On December 19, 2009, an event called "Taeko Utsugi's Catch-Ball Caravan in Okayama"was held at Kuraray's Okayama Plant (Address: 1-2-1 Kaigan Dori, Minami-ku, Okayama City, Okayama Prefecture; General Manager: Takayoshi Ohsaki). The event marked Okayama City's classification as a government-designated city (one with a population of more than 500,000) in 2009 and celebrated the 120th anniversary of the city's founding as the prefectural capital.

The day was blessed with fine weather. On the field, approximately 200 participants-consisting of elementary and middle school students and their parents, all of whom were Okayama Prefecture residents-received training in catch and other softball techniques from Ms. Taeko Utsugi. All renowned Japanese softball players, Mses. Reika Utsugi, Yukiyo Mine and Kazue Ito joined Ms. Taeko Utsugi to offer valuable lessons to the participants.

To wrap up the training program, Ms. Taeko Utsugi provided selected participants with the opportunity to experience her specialty, rapid-fire fungoes. All participants expressed their amazement after witnessing first-hand her astonishing fungo technique.

After the softball training program, everybody adjourned to the adjoining gymnasium, where a panel discussion was held on the theme of "Importance of Mind and Communication."

Scenes from the softball training program

A former coach of the Japanese national softball team, Ms. Taeko Utsugi made significant contributions to the national team winning the silver medal at the Sydney Olympics in 2000 and the bronze medal at the Athens Olympics in 2004. She launched her Family Catch-Ball Caravan event with the dual aim of making parents and children more aware of the importance of caring for others and promoting family communication. The Okayama event marked the fourth in the series of the Family Catch-Ball Caravan, which had been held in Tokyo, Yokohama and Gifu.

Event Overview

Date Saturday, December 19, 2009
Part 1 (12:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m.)
    Family catch lesson
Part 2 (2:30 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.)
    Panel discussion "Importance of Mind and Communication"
Place 1-2-1 Kaigan Dori, Minami-ku, Okayama City, Okayama Prefecture
Field and gymnasium at Kuraray's Okayama Plant
Host Okayama City; Taeko Utsugi Family Catch-Ball Caravan Executive Committee
Promoter Okayama Prefecture Softball Association
Special Supporter Morinaga & Co., Ltd.
Supporters Hitachi Capital Corporation; Nagase Kenko Co., Ltd.;
Partners Kuraray Co., Ltd.; Coca-Cola West Co., Ltd.; Mizuno Corporation; Mori Building Co., Ltd.
Sponsors Japan Softball Association; The Asahi Shimbun Company; The Sanyo Shimbun; Sanyo Broadcasting Co., Ltd.