Last friday I participated in a volleyball tournament. Yes, a volleyball tournament. Most of my friends know of my lack of athletic ability, other than some skill in basketball, and are probably shaking their heads in confusion. Let me explain.
Teachers in Japan work very very very hard. They never have days off, they work until 8pm at the earliest every night and go to work on saturdays and sundays as well. Teachers also play together. There are a lot of work parties and social trips. This Volleyball tournament was a social trip for the high school female teachers. Every high school supplied a team and they played together as a way to relax and enjoy each others company after a long day of work at the office.
When the school nurse came to me and asked if I wanted to play on our school’s volleyball team I responded no automatically. They, however, have learned if you push me enough I usually give in. So after a lot of pushing and prodding I begrudgingly agreed to attend after school practices and the tournament. One of their main reasons for wanting me to play was because they said I was tall. In case you don’t remember I am a slightly below average 5 foot 6 inches tall, or 167 cm. I constantly corrected them that I in fact was not tall but I would be willing to play.
Our team was full of young, energetic, competitive players. We were missing only one thing, skill. However, that didn’t stop us from doing our absolute best. We had trainings and practices after school and the volleyball club even came to a few of them to help us train. My arms would be covered in bruises for days after practices but I enjoyed getting to play with my teachers outside of the staff room and the work environment.
On the day of the tournament we all showed up and knew we were in big trouble when the other team came over and asked if we would like to practice spiking together. Thats because no one on our team could properly spike… To my amusement I did notice that I was in fact the tallest player on both teams. Japanese people are so tiny and I constantly forget about that. Needless to say we went on to loose all 3 of our games. But we gave our best effort and afterward went to dinner at a korean yaki niku restaurant where we shared food, beers, and laughs. I’m really glad they forced me into playing. I enjoyed trying my best and learning a thing or two about volleyball. These super casual outings with teachers from my school always end up being some of my favorite memories from my time here. Its always so fun to see a different side to my teachers and to get to know them better. I’m so lucky to be placed in a school that wants me to be a part of their community and actively tries to invite me to things. I’ve learned that saying yes and being open to new experiences might not always be enjoyable but its almost never wrong. I like being involved and am happy to be a part of the small community in Kanazu High School.
Cheers to you Kanazu teacher’s volleyball team! Ostukare sama deshita!