Monday, October 29, 2012


Ekiden is a popular long-distance cross-country relay footrace competition in Japan. There's no fixed format; a race may have teams from 5 to 10 people, and the running distance per runner may vary from a kilometer to a half marathon. Most races are school-related events, with teams from different high schools or universities1.

Some large ekiden events are highly competitive, very serious and even broadcast on TV. Others are less so, and the departmental ekiden held at NAIST each autumn is decidedly in the latter category. Some teams take the race somewhat seriously and train beforehand. Other teams simply take it as an excuse to dress up, get out of the lab and have fun in the autumn sunshine for an afternoon.

One of the two Mathematical Informatics teams, with a Hayao Miyazaki theme. And yes, 'Miyazaki' to the left ran the course holding that bug thing over his head. Our other team did take it seriously, and won the race.

Another team went for a coordinated look. This is, I believe, the villain in the Scream movie series. The visual impact was surprisingly effective.

Horse for the course.

Bee buzzing through.

Who is this?
No idea what manga character this is. It's Tombo from Kiki's Delivery Service. I also believe the judges frowned on a bicycle in what is supposed to be a foot race, giant cardboard propeller or not.

Summery hawaiian balladeer. Running in flip-flops seems a bad idea to me though.

#1 Japan has a system where you do sports and other non-academic activities at your university, not in separate clubs or associations. Seems a little restrictive — what if you want to join a friend at a different school? — but who am I to judge; as a student I never did any sports at all.

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