Japan Sport Stories

parkrun Japan and the Need for Community with Chiaki Okada

October 01, 2020 Mike Salter and Noel Thatcher Episode 6
Japan Sport Stories
parkrun Japan and the Need for Community with Chiaki Okada
Show Notes Transcript

parkrun made its way into Japan in 2019 - we talk to one of the key players in parkrun Japan's foundation, Chiaki Okada and find out about how community sport and the parkrun movement are tackling isolation and creating positive social change in Japan. We also hear about the Hikkikomori and aging issues that Japan is experience and discover how realising the joy of movement is helping to manage these issues., 

Episode 6 parkrun Japan and the Need for Community

Tue, 3/2 12:26PM • 51:22


japan, people, japanese, parkland, event, thought, sport, incredible, life, jackie, person, interview, australia, park, bit, tokyo, run, osaka, husband, podcast


Starting a new sport or getting into a fitness regime can be difficult. First, you have to find the right club find the right membership option for you. And often there are big financial outputs for this. In 2004, a man named Paul sinton Hewitt created the bushy part time trials, allowing people free time runs and a sense of a community. You probably know this better by its current name of park right now their free time Park runs in 22 countries. And in 2019, Japan got its first Park run. Today, we're talking to one of the key parts of Park on Japan, Jackie Okada, about the importance of community sport in Japan and how it's tackling loneliness and some of Japan's other societal issues. Jackie, thank you so much for joining us.


today. Thank you for having me today. Thanks for joining us, at least we know your real bona fide a Japanese person now with that level of Japanese so


it's it's I've had the pleasure to meet you at the parkrun launch in starcourt. tamagawa. In Tokyo in 2019. I believe we met in a cheese speciality restaurant has that right?


Something that you probably only find in Japan.


But we're just gonna start off so a little chatter how things been been to your house locked down in a beam view? You're in Queensland village.


Yes. Between Brisbane and Gold Coast. And my family's? Well, like health wise, it is good. And we don't do much throwing rocks, of course. But luckily my parents in Japan and it helps See, but parkrun and my family, especially kids keeping me busy. How many children do you have? And how old are they? Two kids and one is seven and one is five? But my older one turns eight next week, and what are their names? And now and he e n? n e and we're happy birthday next week.


I'm sure that keeping you busy. And I know the feeling I really think lockdown. Definitely.


Have you had to do homeschooling? Yes, that was not me.


Yeah, I think I think we've reached new new depths of despair during that particular process. Hopefully, hopefully you think we're going back to school soon. They're back for a few months now. Yes. In Queensland. Yes. Okay, fantastic. We've got we've got that next week. So we will hopefully, hopefully be smiling next.


Jackie, judging by your accent, you spent a long time in Australia. Did you go there? I've been here for about a team coming up to 19 years. Yes, I started off. I came here as a working holiday just to experience overseas. And Australia seems to be quite safe. So I just came here and bus tour around and went back to Japan. And then I thought I'll work. I never thought I'll leave it in overseas. I thought that was a great experience. That's the Japanese our work in Japan all I have life in Japan, and so on. But like travel bug just tickled me


wanted to come back to Australia again. So I decided to study nutrition here and met husband to be and still here. Can you tell us a little bit about where you're from in Japan? I lived in Osaka the whole time. I never lived any other city. I travelled a little bit but yeah, I was that guy's my hometown. So what's all soccer like his face growing is it's very different to Tokyo, isn't it? There's kind of a little bit of a yes. The rivalry between the consign and the cantori. Yes, yeah. contagions vary. Everyone is like comedian.


Like comedy stand up comedies. We love it. Like sarcastic jokes and very friendly. Food is yummy and


very loud.


talking very loudly, can say Ben is really very loud. Probably. We might come back to that a little bit later, we might get you to teach us a little bit of consignment because we


are trying to make this a cultural podcast as well as everything else. So we'll come back to you a little bit later. With that one. I'm looking forward to the chat as well. That's going to be my favourite part.


So when you're living back in Osaka when you particularly sporty, I I was quite childhood. I was a little bit chubby and then all the family used to


But you're not good at sport. So I just thought myself like, I'm not a sporty person, but think that now, I always be in the outdoor. I used to play kickball during primary school every afternoon after school. Yeah, I just run around climbing up the trees until call for dinner.


