Once upon a time, there was a place called Wakaki.
In the Edo period, Wakaki was divided into four territories: Okabe Territory Higashi Kawago Village, Okabe Territory Nishi Kawago Village, Hasuike Territory, and Takeo Territory.
Today, Wakaki is divided into 15 areas: Nakayama, Gosho, Nagano, Tsukebo, Kawachi, Sugamuta, Kawago-Yamanaka, Kamishuku, Sarashuku, Shimomura, Hyakudobaru, Kuroiwa, Haru, Shuku, and Motobe-Yamanaka.
At the annually-held Wakaki Town Sports Day, people compete in 4 teams: Kawachi, Gosho, Kawago, and Motobe.
I was invited to participate in the Sports Day.
“Mrs. Suzuki, will you join the tamaire game?”
“What is tamaire?”
“It’s a ball game. You throw balls into a basket. You will understand the game if you just play it!”
I imagined a game similar to the Thai sport “takraw,” a ball game in which you shoot round rattan balls into a hanged round basket using your feet, knees, and head.
The actual balls for tamaire are soft and cute balls, different from what I had imagined. I found that tamaire is a sport enjoyable but hard for me, who is not very athletic. It is a sport that requires all the energy of your body. Everyone continues to throw a lot of balls at a full speed, and the balls hit your face and head. The game time is short, but I was very tired after the game.
What is the trick of playing tamaire? I want to join the game next year again and I hope to shoot more balls than this year.
Author name: Noi
Hometown: Bangkok, Thailand
I live in Wakaki-cho, Takeo City, Saga Prefecture, together with my Japanese husband, raising our child.
In Thailand, I used to do art and publication-related work.
I have a Kyushu Special Zone Guide-interpreter’s license (in Thai).