Basketball in Japan?
Sports. I love ’em. I love to watch sports, I love to play sports.
My hometown, Nanaimo BC Canada is a standard Canadian city- small, homely, and full of sports. Or so I thought. Nanaimo has Junior Hockey, College Baseball, and a slew of minor leagues and high school sports. Now that I live in Japan, I realize how few professional sports were actually available to watch in my small hometown. Sure, Nanaimo is only about 2 hours from Vancouver, home to professional hockey (the Vancouver Canucks), professional football (Canadian football, not European football!, the local team is th BC Lions from the CFL), professional baseball (the Vancouver Canadians) and many other sports. But Japan really has selection, and recently I have had the desire to watch new sports: basketball (The Shiga Lakestars- click HERE for the official website- sorry no English!), volleyball (The Toray Arrows – again no English, Japanese only!) and of course Japan’s traditional sport- SUMO (this article is in English).
I live in Ishiyama, home of the Toray Arrows volleyball team. Ishiyama Station is located in the heart of Otsu City, Shiga prefecture. Shiga is the home of the Shiga Lakestars professional basketball team. Watching basketball has really become a new ‘hobby’ of mine, and let me tell you why: community.
Living in a foreign country can be quite lonely, and it’s a pure joy to be out and about and bump into people you know. So for me it was wonderful to sit down in my seat and see players I knew on the court, new friends sitting beside me and then … a student appearing, shouting my name and then coming up and talking to me, in English, for a full 15 minutes! What a double joy- seeing people I know, and hearing my students speaking English. A few minutes later, another student came in and sat beside me. We chatted together the entire game, again entirely in English.
Unfortunately the Shiga Lakestars lost that game, but so far this season they are above 500, so everyone in Otsu and at Smith’s School of English Otsu are quite happy!
Until next game,
Edward, Smith’s School of English Otsu