I'll always like moving but yeah, I was never good at any particular. Like succeed in any particular professional sports or anything but I always gave it a try. I was gonna say did you do that under Chi or later on in high school? Did you do buckets? it?


Yes, um, window Chi wasn't my favourite thing because I was really slow, but I always enjoyed it. So indoor Chi is a little bit about Lindell Chi.


Chi is sports day at school. But not only running, but would do tug of war or divided into two teams, White Team and red team and then throw the ball into the basket or sacrifice or


you tied the legs together and then run three, four people together. It's all sorts of different activities. So I always enjoy that. And then Endoca in Japan, all family comes with lunchboxes sit around all day. It's a family neighbourhood event. So it's not a school sports day. as such. It's a family home township event. Yes, we're gonna talk a lot about community. I think you kind of already raised as a theme because a lot of the events in London clay, they're around groups, to two huge teams and tug of war is amazing, isn't it? At the end of the event, you have like 100 kids on each side. The community in groups really important. Yes, very much. So sometimes, like dads, Ron and yeah, it's just everyone's Yep. So into it and your whole family and even like some people bring grandparents and neighbours and tearing up atomosphere is very exciting. Can you very quickly explain this for Kiva sin? Ah, Kiva. Kiva is two people sort of hunched back and one person on top of two people




to get a hat. So that top person wearing a hat, either white or red, those group have a three by two at the bottom and a one on top, trying to get the person's hat and then whichever gear that hat is a winner.


They're trying to snatch the hat off somebody else who's also writing on to other people. Yes, this is my first experience of this. So I used to work at the London the Japanese school in London. And they do keep us in but they split up into two teams, but one of them is waving a Scottish flag one there's an English flag and they sort of turn it into the ballot.


And the final sport I love to introduce him to his Japanese cheerleading, which isn't the same as in the west where it's people in small outfits trying to sort of, you know, be happy and joyful and dance around with pom poms is different about Japanese cheerleading, Jackie Sam.


I actually used to be in battle Club, which is a marching band for miniskirt or anything it was just


sort of marching band thing I used to do that just remembered when I was at primary school, but cheerleading. So cheerleading is mainly for boys, junior high school, high school, wearing a black school uniform, and then stand up still and


wait wadey loud voice


almost like tip


to motivate and cheer the you know, this theme and one of my mother in law's friends used to work for Nissan Etosha for the Nissan car company in a very serious role. And he was super proud to have been the head of the Nissan, you know, company cheer squad and the training that went into that thing for them for the baseball team or some team that they sponsored. Well was incredible, and he would tell me, you know, about you know, the, the massive amount of responsibility and, and pride that he took in this and the six hours a day of training that he did


It's a it's a massive thing, isn't it? Yeah. It was my first time in Japan on the school exchange, we were, you know, greeted for an assembly is, you know, honoured guests. And they said, Now we're gonna bring out the cheerleading squads. And it was the six enormous fellas, as you said in the fall long black coat uniform. He then proceeded to shouted us in Japanese for a good five minutes and everyone else. Other students were very, very enthralled by this. And we just stood there terrified, wondering what the next couple of weeks


couldn't be a bit scary if you didn't know what was going on.


I think we had a warning, it would have been


fantastic. And then later on in high school, did you do any sport?


a junior high school, I played badminton, okay. And it was a really


sincere teacher was really tough. I've learned a lot. Like I can still,


when I have tough things coming up in life, I always remember those times, like, I can do this, I can, like seem more demonstrative. Like I can be patient, I can keep trying, and then I can get through this. Like, I've learned a lot like that. Drawing, playing badminton in junior high school. And I found for the first time I really enjoy the long distance run, that was a part of the training.


I wasn't really good at badminton, because I was quite, I'm quite short and sort of chubby. And I wasn't in the like a leader


yet, but comes to the long distance writing this as far as I can do this. So I remember, just a little spark, I remembered, but I never really got into that. But I just yeah, sort of deep in my mind. I remember, I enjoyed running. I felt really good at that time. Fantastic. So at that time, you had no idea that you would be working we thought,


No, never physical activity and running. And walking in particular will be such a big part of your life. So I've never even thought of that. Because a few of our listeners might not have any idea what kind of Japanese high school sports are like How often would you have to train and go long distance running for for your badminton club.


