sec., Waseda squeaked by Keio to win. Here they are after winning.
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Waseda's cox (who controls the rudder) raising his arms in victory. They were crying, knowing how much pride and honor they have bestowed to their school.
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Waseda cheerleaders saying "Otsukare!" (Good job!)
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The winning crew acknowledge cheers from the crowd.
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Keio's cheerleaders.
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Waseda and Keio are also fierce rivals in other sports like baseball, soccer, and rugb
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