With Wednesday, Sept. 20, marking two years until the start of the Rugby World Cup 2019, Japanese cities hosting the tournament held various countdown events over the weekend.
In Tokyo, the Webb Ellis Cup, to be awarded to the winner of the competition to be held Sept. 20-Nov.2, 2019, was unveiled along with a performance of New Zealand's Maori Haka dance, often associated with rugby.
Children took part in a try-scoring workshop at another promotional event in Kobe, western Japan, while fans were given a chance to take photos of themselves scoring "virtual" tries in Yokohama, where the final match of the competition will be held.
The Haka, closely associated with New Zealand rugby, was performed at the Tokyo event.
The ancient Maori war dance involves violent foot-stamping, tongue protrusions and rhythmic body slapping. The country's national All Blacks team is known for performing the Haka before matches.
Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike holds the Webb Ellis Cup at the Tokyo event. The trophy will also appear at upcoming promotional events.
"Two years from now, I will watch (the game) live," said 8-year-old Shion Masuda, who took part in the Kobe workshop. He has been playing rugby for four years. "I want to be tougher myself by then," he said.
In Yokohama, many rugby fans took photos against a wall that looks like a rugby field, pretending they were scoring a try.
"I hope (rugby) will pick up steam (ahead of the tournament)," said Yuji Harada, 34, who visited the Yokohama event with his family.
The Rugby World Cup will be held in 12 venues across Japan.
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