Fukiyama Dream Extreme!
Starting from 29th of November 2010 up to 9th of December 2010 30 people from five different European countries (Estonia, France, Spain, Macedonia and Serbia) participated in a youth exchange called Fukiyama which concentrated on the concept of extreme sports and street culture. During these eleven days we had an opportunity to interact culturally, intellectually and personally. We got in touch with other countries’ way of life and customs, broke national stereotypes and made a lot of friends. Most importantly, we defined the modern concept of extreme sports and street culture. Here are our results.
We all agreed that the concept of street culture includes all activities where youngsters try to express themselves through unconventional, and sometimes frowned upon means of expression. These include, among other things, break and street dance, graffity and street art, alternative music genres, certain way of dressing, particular way of speaking and an unorthodox way of life. During these eleven days we were given a chance to experience some of these things and were instructed in certain aspects and fractions of street culture. Out of this we got a clearer picture what it is all about.
We agreed that the term extreme sports refers to all unconventional sports that include putting oneself into dangerous situations in order to experience a thrilling sensation caused by jolt of adrenaline.
However, it was not easy to come to an agreement about the reputation of street culture and extreme sports. Some of us thought that this culture, being a subculture, should stay exactly where it sprang from – the underground. During our round table discussion the vice mayor of Viimsi even tried to persuade us that the reputation of people practicing this kind of culture and sports is not negative at all. The truth, put indelicately simple, is that the reputation is not good. Society mostly sees this way of life as something which is shady. These people are regularly taken for vandals, miscreants, drug-abusers and potentially dangerous people to society and the ‘normal’ way of life. The fact that a graffiti artist was threatened with the police while preparing the materials for the workshop, only proves this point. The main problem lies in the fact that the public is reluctant to recognize the artistic dimension in these desperate efforts to express thoughts and feelings in an unconventional way, which is the only way that makes sense to these youngsters.
Except the reputation which could surely use improvement, the accent has to be on the facilities where youngster could practice these sports. Youngsters could use more places such as skate parks, sky parks, bungee and skydiving clubs in order to be able to train and practice these sports in a safe environment before venturing out in the real life where they can hurt themselves or others, or present an inconvenience to society. Furthermore, there should be designated places for people to do graffity because if the youth would have places to express themselves through street art they wouldn’t have to ruin city walls and buildings. Also, youth centers and places where young people could hang around, socialize and spend quality time with one another should be opened and available to youngsters of all ages and with different interests.
All in all, this youth exchange has been very useful and enlightening to us. It taught us that street culture is just like any other kind of culture (such as high society, hippie, punk, yuppie, rasta, pop culture etc.), and that extreme sports can be popularized and enjoyed by the majority of the society. We also agree that the topic really deserves attention and dedication because there is a lot to improve.
Team Serbia from MRR Serbia