I wrote this piece for “JETfuel”, a magazine for all Assistant Language Teachers in the prefecture of Fukui., Japan. Myself, Liam Cosgrave and Stuart Butchers (fellow ALTs) organised a Car Rally for our fellow colleagues. This is what happened…
On April 19th, the area of Reinan was invaded by a mass of foreingers all vying to get their hands on the most prestigious of trophies. Thirty-six people turned out, despite wind and rain, to compete in the Reinan Car Rally. Each team was required to find places and objects and to prove their discoveries by taking a photograph of them, their team and their crucially important mascot – Kitty Chan. Extra points were available if the teams exercised the obaachan bonus. In addition to the photographs, points could be gained through answering questions and also finding various “Kitty Chan Secret Agent” cards that could be found all over Reinan.
There was a diverse mix of participants, from the local “Stuart’s Angels in the Gleen Machine” to “Affirmative Action”, from as far north as Katsuyama – us southerners get nose bleeds just thinking about such northern territories.
The teams were required to show skill and imagination especially when faced with trying situations such as grumpy obachans and even grumpier Pachinko Parlour managers. Patience too was a virtue during this weekend marathon, especially for people hanging around Mikata High School waiting for the clock to click to 10 past! Between 3 and 4pm the teams arrived at Buddy Bowl to drop off their cameras, go to the toilet, then pick-up more questions and instructions to be completed from Obama to Oi-Cho. At 5.45pm the teams had all arrived at the campsite, the venue for the BBQ, prize ceremony, and the “dirty great party” that sent Japanese families flocking to the hills.
During the rigorous marking process, ralliers entertained themselves with food, beer, music and some quite hideous dancing moves of which I was lucky enough only to catch a glimpse.
At 10pm the marking was complete and the glamorous prize ceremony began. Prizes were issued for many good reasons, the most deserved being a map for the drastically awful performance of the “Clueless Wanderers”, who incidentally very nearly won a prize for most appropriately named team. This team did redeem themselves with a quite stunning display of barbecue ignition, as Christine was running herself completely into the ground and was in desperate need of a drink.
The eventual winners were KC and the Sapphires, consisting of Jessica, Natasha and Kaori. The hearty applause was loud enough to wake all recovering obaachans, such as the one Maire was caught wrestling with. Not far behind were Stuart’s Angels in the Gleen Machine consisting of Stuart and his bitches (Gwen, Emily and Carrie), in what was undoubtedly the funkiest car.
From that point the night turned, somewhat inevitably, into a free-for-all, lasting until the wee hours of the morning until finally, weary and thoroughly pissed ralliers retired to the beautiful and spacious log cabins. All in all a good time was had by all.
The organisers would like to thank all ralliers for their participation, their punctuality and, most importantly, their crazy spirit which was the underlying factor making the whole day such an enjoyable one.
Any takers for next year?