Tokyo Olympics Opening Ceremonies

The Olympic flame was lit, the Games of the XXXII Olympiad is officially open!  Here’s a link to the opening ceremonies along with my thoughts.

Eumir Marcial of boxing and Kiyomi Watanabe of judo are the flagbearers of the Philippines.
Screenshot from One Sports livestream

Amazing!  This was my first reaction as the opening ceremonies used projectors a lot.  There were noticeably but understandably fewer performers than previous ones, but I think it didn’t matter as the performance was really interesting and didn’t drag too long to be boring.  I like how they incorporated live performances with recorded ones to keep you interested and continue watching.  In fact, the only dull moment in my opinion was that speech…

Watch the Tokyo 2020 Olympics Opening Ceremonies here.

Warning: Spoilers Ahead

I think Japan subtly told the world how detail-oriented they are when children moved seemingly random blocks to form the Tokyo 2020 logo—have you seen how complicated it is with all the pieces, sizes, and orientation?  Yet these kids were able to build it with only their eye-level view.

Even if you gave me all the pieces and a photo, it will take me a long time to recreate this logo!
Screenshot from One Sports livestream

Another jaw-dropping moment was when they brought out the drones.  It’s quite unbelievable what we can do with them these days—truly a more environment-friendly alternative to fireworks.  Initially they formed the logo and then transformed into a model of the globe with Philippines represented by a few dots.  I’m just looking at it from a flat screen and yet I was mesmerized—what more if I was there at the stadium seeing it in 3D?

Can you see the Philippines?
Screenshot from One Sports livestream

But not everything is all serious.  I find the part where actors imitate 50 pictograms used in the Games hilarious!  It’s something unmistakably Japanese!

I definitely know I’m not creative enough to do these. 😀
Screenshot from One Sports livestream

I felt a little emotional when they showed the passing of the Olympic flame.  I’ve always wondered how they transport it from Greece, and now I got the answer.  Seeing different folks from all walks of life run across Japan made me imagine how I’d feel if I had been given the honor of doing the same.  I had figured I might not be fit enough or young enough, but when they saw seniors gladly running with the flame, some of them emotional, I realized that it might not be impossible at all.  I guess that’s why representation is important.  Not all of us are born “normal” and all of us will get old one day but it won’t necessarily mean being less able.

Like in all opening ceremonies, the lighting of the Olympic flame and what the cauldron looks like are among the highlights of the event.  I still remember fondly like it was yesterday the first opening ceremonies I’ve seen on TV, the Barcelona 1992 Olympics, where an archer lit up the flame from afar using an arrow!  The subsequent lighting ceremonies aren’t as flamboyant but each still have their own unique character.  This time, it’s former No.1 tennis player Ōsaka Naomi that had the honor of lighting the flame.  At first, I thought the cauldron would be inside the structure but it turned out that it would be the orb atop of it!  That orb was just really interesting to look at and Naomi climbing up those stairs to go to the top of “Mt. Fuji” was really something.  And I’m glad that she agreed to be the “face” of the Tokyo Olympics despite her personal struggles and as we all know how “conservative” Japanese are when it comes to their “identity.”

Ōsaka Naomi lighting up the flame at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
Screenshot from One Sports livestream

Overall, I think Japan did an excellent job with the opening ceremonies.  While some people think it’s inappropriate to hold such “festive” events in the midst of a worsening pandemic, personally I think with proper precaution we should as it shows how resilient humanity is despite all the challenges.  I think continuing with the Olympics can give us hope that our lives can continue despite COVID-19 still lurking around.  It would also give us something else to watch out for—a break from the usual news that we keep hearing daily for more than a year.

Excellent photo of the Japan National Stadium with the full moon peeking through.
Screenshot from One Sports livestream

Thank you for continuing with the Games, Japan!  I wish that the events be safe and successful.  To all the athletes, good luck!  And to our Filipino athletes, may your best be good enough to get us that first ever Olympic gold!

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