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TUFS Regatta and Gaigosai Festival

1.TUFS Regatta

In the middle of May each year, TUFS holds boat races at the Toda Olympic Boat Course in Toda City, Saitama Prefecture. Four-man boats with a coxswain, called “knuckle four” in Japan, are used in this race. Initiated in 1902, when the University was called Tokyo Gaikokugo Gakko (Tokyo School of Foreign Languages), this regatta is a traditional event with a long history. Although the races were temporarily suspended during the war, this year marks the 94th time it will be held. Since this is a university-wide event to welcome the freshmen, no classes are held on the day of the race. Each year, some 1,400 to 1,500 students, mainly freshmen, gather in Toda to watch the event.

The events consist mainly of “achievement races” by first-year male or female students. Other events include races by men, women, or men and women, chosen from volunteer students (second-year or higher). In the achievement races, freshmen compete in teams formed according to their major languages.

On the day of the race, a costume competition by elaborately dressed participants and a T-shirt contest are also held. Students wearing distinctive T-shirts designed according to their major languages loudly cheer for their teams. Students in each major language serve as classes, making these plans possible―one of the features that distinguish TUFS from other universities.

2.Gaigosai Festival

The Gaigosai Festival is the University’s largest annual event, held in the second half of November each year. This is a campus festival with a long history, with this year marking the 86th time it will be held. The actual festival takes place for five days, but it lasts one week if preparation and cleanup are included. The characteristics of TUFS are well brought out in Gaigosai. True to the nature of the university, where students study languages, cultures, and societies in various countries of the world, the festival is really international. During the event, one can see students wearing folk costumes of various countries here and there on the campus. Students participating as part of their extracurricular activities in ethnic dance clubs, including the flamenco and other Spanish dances, tax their ingenuity in making presentations―a feature found only in TUFS. The University’s campus festival is also famous for it's “language play festival.” After many days of rehearsal, students, mainly sophomores or higher, perform plays using the language in which they major. The 26 such majors mean 26 plays.

During the Gaigosai Festival, students set up booths in the central plaza of the campus and serve unique dishes from their area of language and cultural study. Attracted by savory smells from the booths, many local residents also visit the plaza, and many others, including embassy staff members and foreign residents in Japan, also drop by. The festival is thus open to outside guests to come and enjoy foods they can rarely enjoy elsewhere.