Wednesday was our big event at Dokkyo University. We were picked up at our hotel by Kats Koresawa, Kaori Sagamoto, and Shintaro Kanke at 11AM. After a few subway changes, we arrived at the university. Our host, Shintaro, had gone out of his way to accommodate our vegetarianism, so we ate at a great Indian restaurant for lunch. We were joined by our partners for the debate, Chika and Rina, as well as several other members of the Dokkyo ESS.
After lunch, Chika, Rina, Leah and I were whisked away to a private room with a 'staff only' sign on the door. Chika and Rina had contacted us about a month before we came on the tour to start talking about arguments, so we felt like we were old friends. It had been decided then that Chika and I would debate together on the affirmative (Chika 1A, me 2A), and Rina and Leah would debate together on the negative (Rina 1N, Leah 2N). It was clear to us that our partners were quite stressed about the ceremony, and quite rightly so, as they both had to give memorized addresses in addition to participating in the debate. About eighty people showed up for the event, including Rina's parents, who had never seen her debate before.
As Kevin gave his speech in the auditorium, Leah and I tried to calm down our partner's nerves by playing a game. Inspired by memories of teenage bliss, I thought it would be a good idea to predict Chika's future by playing an age-old favorite game, MASH. Unfortunately, I didn't exactly explain the rules of the game correctly, and Chika ended up destined to marry her brother (oops!), but beyond that it was great fun. Later on, Chika and Rina tried to explain some teen Japanese games to us (o sei de sei?) as well.
Once the time for the debate had arrived, we were ushered into the room as the theme music from Rocky played! It was awesome. We had an excellent debate that combined use of both US and Japanese evidence-- a great case debate and an unemployment disadvantage. For the affirmative, we compromised by taking out the nuclear war impact for the economy advantage, but leaving in the soft power impact for the human rights leadership advantage. I think all of us learned something from the debate, especially since we worked so well with our partners. After the debate, we exchanged gifts and Kevin gave an oral critique of the round. We also met a professor at Dokkyo who had studied rhetoric at the University of Iowa (worked with Gronbeck and Lyne) and an instructor who had gone to the University of Alabama for his degree in communication. It is a small world.
We were taken to a restaurant that specialized in tofu dishes. As we entered the restaurant, each of us was given a sunflower. Once again, our hosts had managed to make us feel very special (this, on top of being referred as the 'all-star US debaters' all day). Kevin, Leah, and I had the opportunity to try a number of new dishes at dinner, including Japanese yuba. As always, drinks were consumed, photos were taken, and a good time was had by all. Luckily, we will have the opportunity to see many of our friends at Dokkyo again this Saturday, when we attend the Japan Debate Association seminar.