I used to play every afternoon some days sometimes competition, but Saturday morning, we did have training sometimes in the morning. So that was really tough club. I was gonna say it sounds like it's so from sort of from a British schools perspective note. Every training every day, you know, and on Saturday morning sounds like quite a tough call because that's quite normal in Japan. I don't know now, but my days school was six days. Maybe it's a bit different now. But like, sometimes teacher hit me with a stick. And


I think that's probably changed a little bit now. Yeah.


You've spoken to us a little bit about how you came to be in in Australia, but when I mean, did you did you carry on running after high school or you're travelling? Did you have a break when you had your children? How did you sort of get into running in in Australia? When I was working in the office? That particular company sponsored Gold Coast kind of sponsored down Gold Coast masa. So like girls in the office said, oh, let's do take a run. Okay, that was me. I'm 30 and then Okay, all Tink AR should be able to do it. And then I did.


And then there was good fun. And I was sort of young, so I didn't struggle with anything. I just really enjoyed it and then enjoy the off like breakfast afterwards. That was the best part.


But I never really trained. It was a one off event and and that's a that was good fun. And I did that a couple of times. But running came in to me after having two children are left to work and then are stuck in the house with two beautiful babies but I was bored. And I was desperate to have adult interaction


conversation with someone like as in person, like as a Chiaki. Like it's not baby's mom. I'm sure there are lots of lots of women listening to this who can relate to that I'm sure because I enjoy the pink a runner.


Ghost Morrison couple of times, if you use previously, I thought I might do it again, like half marathon AT Gold Coast. It's


so that that can be my goal. And then I can do something for myself. So we bought a treadmill and put it in the lounge, and then put the washing basket around the treadmill.


The crying baby crawling into me just kept running on the treadmill. Like, three four times a week.


I put the free app on the phone and then follow that training regime and and then successfully completed my first ever


half marathon that go ghosts marathon. I think it was probably 4040 or 42 years old. Yeah, that was a first ever long run. For me my life. Incredible. So just to summarise, you train for your first half marathon age 40


on a treadmill in your living room, looking after two babies.






Wow. And so from there.


How did you discover parkrun um, after that, but that was a still one off event. Like, oh yeah, I achieved something but there was like exercise wasn't my regular thing in my life at that time still.


And then


my ex colleague, who is the same age as me, and then she had a baby around the same time, she had cancer. And then she went through a year of chemotherapy. And then after like just coming out of a chemo therapy she called about five six friends to run it was great name it was called mates run it was a five k run to run together


can I do this but for my friend and like he used to work together so I said okay, I'll come along and I did


and I felt great like


finish off like run itself was just wrong but afterwards is my main thing the skip to go have coffee have a chat about it. How it went and yeah, I really enjoyed it.


And yes since then also this can be like my lifestyle I want to be this to be regular thing. I don't have to pay great amount every time to enter the event and but I want it to be I want running to be my part of my life. And then I google search and then heaps of running clubs. Looks very full on like, I'm not an experienced runner.


I don't look like a runner. I thought and like it costs you and I was like like living on like my husband's income only so like it's not a great thing but I God join the riding club. I don't have much time because a small babies and


then found parkrun I read every single page on the website and this sounds so good. This can be like some cats into it. But finally I went to the nearby event. Alright, everyone was so friendly smiling at me and like


what? Wow, this is


like, I get old people they're like I'm not only like all shapes and sizes in different age group, even babies and it just all like yeah, generations and genders and all shapes and sizes people gathering smiling and Oh, wow. I don't feel awkward being there. So, yeah.


There's no that was Yeah, that was that was it? It's really interesting to me that when you're googling running clubs, that that kind of formality and that kind of rigidity structure could it possibly be like a barrier to you actually carrying on running you know, as a runner and and equally you know, that park run was completely opposite to that, you know, complete all inclusive or welcoming


people like yourself with young children, all shapes and sizes, walking and jogging, you know, totally different community and you, you know it, you're hooked.


Hmm. But it was still my, my thing, like, on the meantime, I was escaping from the husband in the case.


