Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Bo-Taoshi (Pole Pull-down) written by Allan

Last week I went to the Japan National Defense Academy with four of my Japanese friends.
This is Tom Takagi and his wife, Naoko. Tom works with me at the base.

This is Hiroko and her son, Hugo. Hiroko works in the Public Health Department too.
Liz was unable to to join me. She had an appointment to meet with two new students.

This is the only military academy in Japan and is located very close to the Yokosuka Naval Base. I went by train and met my friends at 10 a.m. When I got off the train, there were so many people waiting for the bus or taxi, we decided to walk about 20 minutes uphill. Great exercise!

When we got to the Academy, which is only open to the public this one weekend every year, the cadets were standing in formation on the parade ground.

Following the opening ceremony, we had lunch and watched some marching and formation flying while waiting for the big event - Bo-Taoshi.

Let me explain this simple game. The idea is to pull the pole down, or at least to a certain degree.

There are 150 men on each team. Seventy-five men defend their team's pole, while seventy-five try to pull the opponents pole down.

It's a simple game that I think would work well in the U.S. When the gun goes off, the seventy-five man offensive attacks the free standing pole held up and defended by the seventy-five man defense.

Easy, but wow, what ensues is a spectacle. We each chose a team, with Tom's team (green) winning.

What a wild time. I intend to go again next year.

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