The first blog from Japan, and I don’t even know where to start, so let’s just go by order and see how that goes.
Thursday afternoon, after drinking coffee and eating Dutch apple pie with my parents it was time to say goodbye for the next 4,5 months. An 11 hour flight from Amsterdam to Osaka… I have to say, I didn’t find it easy. I tried to sleep, but I couldn’t really fall asleep. Some movies, meals and music helped me through the 11 hours, maybe a good thing to not sleep, considering getting rid of the jetlag at night.
At Osaka airport my visa was checked and I received a Japanese ID card, very cool! The team director of Minamo came to pick me up. Good thing, since I had two suitcases, hand luggage and a backpack… to bring on the train…! And my Japanese public transport skills would possibly not have brought me to Ogaki either.
A train ride from nice sunny weather in Osaka to a lot of snow in Ogaki. After arrival in Ogaki we took a taxi to the directors’ house to pick up his car and my wifi connection. I have a so called ‘pocket wifi’ which I can charge and then carry with me to connect my phone, very handy.
Off to lunch, miso soup, sushi and rice, you could have guessed that haha. Then off to the municipal office to get my ID card valid for my stay. After arrival at the airport you need to register at your address within 14 days. I also got information on how to separate waste and which stickers to use on which bag, I guess that is part of how they keep everything so clean.
After becoming an official resident of Ogaki it was time to meet with the president of the club at his company. We had some Japanese green tea along with going over the season schedule. Let’s goo!
Then it was time to go say hi to the team. They were lifting in the weight room, so just a short Hello and then off to the hotel.
I arrived at the hotel, took a shower, tried to stay awake a bit longer but then just fell asleep for 11,5 hours of sleep. Pretty good night I would say. The alarm went off at 7, checkout at 8 and then practice from 8.15-11.30.
Indoor practice because of the snow….well indoor, it was super cold! But turns out in Japan it is always softball time.
The practice was really nice, warm up, running drills, throwing drills, fielding, situations and then hitting 6 stations and cool down.
After practice we went to visit a handball game of the team of Ogaki that plays in the Handball Pro League. Unfortunately they lost. But it could not have been because of the silence in the gym. We all got empty water bottles with small beads in it to shake and make noise, welcome to Japan sports haha. Oh and I got to meet the Governor of the Gifu Prefecture, the province.
Then it was time to go to my apartment and then shopping to get the necessary stuff to be able to sleep/stay for 2 nights. The apartment is upstairs, pretty close to the field and totally new! I am already in love with it, even though I need to make it more a home after we return from the training camp. Then I will also give you a tour through the apartment!
After all the shopping we went to eat at a grill kind of restaurant, the one from the picture I posted. Good food and a nice time with the team director, team manager and also team captain. Then some breakfast shopping and off to the apartment. With some warm additions to the room and some instructions about the Japanese signs this time I couldn’t really sleep…
After a couple of hours of sleep it was time for practice in -3….degrees?! A nice practice again with running, fitness, and movement drills. And then time to rest! After a nap and packing I had dinner at my teammate’s place downstairs, very oishii (oishii = lekker) and practicing the stick eating skills.
And now, time to sleep!
Tomorrow departure at 5.20 am to get on the plane to the south of Japan!
Not sure about the next update, since we practice 9.00-16.00 and I am probably not able to open my laptop after that haha.
Then for now the 5th pitching step, the arms get to come in! The arms are not as much important actually until the last part of the pitch, but are very useful and mandatory for good mechanics also in the first part of the pitch.
See you soon!!