Badminton Tournament in Osaka, Japan – May 2017
Our Law Society’s badminton team has long had a tradition of embarking on foreign sporting expeditions (on the pre-text of building relationships with regional law societies). In truth, the motivation is probably a mixture of both.
Earlier this year, our team set out on one of the most ambitious (and furthest) journeys to date – a trip to the home of the Bushido Code, the Land of the Rising Sun.
Planning for the trip started way back in 2016, with the generous help of the secretariat of the Law Society of Singapore (“LSS”) and the Osaka Bar Association (“OBA”). In particular, Mr. Dai Mizui, who was the main coordinator of the inter-society games and also an ex-university player was instrumental in the organisation of the friendly games.
The LSS team arrived in Osaka a day before the friendly match. We thought that we would be massacred by the Yonex-wielding badminton court ninjas from the OBA. So naturally, we prepared for the games by consuming copious amounts of sushi, okonomiyaki and whiskey the night before.
The games were held at the scenic Osaka University-Toyonaka Campus and was strongly attended by over 60 people from both sides, players and supporters. The format of the games included 4 men’s doubles, 2 mixed doubles and 1 ladies’ doubles. After a friendly round of introduction and exchange of gifts as a token of friendship, we stepped onto the courts and drew our swords rackets. Our LSS team was lucky to emerge victors at the end of the official games – with the final results standing at 4 wins, 2 losses and 1 draw. Unbeknownst to the team from OBA, we had brought along a number of our own samurai warriors to do battle. This was followed by some unofficial mixed-nation matches, with each doubles pair comprising of one OBA player and one LSS player.
The day’s events ended off with a closing dinner generously hosted by the OBA, which included endless laughter, smiles and even an impromptu live karaoke session with a performance from each side – LSS represented by Associate Prof. Low Kee Yang and OBA represented by Mr. Yoshihiro Obayashi. Prof Low serenaded the guests with a soulful rendition of “Colours of the Wind” which would have made Vanessa Williams proud (but with Pocahontas turning in her grave). Mr. Obayashi, on the other hand, got the crowd jiving with an upbeat Japanese pop song. Arguably, the hosts emerged victorious in this contest.
As we like to say, it is never about winning or losing, but about the people, camaraderie and the new friendships made (and in this particular case, the sake).
This Osaka trip was memorable for us, not only because of the beauty of the city, but more importantly for the tremendous warmth, generosity and welcome extended to us by our Japanese counterparts.
We cannot express our gratitude and appreciation enough to both the LSS and OBA for their support, without which, this amazing journey would not have been possible for the team.