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Hakone Ekiden

Happy new year!

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It’s January 3rd today. I’m watching “Hakone Ekiden relay race” on TV right now. Do you know what it is? I will write about “Hakone Ekiden” this time.

There are many New Year’s traditions in Japan, “Hakone Ekiden” is one of them. It’s  Hakone-Tokyo intercollegiate long distance relay race held on January 2nd and 3rd every year by universities located in Kanto region which means eastern part of Japan. Hakone Ekiden relay race has started since 1920. It has a long history. 5 athletes runs from Tokyo to Hakone in turn on the first day, and another 5 runners come back to Tokyo from Hakone next day while they hand team sash. Some runners are international students.

It about 100 kilometers from Tokyo to Hakone. Each athlete has to run about 20 kilometers. Some of them have to go up or down the hill road, because Hakone is surrounded by mountains. Sometimes they cannot continue to run when they fall and injure, or are in bad shape due to temperature difference. In that case, the team has to retire and cannot run anymore. The race is exciting and dramatic every year, and attracts many people.

To tell the truth, I wasn’t interested in Hakone Ekiden before. When my daughter was a student, her university became a champion. Since then, I enjoy watching it. Actually, I have visited to see reaching the goal.

Well, the race has finished this year. Unfortunately, my favorite university couldn’t win, but the athletes did their best. They were amazing!

Thank you for reading. Wish you have a great year!

Yoko Yoshida, a member of iTWS japan LLP
e-mail: yoko.yoshida@i3ws.co.jp

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