With you Japan and Glico Present "Takuma Kids Kart Challenge 2014" Held at Sportsland TAMADA

November 29, 2014

When: November 29, 2014

Where: Sportsland TAMADA in Hiroshima-prefecture

With you Japan (WyJ), founded in 2011 as a project to support the disaster recovery of 3-11, held a karting event on November 29, following the one held on November 24 in Northeastern Japan. The slogan of the event read: "Put smiles on the children by letting them play hard," and aims to serve the children in Hiroshima who have been affected by the enormous landslides that occurred in August 2014. It was announced to two elementary schools and kindergartens in the area that were hit particularly hard by the disaster, resulting in over 140 participants from the families of the area.

Takuma Sato kicked off the event with an opening ceremony speech, emphasizing the importance of striving to achieve one's goals as well as never giving up. The children from age four to fourth grade experienced the drives, turns, and stops in karting for the first time. They seemed nervous in the beginning, however, as a smiling Sato explained the programs of kart practice with a supporting string, practicing driving on the track, and time trial, they started warming up enough to learn the acceleration technique and eventually were able to drive with a smile. In addition, Sato led the kart groups driving up front, which brought him and the children closer together.

During lunch time, there was a workshop entitled "Dream Workshop" where the children wrote a postcard to their future selves asking questions such as "Are you keeping up with *Kanji practice?" or "Have you learned how to jump a vaulted box?" The plan is for the administration office to keep the postcards, then mail them back after a year. It was impressive to see the children's face light up as they received a gift package of sweets passed by Sato and prepared by WyJ sponsor Glico.*Kanji is a form of Japanese writing style.

The event was held at Sportland TAMADA, a kart circuit in the city of Hiroshima. The landslides forced it to close for two months, but despite the short notice, for Takuma's sake, they were able to pave the dirt road leading to the kart circuit. The dirt road had been shut down in the aftermath of the landslides, but with the cooperation of not only their employees but also the employees from related companies, it was paved and rehabilitated, making it possible to welcome over 200 people for this event.

One of the children commented, "It was my first kart experience, but I had fun." One of the parents said, "It's been so hectic after the disaster that I was hardly able to spend time with my children. Today was the first time in a long time that I got to be with my children under the blue sky, which we didn't get to see for a long time as well."

Lastly, there was a special performance by Sato. The participants cheered and applauded at his mind boggling performance with the racing kart. It was concluded with a meet-and-greet session , where there was a long line of children with smiles on their faces waiting to get his autograph.

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