Adding another great event to the ever-growing list of fantastic community events happening in Japan: Community Softball!
Although we have a standard bulletin board in our community, we also have a small clipboard version which circulates. A few weeks ago the clipboard arrived at our door with an announcement for community softball, and a sign-up sheet. I had been approached a few weeks earlier by a neighbour who invited me to play, so I signed up right away.
I had only played softball a few times way way way back when I was about 6 or 8 years old, in a summer drop-in league in my neighbourhood in Nananimo, BC, Canada. So although I have never been a big fan of baseball, the longer I live in Japan, the more I get caught up in the excitement that Japanese people show for this turly great sport. Having recently watched the Yomiuri Giants beat the Nippon Ham Fighters in the Japan series, and Hideki Matsui winning MVP of the World Series, Japan was bubbling with baseball energy. Basically, I was excited.
We had a 2 hour practice on Tuesday night, going through some warm-up and then playing a nice friendly game of pick-up. Growing up in Canada, I joined a lot of pick-up games of ice hockey and road hockey, and this reminded me of just that. Without any apparent signal, everyone suddenly ran out onto the field, took up positions and started playing. No umpire, no whistles, no arguing, just straight into playing, as if everyone knew what to do. Except me. Fortunately, some nice neighbors guided me to first base. First base? What did i know about playing first?
Anyway- a week later, on Sunday, we met at 8:50 am for the opening ceremonies, and the 35th annual Fujimidai Community Softball Tournament was underway. Our area, Fujimidai, is separated into 16 neighborhoods. I live in #2 (二区), and our first game was against #4 (四区). Apparently, our team is quite strong, and after my first 3 infield pop-fly outs (and some helpful tips from my teammates), I started to get my swing and actually get on base! By the end of the day, we had won all 3 of our games, won the “B” pool championship and I had had a great time. Next year, we will move up to the “A” pool, and I’m definitely looking forward to that! By the way- despite getting “out” on my first 3 at bat attempts, I ended the day with 4 home runs and at least 5 or 6 RBI`s!
Until the next community event, I wait impatiently.
Edward, SSE Ohtsu Owner/ Teacher
To read about other fun community events in Japan, check out the links below!