Event Report “i enjoy! Para-Sports Park in ParaFes 2018”! (Part II)
The visitors also enjoyed special stages and booths in the park.
The Challnge for Tomorrow Diversity Seminor, “Asuchalle Academy”
The Asuchalle School “Challenge for Tomorrow,” a diversity seminar featuring a special lecture by someone with an impairment, was held on stage, and attended by approximately 60 guests who had registered in advance. This time, the lecturer was Yumi Nagao, para athletics gold medalist at the Seoul Paralympics. First, the audience was told to pair off with the person next to them, and introduce themselves to one another with one person standing and the other seated, to mimic one’s line of sight when in a wheelchair. Nagao went through her life story and her discovery of sports, then taught the audience how best to communicate via writing when watching sports with someone with a hearing impairment. Afterwards there was a lively Q&A in response to Nagao’s request that they ask her “any question, even ones that you’ve been afraid to ask!” A university student who participated in the event told us happily, “It was my first time hearing from someone with an impairment, and there was a lot to learn.”
Audience members listened to Nagao while taking notes, rapt with attention
Parasports Messenger Lecture: The Good-to-Know Appeal of Parasports
A lecture by certified Parasports Messenger instructor Shusaku Sugiuchi (Para Swimming bronze medalist at the Athens Paralympics) also attracted a lot of attention. Sugiuchi, who has a visual impairment, said to the audience, “You guys have to laugh, or I won’t know if you’re listening!” asking them to react to his lecture. He then spoke, with some occasional jokes thrown in, about the process of getting to the Paralympics with para swimming, what he learned about the driving force that moves people towards their dreams, as well as the sense of gratitude he felt for his family, which he noticed for the first time after experiencing a failure.
Sugiuchi speaking passionately about parasports, and how they have the power to make anyone smile
The lecture was also translated in sign language on-stage
Commemorative Photos in Front of the Lego Mural!
There was also a Lego mural (2.6m H x 6.1m W) built entirely with Lego blocks—a full-scale recreation of Shingo Katori’s mural, which was based on the main message of Parasapo, “i enjoy!” As ParaFes 2018 drew closer and closer, more people came to visit the mural to take commemorative photos. Because the mural is not normally open to the public and there are very few opportunities to see it so up close, there were times where there was even a line to take photos. “It gives me energy,” said one woman from Osaka, smiling.
Many of Katori’s fans seemed happy to be able to see the mural more up close
There was even a line of people waiting to take photos in front of the Lego mural
ParaFes 2018 Sponsor Booths: Featuring World Champion Para-Athletes!
One corner of the venue also featured booths by ParaFes 2018 sponsors. These booths, each with their own unique flavors, were also crowded with people.
(ParaFes 2018 Sponsors: Nomura Holdings, Inc., JXTG Nippon Oil & Energy Corporation, Japan Airlines Co., Ltd., Mitsui Fudosan Co., Ltd.)
The Nomura Holdings booth was also a spot for commemorative photos
Enegori-kun (from the TV commercial!) was very popular with visitors at the JXTG Energy booth
The Japan Airlines booth featured a hand paint art project to support sick children and children with impairments
Daisuke Ikezaki, who won a gold medal at the Wheelchair Rugby World Championships and was also named MVP, was also in attendance. Participants sat in wheelchairs and were tackled by Ikezaki, the sound of metal against metal echoing through the venue, and capturing the attention of many visitors. One of the participants, a man in his 40s who came in contact with parasports support through his work, and who is learning about a variety of sports, said excitedly, “It was a lot more powerful than when you just watch it on TV. Seeing is believing, for sure.”
Even small children joined in to experience their very first tackle!
Visitors were able to experience world champion Daisuke Ikezaki’s tackle at the Mitsui Fudosan booth
There was also a Parasapo booth, where they worked to gather messages on flags for the “OEN Project,” towards the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics
Visitors taking a photo at the Parasapo photo booth
There was an original ParaFes photo frame as well!
November 23, the day of “i enjoy! Para-Sports Park in ParaFes 2018” and “ParaFes 2018,” was a special one, where visitors were able to see, learn about, and experience parasports all at the same time.
Many of the visitors were also children with impairments. One of the most extraordinary things about this event was the sight of these children trying these parasports with so much hope and excitement in their eyes, and bringing joy to so many of the people around them.
text by TEAM A
Photo by X-1