That was why one hour of escaping. But over time I started bringing kids in the pram and my husband came along. And then at the, at the start, like my husband play was kids in and then starting to walking together. And then my husband sort of interested in and he wanted to run so I pushed the pram and I get out of it each week and just enter the Met few people started talking to other people. And then I brought my friends into parkrun and having breakfast afterwards and just yeah, gate became a family thing. You just constantly had to move and kind of non competitive sports is something in your life growing up in Japan. Do you think that sort of carried on and helped you go into part of that movement wasn't an effort for you, it was just part of your life?


Yeah, being the outside door is not really new to me, always outside, I like to bushwalking and always been outside, but the most scary thing was going into a new group, I get really nervous.


Going to unknown, as always makes me nervous.


And as I said, I'm never really exceeded in one particular sport. So I don't call myself a sporty person. So I was quite anxious, like my level of fitness suit. parkrun. But it was I was surprisingly heavily wrong. So was it nice to not have that competitive aspect of it, because I know, a lot of sport in the UK is based around becoming the best or being really competitive. But it's nice not to have that I guess for you. I believe Japanese people a lot of like a shemin are very competitive, but I love that. Not the competitive thing, but just my mental health. Moving is good for my mental health. That's the that's why I move.


That's my motivation for moving for going forward. February, February 2019. That's what happened in February 2019.


My husband is looking at the email and


like, because at that time kids like sort of getting bigger about young, my younger one was about four years old,


sort of not


growing up from the baby stage. And then I was thinking I could go back to part time job.


And then my husband fine. Park around Australia. I was looking for administrator and there was on the email, bottom of the email and said, Oh, okay, yeah, I like Parkland. That would be really nice. I like making people happy in the Parkland. Looks. Yeah. Perfect. And then I opened a link that that front page didn't say anything about Japan, or Japanese. And I opened the link and then said, requirement was a fluent Japanese.


Wow, is just calling me.


This is just for me.


So I type up my resume and tidy up the main resume and I'm like, passionate about my life. And I'll be totally honest. And yeah. And then a week or 10 days later.


I'm receiving email for interview.


Incredible. It was obviously meant to be yes. It was just meant to be like, Oh,


I knew I applied previously around that time. A few jobs and I never got a call. And then I was sort of like, oh, I've been out of work off of the sort of working environment too long. I was 16 years since I left work. So I was sort of like our and then we're going to get job again or too outdated. I was feeling like that but when I saw Parker on it, this is this is me like this is this job.


came for me. And you were interviewed if I'm right by Tim Oberg and Rene, yeah. In bed. Yes.


Well, lucky that I've temporarily forgotten a surname there.


How was that? How was that interview because I'm really, really, really lucky to have both Tim and Rene and spent some time. And they are just the most incredible people and just such wonderful advocates and ambassadors for physical activity Park grand and how was the interview?


There was a Sunday morning at seven o'clock in a cafe.




I'm in Australia. Yeah, because they they travelled from Tasmania. That morning, just flew in from Tasmania to go coast. And then Wow, these people are busy, like, the first time I met Wow. I didn't know what I got into.


But it worked perfect for me. Because my husband, it was Sunday. So my husband could look after kids and and I could often interview and I met, like, incredibly happy people, Tim and Rene, and had breakfast and had a chat. And I chat about my passion for life. And yeah, probably chatting for about 20 minutes, half an hour, or even could be longer. They just team said, Yep. I offer you a job. You.


So we got a photo together like this, Steve?


Yeah, obviously, I passed the regimen and all that stuff previously, but like, yeah, interview pass the interview on the spot.


Incredible. And this is. So two months later. Yeah. And that must have been an incredibly busy two months. You're standing while you're in in Tokyo. We're all in Tokyo, April 6 2019.


On the banks of the tama river, you know, waiting for the start of parkrun. First of all, how would those those two months and and then what did it feel like? When you know at the launch event?


interview I was told, like I was in, I'll be doing translations. So when I will negotiate or deal with Japan and Australia and so on. And I, I'll just do translation. That's what I saw.


was started I just, yeah, just came all operation, talking to people, of course, and bringing events, dealing with a team and sponsor, and it was


a lot more than what I thought I would do. But that was like, I like working independently. So that was perfect for me. It just slowly


getting more confident every day as a person and meeting so many happy people. Just everyone is so positive and everyone is trying to


do from God. And it just, yeah. Whole happy, healthy world. It was. Yeah, just overwhelming.


