With you Japan and Glico Present "Takuma Kids Kart Challenge 2014" Held at Sportsland SUGO
November 24, 2014
When: November 24, 2014
Where: Sportsland SUGO in Shibata-gun, Miyagi-prefecture
With you Japan was started by Takuma Sato in 2011 after the 3-11 earthquake, with the purpose of "supporting affected children who are trying to beat the tragedy." This year's annual event was held at Sportsland SUGO in Miyagi, four years after With you Japan was founded. The event aimed to provide an avenue for families to spend time with one another and have fun at a family kart event.
Arriving in two separate coach buses, approximately 130 participants gathered in Yamamotocho, Watari-gun in the Miyagi prefecture. Elementary and junior high school students and their family members participated in the event. It was the first time that the door was opened for With you Japan supporters to apply to be a part of the event. As a result, this event was joined by approximately 50 selected participants who support the cause.
It was an unusually warm day in late November. Everyone was paying close attention to the kart lesson from Takuma Sato. It was the first time for most of the participants to drive a kart. Following the class, they finally got to see the actual karts. For this event, the With you Japan team prepared three different types of karts: the smallest was the super kids' kart for children under 100cm, the middle size was the kids' kart for children taller than 100cm, and the regular size was for adults. In the beginning, the children rode super kids' karts with a string attached to the rear end that adults held to control the kart to ensure the safety of the rider during driving, turning and stopping. Afterwards everyone moved to the international kart course, to follow Takuma Sato while he drove in the lead.
Lunch was provided by Glico, the event sponsor. The participants ate delicious Glico curry, which served as fuel for the participants to help them regain energy.
After lunch, there was another program entitled "Dream Workshop" where the children wrote a letter to their future selves, specifically a year later, with the purpose of making their goals more realistic. For example, they would ask themselves questions such as: "Are you now able to jump a vaulted horse?" This would help them make a clearly stated goal. Takuma used the practice himself to set and accomplish his goals, thus the workshop was planned with the hope of teaching his practice to others. The letters collected from this activity will be held by With you Japan and mailed to them a year later.
In the afternoon, everyone, including small children ages four to five, seemed to be excited for the kart race trial. It was impressive that not one participant dropped out. Five karts participated per trial. As a result, some trials turned into heated battles, similar to a real race; the kids showed impressive driving performances while everyone cheered them on. In addition, it was a heartwarming sight to see some parents drive as their children shouted and rooted for them.
The final program of the event was the demo drive by Takuma, who drove with outstanding technique and speed like no other. It was eye-popping not only for the children, but the adults as well. The entire venue was excited and in awe.
One of the participants from the disaster affected area commented, "Thank you for continuing to show your support by holding an event for us each year, even as the public's concern with disaster stricken areas wanes as time passes." One of the supporting participants stated, "I felt frustrated to be in a position where I haven't been able to volunteer as much as I wanted to, hence, it was such a great event for me to be a part of. It gave me and my kids an opportunity to meet and mingle with the victims of the earthquake."
With you Japan would like to sincerely thank all the participants and staff, as well as the sponsors. They are planning to continue supporting children that were affected by recent disasters. The group greatly appreciates the continuous help and cooperation of its supporters.