Tuesday, December 26, 2006

SLAM DUNK Scholarship

I hear that the Japanese manga artist Inoue Takehiko best known for his works "SLAM DUNK" "REAL" and "Vagabond" has set up a basketball scholarship "SLUM DUNK Scholarship" together with the publisher Shueisha, for teenage basketball players in Japan. Scholars are chosen from Juniors in Japanese high schools who are eager to brush up their basketball skills after graduation, and aim to play in NBA in the future. The fund will help the scholars go to basketball prep schools and support them financially.

Basketball in Japan is by no means a minor sport, but comparing to baseball and soccer the playing population is small and the level is pretty low - "pretty low" as long as we consider us to be weak.
That is the Inoue's message.
"Japan is weak" "Japanese people aren't really suited for basketball as a competing sport"
This is what Inoue wished to eliminate from our minds. Sure, the chances for the Japanese team to win over teams from other countries are small, but that's not only because we aren't trained as well in the sport. Part of it is because we perceive ourselves to be unsuited for the sport and as long as we continue doing so we will never achieve higher levels.

Inoue wants to give hope to children and teenagers who purely enjoy playing basketball and dreams to become a pro player and tell them that there is no wall of "impossibility". The program is also his way of showing gratitude to all the basketball lovers.

Perhaps the idea of establishing a scholarship fund isn't so new and innovating, but I liked his message of not only wanting to support those who dream to become a pro player but also to encourage them that it's not impossible and that there's always a chance. I bet so many kids' hearts brightened up with the news. I'm excited to know how the program turns out even though I probably won't know the results for another few years.

A short and easy one for today.
See the
Slam Dunk Scholarship official website for more. It's only available in Japanese though...

Today's update on Japan Mode: Hot Spring Guide "Kanagawa Prefecture" - it's so hard to try to pick out a few hot spring resorts out of sth like 3,000 all together in this country. I don't think I'll ever be able to completely finish this section.

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