And, you know, it's brilliant. Negotiating. You're talking about negotiating with, you know, helping with negotiations with with Sumitomo semi, you know, the big cook, partner of parkrun, Japan's the fourth largest insurance company in Japan, a huge company. So from being a stay at home mom, to being in those negotiations I can imagine was a Yeah, that must have been a steep learning curve.


But people were people at the end of the day anyway, so even the large corporation, they're people, it's just this normal individual. So


it's, I love talking to people.


So it's nothing scares me.


Like if you speak the truly from your heart, it's nothing to scare off. When you were standing at the start line of the launch event in Stockholm Temodar on the sixth of April 2019. How is that I was quite nervous.


I never done public speaking.


That sort of scale ever in my life. So how many how many people were there roughly?


About 140 something so roughly about 350 people


it's quite it's quite a big crowd a few first public engagement.


I was really nervous day before or a few days before and in the morning. But as soon as I stood up there, and then so people are looking at me and then Wow, like, few people wondering what's what's gonna happen? Are we just run but like a briefing, like we're standing on the hill, it's noise on


everyone else. And just my speech came up out naturally, from my heart. Yeah. Then started.


You said, You're, you're standing there next to the founder of this incredible global movement for health and happiness.


Unlike you, my speech didn't come out perfectly. I was suffering from having two hours sleep and it was it was


my finest hour as a translator, shall we say that?


But I'm getting goosebumps now. Just just sort of thinking back to that day. It was an incredible special, incredibly special day. It wasn't


even when I look at that footage, like,


like, yeah, it just makes me so warm and makes me bit teary.


Still, like, probably I didn't realise how big this movement would be. until later on. Even still now. On like, blow my mind.


Yeah, at that time, I was so excited. Like, I was so excited to share parkrun and,




yeah, but over time,


just more comes more. Like, wow, this is like incredible thing. I am,


like, spreading parkrun


in Japan, like pig making pee, helping armour just part of it, but making people happy. I'm just contributing to make people happier and healthier. In Japan.


And it just overwhelming experience. Even every day in the office


growing in Japan, is it is it still getting bigger? Is it? Yes. Still, even during lockdown. People quiet. Very, very positive. Surprisingly, I thought I wasn't quite anxious that like are because Parkland is new to Japan. People might just sort of like a lose interest. But we are waiting. several events are waiting to launch or start when we reopen seven new events got ready. Burn locked down already. So it's just Yeah, great. So when you say events, as someone who's not a part of the park, when you say event is so a new location? Don't have a weekly place? Yes, yes. So people finding out word of mouth or social media. And


yet, they they just oh, I want to do that.


I was gonna ask what's the what's the spread like apartment events in Japan? Is it all focused in Tokyo? Is it really spreading out across the country? Or sort of Toko cells all the way to Kyushu now?




yeah, we want to have one in Tokyo. Hope Chi died. We have couple of locations to Yeah, people interested in but not quite yet.


It's still growing. So you're hopeful that it's, you know, more and more of these events will start springing up and it's gonna go it's gonna keep growing your opinion? Definitely, yes.


Because what I started didn't have much knowledge, how to do the events I never involved in, in the event team or anything. I was just a park runner.


So after all three locations are already set before I started, so I knew though


was starting, but after that, like,


What do I do? But just people who are coming?


And yeah, for some reason, just the positive energies goes around. It's just amazing things


parkrunners is just amazing. just bringing people together. So parkruns all based on volunteers. Yeah, there's no no get paid to kind of run a park run.


And Japan's pretty famous for its volunteer culture with things like the Rugby World Cup and the massive oversubscription to the Olympics and Paralympics. Are you finding the same thing for bargain? Yeah, people, all other countries are the same at parkrun, too, but if people are willing to help young and old,


because when Japan has disaster, and then high school kids travel to the disaster site and and help older people remove the dirt or debris or they that happens naturally in Japan. Yeah, plan is perfect. And I think I read a blog


of yours in the park around Australia website and around some of the social challenges facing Japan at this at this point in time, um, you know, around social isolation, and comedy. In particular, can you tell our listeners, those of our listeners who may not be aware of watched commodities and some of those changes, can you speak a little to that


he Kiko Modi is, like,


depression part of depression.


