The HASH is short for Hash House Harriers, an international, non-competitive, fun-running club, where the emphasis is on enjoyment, not competitive running. Two Hashers (hares) are given a head start and mark a trail to guide other Hashers (the pack) to follow. These markings are called Hash and consist of either a mixture of flour and sawdust or chalked arrows. In addition, there are checkpoints and false trails along the route to deceive and delay the pack. The idea of the game is for the pack to catch the hares before the hares reach the finish where everyone gathers for the Down-Downs.
The HASH is the INTERNATIONAL. The Hash was founded in Malaysia in the 1930's by a couple of Brits. Today, over 100,000 Hashers participate in over 2,000 Hash clubs in nearly every country throughout the world. Most national capitals, except Pyongyang, have one or more Hash clubs. Malaysia, Indonesia, the U.S., Australia, and the U.K have the most clubs. In Japan there are more than 20 Hash clubs. Tokyo has at least 5 itself.
The SAMURAI HASH HOUSE HARRIERS (SH3), based in Kanagawa, is probably the largest, and according to our highly scientific poll, the best. The popularity of the SH3 comes from its variety of participants. Some come to run for exercise, some to walk and enjoy the scenery, and some to just socialize. Whether your purpose is exercise or socializing, or drinking beer, the SH3 is a great opportunity to experience the real Japan, see lots of historic/scenic/interesting places, and meet all sorts of people of various backgrounds and nationalities. In a nutshell, probably the best way to describe the Hash is: an international walking-jogging-running-drinking, people-to-people, socializing, partying, non-competitive, fun, relaxing club. If this sounds good to you, then you just might have what it takes to be a Hasher, too!
HASHTORY The Samurai Hash House Harriers (HHH) traces its origins back to the Taipei HHH via the Okinawa HHH. In May 1984, Flounder, Milt "Uncle Milty" Halloran, brought the Okinawa Hashing concept to mainland Japan. Here, he and a handful of equally dedicated, thoroughly demented, running-beer-drinkers, ran their first Hash run at Camp Zama, a US Army Base in Kanagawa Prefecture, about 30 KM southwest of Tokyo.
Since that first run, the Samurai Hash has run over 750 trails. Year round, the Samurai Hash averages 45 to 65 Hashers per run, making it the largest, and according to our highly scientific poll, the best Hash in Japan. Membership in the Samurai Hash consists of both Japanese and Gaijin, old and young, male and female, normal and abnormal... Runs are scheduled at 2:00 PM every Saturday (and sometimes on holidays), with Family Hash runs at the same time on the third Sunday of each month. Occasionally military-style "Hash Alerts" are initiated, in which case, the Samurai Hashers scramble to telephone and e-mail each other in a frantic effort to find and reach the run site on time. In addition, at least three times a year, the Samurai Hashers pack up and head out to Japanese vacation sites, such as Jogashima, Itsukaichi, Doshinomori, to spend "overnighters" complete with trails, Down-Downs, On-On picnics, camp fires, "onsens," and the natural beauty of Japan.
MODUS OPERANDI Samurai Hash runs take full advantage of the Tokyo train network by starting and ending nearly every Hash run near a train station. The Samurai Hash is among the few Hashes worldwide that add an element of suspense each week by using "live" hares. These hares are given a 15-minute head start in front of the pack, whose main objective is to catch up to and "snare" the hares. The hares drop hash or mark chalk-arrows guiding the pack through the trail, but also, in an effort to slow-down and confuse the pack, utilize a bag of tricks that includes checkpoints, back-trails, and check-backs. If caught, which is rare, the hares are subjected to heckling, abuse, and of course a Down-Down!
Samurai trails zip indiscriminately through neighborhoods, over walls, under fences, across rivers, and through shrines and temples, gardens, schools, and train stations. A bevy of hardworking Japanese Hashambashadors constantly have to parley to keep the local police, residents, and shopkeepers at bay
DOWN-DOWNS & ON-ONS Each week's trail is topped off with "Down-Downs," which inevitably include: a "welcome" to new Hashers; "fork-offs" to those departing; Hash Names for 6-timers; head bands for 10-, 25-, 50-, 69-, 75-timers (etc.); coins for 15-timers; "blow jobs" for 25-timers; "hair patches" for 1st- and 6-time hares; as well as other sundry moments of recognition, all accompanied by tall, foamy mugs of nature's finest.
Following the Down-Downs, the pack ambles its way to a pre-selected On-On site; a local restaurant, picnic place, or even a kindly Hasher's home. Here the day's festivities spill over to dinner and beverages, songs and tall tales, and all those other things that Hashers do...
So, is it the fun of running 6 - 10 KM in a tropical storm; in sweltering, sub-tropical heat; or in snow 30 CM deep? Or is it the camaraderie; the challenge; the thrill? Or is it perhaps the fact that Samurai Hashers go out of their way to make everyone feel welcome? Regardless, the Samurai Hash offers you a chance to exercise, socialize, drink, and experience parts of Japan you may never see. As always, the Samurai Hash offers a standing invitation to anyone visiting Japan to run, drink, and party with them. If this sounds good to you, then you just may have what it takes to be a Hasher