Baseball dominates sport in Japan while Cricket is still not a big thing. Although Japan is an associate nation, since 2005, they are doing their every bit to promote the game in the country. The Sano Cricket Curry Festival was one such event they organised in a bid to popularize the game in their own backyard.
Sano is a city located in Tochigi Prefecture which is about 80 km north of Tokyo and it is considered as the home of cricket in Japan. Sano is the centre of all attraction as far as cricketing events are concerned in the country.
This city which has a population of around 120,000 hosted a very unusual yet unique and interesting event named Sano Cricket Curry Festival. The central idea (as explained by the organizers) was to try and promote and popularize the game through a very innovative concept. The idea of this festival was to help the local Japanese people identify with the ‘international nature of cricket’.
There were multiple activities that took place in this unique yet innovative festive. The community cricket matches between the local and foreign players was one of the main attractions at the Sano International Cricket Ground. But other cultural activities and a wide range of food and curries from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Nepal garnered quite some interest as well.
“The Japan Cricket Association has been working hard to develop the game in Sano. We consider this cricket festival as the kick-off event to take cricket to the next stage in Sano. We believe the sport will greatly contribute to the revitalisation of the city as a whole,” Yoshimaru Sekiguchi, Manager of Sport, Sano City was quoted saying when ICC Cricket 360 interviewed him.
Yoshimaru Sekiguchi further added that with the weather being great, they were able to portray the game of cricket to quite a bit of people with the Japanese and the Indians playing a game.
“The weather was great and many people attended the event. Through the match between the Japanese and the Indian team, we were able to show cricket to many people. There were food stalls selling South Asian dishes as well. So I think it turned out to be a wonderful event,” he further told ICC Cricket 360.
A local who tried his hand at cricket revealed that he initially thought cricket was quite similar to baseball, but has now realised that the way the ball is hit in cricket is quite different to baseball. He admitted that he wants to learn more about the sport in future.