With all this new snow falling and the coldness setting in, it reminds me of my home… Canada. Well, not really MY Canada, as my hometown is currently sunny and 10 degrees, and also rarely sees snow, but rather the Canada of ice hockey and skiing and winter fun. Recently I have found a wonderful world of winter wonder here in beautiful Japan.
My house is located in Ishiyama in Otsu City, Shiga Prefecture. My English school is located at JR Otsu Station, 2 stops west of Ishiyama, 2 stops east of Kyoto. However, the true beauty of Ishiyama is that the next station east, JR Seta Station, is home of the Shiga Prefecture Ice Arena, home to numerous hockey teams! On a recent trip from Otsu back to my hometown of Nanaimo BC, I picked up my skates, gloves and a few sticks and hockey pucks. During january, I managed to get out twice for public skating and twice to play with the Hikone Lakestars, a local drop-in scrub hockey team.
When I first walked in to the arena to meet the Hikone Lakestars and see if I could play with them, I was a bit nervous. My Japanese language skills are basic and sometimes I get stuck, and I wanted to make a good first impression. Fortunately, the members were all very keen to talk with me and play with me. That first day, I played in jeans and a Team Canada sweatshirt and borrowed a little yellow helmet from the arena (you know the silly little kids helmets for public skating). Anyway- the next day one of the team members loaned me a whole set of gear to use until mine arrives from Canada! Tonight is game night so again I’m nervous… ICE HOCKEY IN JAPAN!
From Ishiyama in Beautiful [Snowy] Shiga Prefecture,
Edward, Smith’s School of English Ohtsu