Sapporo High School Debate

This is a fantastic city. Perfect size, very livable, and the temperature is just cool enough that you might want a sweatshirt in the evening. But if that doesn't convince you that Sapporo is an amazing town, check out the picture. Isn't that the most beautiful tuna you have ever seen? The seafood here is what they said it was in Tokyo - outstanding. We just had an amazing late lunch where I think we did a pretty good job trying to close down the sushi bar.

But we don't just sit around and eat sushi. We debate and work as well. Today's debate was again the national high school topic on worker dispatching, and in the 4 person Japanese high school format. It takes some getting used to, but the whole debate is about comparing impacts versus advantages. In fact, the ballot indicates that this is the only way to make a decision in the debate. You have to fill out a formula of sorts that explains how you weighed the advantages and disadvantages in equation form. More on this in a seprate post to come after I reflect on the format a bit more. Suffice it to say for now that the format is a mix between standard debate in the U.S. and a dash of World School's format. I think it works for Japanese high school students who might not have the will to jump into something like parliamentary or CX debating where there doesn't appear to be a bottom to the form. Here the boundaries are set and wherever you go in the pool you feel like you can touch the bottom. Very good for beginners.

Here are today's teams - the teacher Mr. Kimura (who is a very enthusiastic and dedicated high school coach) split up the Americans so they would face each other in today's debate.

They were told by the photographer to make a stern debating pose. I think you can see their interpretations of what that might mean from these pictures.

The debate was observed by many people who were teachers and students. I think over 180 students came to the debate, and from my count there were perhaps about 10 or 15 teachers. The debate caused such a stir that many teachers from other schools in Hokkaido came to observe the match and to see if debate is something they would like to have at their school. There was a lot of interest in the room and some fascination with debate - and it seems to me this region of Japan is a sleeping giant in the JDA world. Once debate becomes more regular in Hokkaido, the rest of the Japanese high school scene should watch out. These students are sharp and eager to learn all the subtlety of good argumentation. And they have a very sharp, witty and well respected coach in Mr. Kimura.

Thanks to everyone who helped us out here in Sapporo. It seems we just arrived, but tomorrow morning it is back to the airport to fly to Tokyo for the last time on the tour.