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The Olympics in an Academic Perspective
Co-written by 14 students

      The recently completed Global Praxis Course “The Olympics in an Academic Perspective,” was comprised of pre-departure lectures at the Komaba Campus, followed by field work in both France and Greece. During the pre-departure lectures, we learned about the ancient Olympics, the philosophy behind the games, Greek art featuring the Olympics, physical motions of various Olympic sporting events as well as the “restoration” of the Olympics and its development in modern times. From these lectures, we gained the knowledge necessary to think critically about an event which had previously seemed just a vague television broadcast. Through this course, we acquired knowledge of the intellectual background of Olympic Games, which otherwise we tend to regard as a mere international sporting event.
     From August 30th to September 9th we made a study trip to Greece and France. In Greece we visited various sites associated with the Olympics. We also attended a lecture by professor Karali-Giannakopoulou at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens. We had a chance to run a race at Olympia in the Peloponnesus. Olympia is the place where the ancient Olympics were conducted, and where even today the ceremonial kindling of the Olympic flame every time the Olympic Games is held. We even had a chance to visit the town of Marathon, the birthplace of the marathon legend. Then we visited the grounds of the first modern Olympic Games in Athens and ran a race here as well. We also enjoyed a fruitful discussion with students from the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens and students from other Greek universities.
     The recently completed Global Praxis Course “The Olympics in an Academic Perspective,” was comprised of pre-departure lectures at the Komaba Campus, followed by field work in both France and Greece. During the pre-departure lectures, we learned about the ancient Olympics, the philosophy behind the games, Greek art featuring the Olympics, physical motions of various Olympic sporting events as well as the “restoration” of the Olympics and its development in modern times.
     From these lectures, we gained the knowledge necessary to think critically about an event which had previously seemed just a vague television broadcast. Through this course, we acquired knowledge of the intellectual background of Olympic Games, which otherwise we tend to regard as a mere international sporting event. From August 30th to September 9th we made a study trip to Greece and France. In Greece we visited various sites associated with the Olympics. We also attended a lecture by professor Karali-Giannakopoulou at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens. We had a chance to run a race at Olympia in the Peloponnesus. Olympia is the place where the ancient Olympics were conducted, and where even today the ceremonial kindling of the Olympic flame every time the Olympic Games is held. We even had a chance to visit the town of Marathon, the birthplace of the marathon legend. Then we visited the grounds of the first modern Olympic Games in Athens and ran a race here as well. We also enjoyed a fruitful discussion with students from the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens and students from other Greek universities.      Thanks to Masuo Nishihayashi, the ambassador to the Japanese Embassy in Athens, we were invited to a dinner party and discussion with members associated with the Greek Olympic Games. We were very lucky to be granted such a great opportunity, as we were able to meet Mr. Capralos, the president of the Greek Olympic committee, as well as Mr. Marsellos, who was a flag-bearer during the opening ceremony of Tokyo Olympics in 1964, and who ran the first stretch of the Olympic torch relay from Olympia that year.
     In France we visited the Louvre Museum and had a chance to see Greek sculptures. We had seen pictures during our lectures, but the power radiating from the actual sculptures was incredible and took our breath away. As hosting the Olympics is a way for the host country to share their culture with the world, and because Tokyo will be the host of the 2020 Olympics, we held a discussion with students from INALCO (the National Institute for Oriental Languages and Civilizations). We used Junichiro Tanizaki’s “In Praise of Shadows” and Japanese popular culture to discuss the simultaneous existence of ancient Japanese culture with new cultural trends. We were pleasantly surprised by how deeply the French students understood and appreciated Japanese culture.
     We learned a lot from this course. Through the courses we took at the Komaba campus, as well as our experiences in Greece and France, we came to understand the Olympics from an academic, liberal arts perspective. Also, while this doesn’t have much to do with the Olympics, this course taught us what is needed for an individual to be a global citizen. When we managed to speak even a small amount of Greek in Greece and French in France, the local people treated us with incredible kindness. When we used only English in conversation with local people we were treated as mere foreigners. But when we attempted even just to say hello in the local language, people opened up their hearts to us. This experience made us realize that globalization does not and should not mean the domination of the English language. We should never forget to respect the native languages of different countries and in turn the culture that lies behind it. We also learned that the most important thing about communicating with foreign people is to have your own opinion about various matters. This realization taught us the importance of using our time as university students to gain a good foundation of knowledge and become educated individuals. Since students from all different majors and courses were able to participate in this course, we all had a chance to share opinions with people with different points of view, and in doing so challenged ourselves and others intellectually.  
     Finally, we would like to say a big thank you to all of the professors who were involved in making this course possible, and in particular to Professor Sawayanagi, who both organized our classes and served as leader and guide during our time abroad, as well as to the many people we met in Greece and France.
   Thank you. Ευχαριστώ πάρα πολύ. Merci beaucoup.
Taiga Ida (SI), Yuta Kitaoka (LI), Hiroyuki Saegusa (LIII), Nanoko Sasaki (LIII),Takuya Sato (SI), Yuna Tanaka (LII), Shohei Naito (SI), Takashi Noda (LI),Lisse Hasegawa (LII), Takahiro Miura (SI), Masafumi Mori (SIII),Ryutaro Yasui (LIII), Atsushi Yokoi (LII), Haruka Watanabe (LIII)

古代オリンピア徒競走E

INALCO討論会E

アテネ懇親会E