A person lock himself or herself in a room, and then not socialise, just stay in one room for more than six months, in most cases, for years, just to go out to go to the kitchen and get eat, and then bring the food in and then just stay in their own world for absolutely years, and scared to socialise with people. Yeah, that's called the hikikomori. I know a person, my friend's brother in law spin in his room for more than 20 years, 20 years.


That's because he failed to enter


to the university he wanted.


And he


passed it another university as well. But that wasn't good enough for him. But for everyone else that was just really highly academic University, but he didn't like it. He just wanted that particular. He thought that was the best university. He couldn't get into that. And then he just thought, not worse getting out. So he stuck in his room. And then parents used to put the meals in front of his room, and then he get the mail and eating in his room and then never really came out for over 20 years.


How many, how many people does it affect in Japan? It says over 740,000 in 2019. And the government predicts could be over 1 million people could be affected in the near future. And some of them were not one the young people but could be like 60s and 70s, as well could be after retirement because keeping the one job working for one company is a lifetime thing in Japan. So maybe after losing that retirement, maybe lose a purpose of life or, you know, all sorts of different reasons, but I think that could be one of them as well.


And you also spoke about loneliness, particularly loneliness amongst the elderly population. So Japan has one of the oldest populations in the world, if not the oldest population in the world and think it's estimated that by 2050, a third of the Japanese population be over 65. And one one quote from from from the blog was that


15% of elderly men over the age of 65 live alone and have less than one conversation every two weeks and in some severe situations in people been known to commit crimes, just so you can go to prison and have more social contact. I found that absolutely staggering.


That's really sad, because olden days we used to live together was two or three generations together and then neighbour watch together, but people move to cities, more, I've moved out of the country, so I can't say too much.


All individual families living together.


So some people are just quite lonely,


even young people, there's so much social media, but actual having conversation, actual social interaction,


for some people is quite less, I think. And so parkrun actually thinking, Oh, you know, we've all experienced isolation of varying degrees, I'm going to be very lucky to carry on working through lockdown and have contact with people on a day to day basis, but for an awful lot more people now that people have become isolated cut off from their communities, their regular support structures parkrun you know, in this instance parkrun in Japan must have a massive role to play for helping bring people back into contact with one another providing a non judgmental, you know, support structure. Young people can interact with older people and an older people interact with the younger people that makes them feel like active and young and get new knowledge in either side, like goes for both sides. And also for men businessman, like there's no business like cocky either. So it just everyone is equal everyone is a person like No, your boots or or heat or shine or anything like that.


So that everyone is equal and just treated as a person so I think it's


just very open. There's no underlying negotiation in the conversation or anything just conversation is just person to person in all generations incredible and and now you know from again, you know,


growing up in in Osaka, you are now helping to shape shape the future of Japan and its health and happiness and what wanting one incredible position to be in this this 10th chakra is this your your how do you how would you translate 10 chakras? Somebody please help me?


Yes, yeah. Yeah, this is definitely my attention.


Oh, one thing I said to Tim at the interview is our older I do work for Parker and when I get to 90, still, that that's how I feel like there's no retirement for Park run.


For everyone probably like most people, Parker I'm


never gonna leave.


This is my attention. 100% What a wonderful testament to the power of parkland to shape you know, people's lives and, and, you know, and and your commitment. You're just an amazing ambassador for Parkland. Jackie sounds so happy to have you on the podcast today. Um, so normally, this section in the podcast, we ask our guests for some recommendations. First of all, can you recommend one place in Japan for us and our listeners to visit? Yes, I knew this was coming.


So many beautiful places in Japan, but other people can point out the great scenery things but I have to say, I'm a soccer city. Middle boy soccer.


What What is it about the middle of all soccer that that makes? Just a


very vibrant, or she told me not great food, and very friendly people. And just the vibe, I've always had a city I would recommend to visit everyone to visit Osaka city. Perfect. Now I'm gonna let Mike us the next question because he's been dying to ask this question for the entire podcast.


