The Musubi project was inspired by the unique link between Loughborough University and the Japanese Olympic Committee and features a programme of Japanese themed activities including sport, ancient and modern culture and language.
Musubi is Japanese for a ‘connection’ and was inspired by the University’s agreement with the Japanese Olympic Committee. The agreement will see the two organisations working together up to and beyond the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Leicester City and Japan footballer Yuki Abe sampled a taste of home, when he visited the award winning ‘Musubi’ project on 27th September. Yuki, who joined Leicester City in August, and played for Japan in the World Cup, participated in a penalty shoot out with pupils from Brookvale High School in Groby.
He also took part in a question and answer session in Japanese, to help the pupils practice their language skills.
During the Musubi day the pupils took part in a range of Japanese themed activities including Taiko drumming workshops and sumo wrestling. They also had the opportunity to learn more about Japanese language and culture.
Chris Earle, Director of Sport at Loughborough University, said:
“The Musubi days held at Loughborough are a tremendous addition to the work we are already doing with schools and young people. Musubi also illustrates how our agreement with the Japanese Olympic Committee is bringing real tangible benefits to local communities.
“I hope the students attending the Musubi day will continue to develop the skills that they will learn. I also hope they are inspired by our facilities and by meeting World Cup footballer Yuki Abe.”
Gaynor Nash, the regional 2012 children and young people's coordinator, who created the Musubi project said:
“I am delighted that Yuki Abe was so keen to find out about Musubi and to be part of one of our days. Japanese athletes will be regular visitors to Loughborough and Yuki will be welcome here to say ‘konnichi wa’ to his countrymen and women or to language students from around the region.”
Leicester City Commercial Director, Paul Hunt, added:
"The Club is always keen to develop new initiatives with organisations, engage with the local community and to assist with the development of its players. The link to the Musubi events with Yuki delivers the perfect opportunity to do all three. We look forward to developing this further over the coming months."
The project has received the London 2012 Inspire mark and a prestigious European Award for Languages 2010. The awards demonstrate the impact of Musubi in contributing to the growing relationship between Japan and the University, Loughborough and the wider East Midlands region.
Musubi has been granted the prestigious London 2012 Inspire Mark, the badge of the London 2012 Inspire programme which recognises exceptional and innovative projects inspired by the 2012 Games.