Monday, August 01, 2005

Australians meeting Japanese in Germany ...


Our last full day in Germany (for now) brought one of those mixed-up, multicultural moments I’m gradually getting used to.

An exchange group of nine teenagers from the Japan Junior Sports Clubs Association spent the day in Böckingen, the suburb of Heilbronn we’ve been living in for the last year. Who better to give them a demonstration of one of their homegrown sports, kendo, than an Australian? Ian and a fellow Stuttgart Kendo Club member gave a twenty-minute performance on a soccer field, much to the gratified bemusement of the Japanese and the wondrous amazement of the young Germans. When Ian and Daniel began their demonstration with kata, a series of slow set moves, a three-year-old boy next to me complained to his mother that "sie kämpfen gar nicht" – they’re not really fighting – but when the full equipment went on and the proper shouting and whacking began, he was more than satisfied.

My mind boggling with a mixture of German, Japanese and English, I went home to pack for our trip through south-central Europe. Where I guess there’ll be still more mad multicultural moments.

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