And so the next thing we have to ask is can you recommend something to eat in Japan? Yes, because I'm from Osaka, I have to say okonomiyaki. Do you know okonomiyaki is my favourite food.


I think there's a caveat is to say can you quickly explain for people who don't know it


could have yucky


Some English translation is pancake but it's a bit different to pancake. It's shredded cabbage kind of pancake. Base, an egg, and meat or seafood. Anything you like to add and grilled on the hot plate, and Japanese mayonnaise and sauce and fish flakes on top.


I struggle with the translations, because it's always turned off on English menus as either Japanese pancakes or Japanese pizza. And it's none of those things. It's all the goodness mixed up together smothered in heaven in a sauce bottle.


And it's, I can I can do a whole episode about this. But Jackie Sanyo from Japan's kitchen Osaka Do you have your noodles or not? I know I do some time but usually no. See, I'm where I used to live in Japan was in the much further west near terashima where we have our own brand of open omake which includes noodles, and


Hiroshima. Everything is laid out. We don't mix it together because we're simple folk.


Like mochi in it.


What what a mochi


mochi is a sticky rice cake. While we're on the topic of food, I'm gonna go off off script. So what's your favourite thing to cook at home?


Oh, I like set out if you notice.


So can you tell us what's


that hold on is crispy deep fried noodles, and


vegetable and pork stir fry gravy on top.


Okay, so the next the next question. I don't really think I need to ask this one. But can you think of one activity that


our listeners must do if they go to Japan? Can I give you a hint Chuck is and this is where you say parkrun.


Just in case, just in case Tim or anyone from the Parkland family are listening.


Thinking bungee jumping




Okay. Okay, so if you're not going to go bungee jumping, go to park run in Japan. Um, and then one other fun question. We like to think of ourselves as promoting Japanese culture through this podcast.


Can you either teachers one Japanese phrase that sums up your your favourite Japanese phrase perhaps or a piece of Japanese or Japanese phrase that you think would be really useful for our listeners if they go to Japan? Not for tourists. But my phrase for life? Like his genes your excuse me or matter?


A bit long? No, no, no, absolutely, absolutely perfect. But I'm gene God.


him male matter? Can male matter? And what does that mean? Please?


Do your best and see what life brings? Absolutely perfect. Just to say, huge thanks for giving up so much of your precious family family time.


just happy to share like I hope I did. Okay. Jackson, you've been absolutely in, in credible throughout. It's been really one of those those interviews where we didn't know how much we could probably learn until we start talking to you. And then you open up on so many themes that we've kind of scratched the surface of that hadn't really, you know, you've it's been brilliant. I think, again, I'm genuinely gonna go back and listen to listen and listen, because I've learned so much. We've learned so much. I think a lot of the themes are so relevant to where we are in the world today, you know, particularly or at, you know, both globally and in Japan. It's, as you said, this is about people. The whole reason we put you know, we wanted to do the podcast is not to try and talk to the analysis of this as the Japanese point. We wanted to get to great, great people who you know, doing great things in different different areas and, and you've been brilliant, so thank you so much. Oh, thank you. Thank you for having me.


In the morning


thank you for listening to this episode of Japan sports stories. Community sports have played a really important part in mine and knows lives. So we're grateful for the opportunity to talk about it. Thank you Chiaki son for being a wonderful and passionate guest. Since recording this episode, Corona restrictions have become stricter in many places, and many organised activities, including parkrun have been suspended in some countries. We know times are tough, but we encourage everyone to do what they can to stay physically active. Some community sport is still available and others will return. Next time, we'll be talking to Alex Miyaji, the head of the Japanese Cricket Association. He tells us all about how Japanese cricket is beginning to spread across the country and its ability to revitalise shrinking towns and can lower level of activity in school children. Make sure you subscribe to hear the episode when it's first released. Finally, me know I'm so grateful for the support and listens this podcast has had so far. This podcast really is a labour of love for us, and we'd love for even more people to hear it. So if you can, please leave us a review on iTunes, Google podcasts or wherever you're listening and share it with anyone you think would like to hear our guest stories and we'll see you in two weeks.