Monday, January 30, 2006

Village Snowball Fight ・ 村の雪合戦

Yesterday Inakadate had another unique event, the village snowball fight. This event, organized by the village's neighborhood associations, was really neat. I had never seen an organized snowball fight so this was kind ofinteresting to watch.

The event started at 9am and lasted until about noon. It was a beautiful day and everyone enjoyed themselves. There were probably about 300 people there cheering on the nine teams of children participating.

When I was a child, we made our own snowballs while avoiding the balls of our opponents, but in this battle, the balls were premade (with a form that could make about 50 at one time). This allowed (or forced) teams to concentrate more on strategy.

There was a field painted in the snow in which there were seven large protection shelters behind which competitors could hide. Each team had nine players each who had to wear a helmet. Matches were three minutes and during that time the team was limited to 70 pre-made snowballs.

If someone was hit by a snowball (as determined by one of the six judges) s/he had to sit out the rest of the match. Teams could win by stealing the other team's flag or by having more players remaining at the end of the match. Each match was the best 2 out of 3 sets. The day started with a round robin competition to determine placements in the final competition. This was then followed up by an elimination tournament to determine the final championship.

It was quite interesting to watch the strategies of the winning teams. Some people were designated as throwers while others worked to supply them with snowballs. Finally most successful teams would at some time make a unified rush to the other team's flag. It was interesting to see when that would be and who would make that rush.

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