Four participating countries take part in cultural experience programmes and tours of disaster-affected areas - U-16 International Dream Cup 2022 JAPAN presented by JFA
12 June 2022
On Saturday 11 June, the U-16 National Team teams from the four participating countries in the U-16 International Dream Cup 2022 JAPAN, Japan, Korea Republic, Uruguay, and Mexico, took part in a cultural exchange programme and visited the areas affected by the Great East Japan earthquake.
In previous years, this event has provided a platform for international exchange between the four countries, but this year the event was held with limited interactions between the teams due to infection control measures for COVID-19. In the cultural exchange programme, students from Seiwa Gakuen High School performed Koto (Japanese harp), Sado (tea ceremony), Enbu (Japanese traditional dance), Kyudo (archery), Karate, and Kendo, providing a valuable opportunity for the overseas players to experience Japanese culture outside of football. The activities, such as the Ennichi (shrine festival) experience and blindfolded sord fight using soft swords, were designed to be enjoyable even if the participants did not speak the same language, and together with the warm hospitality of the students from Seiwa Gakuen High School, the overseas players seemed to enjoy the off-pitch programme.
Afterwards, they visited Arahama Primary School, which was hit by the 2011 Great East Japan earthquake and tsunami. While observing the school buildings that still bear the scars of the tsunami, and the ruins of the residential areas where only the foundations are left behind, the players listened intently to the guide's detailed presentation about the situation at the time of the huge tsunami.
The players who fought hard against each other on the pitch gradually began to interact with each other over the course of the half-day programme, as they were seen taking photos together and exchanged contact information to stay connected.
Having experienced a valuable exchange programme off the pitch, the players will now move on to the final day of the tournament tomorrow.
GK #26 YUN Kiwook (U-16 Korea Republic National Team)
I am glad that I was able to learn and experience Japanese culture with my friends at the local high school in Japan today. I would also like to thank all the people and students who prepared the K-Pop dances and all the wonderful presentations. It was very painful for me to see the primary school and the town that had been damaged by the tsunami and to know that so many people had been affected by the earthquake. We pray that such tragedy will never happen again. Lastly, I would like to express my gratitude to everyone who has helped to prepare this programme.
MF #10 Mateo Gabriel PERALTA PIRIZ (U-16 Uruguay National Team)
It was a wonderful experience, and I learnt a lot of great things today. I feel fortunate and grateful to have had this experience and to have learned about a new culture.
FW #9 Stephano Emmanuel CARRILLO CALDERON (U-16 Mexico National Team)
I am delighted with the warm and friendly welcome we received and the wonderful experience we had. I would also like to tell the story of the earthquake experience when I return to Mexico. During our visit to Seiwa Gakuen High School, I was impressed by the cleanliness of the school, and the modesty and discipline of the students there. We had a great time learning about Japanese culture.
DF #3 HONDA Kotaro (U-16 Japan National Team/Shonan Bellmare U-18)
Even though I am Japanese, there were many interesting aspects of Japanese culture that I had not had the opportunity to see before. Through the programme, we had the opportunity to have a friendly exchange with the players of Korea Republic, whom we played against in the first match. We were able to see that the students of Seiwa Gakuen High School had spent a lot of time preparing for the dance, performance, and experience corner, so I would like to thank them.
U-16 International Dream Cup 2022 JAPAN presented by JFA
Tournament Dates: Wed. 8 - Sun. 12 June 2022 [Free admission to all matches]
Venue: Yurtec Stadium Sendai (Miyagi)
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