Friday, May 7, 2010
I get to the gym this morning and go to park my bike and there are a sea of bicycles parked outside. I found this interesting, but didn't think much of it. As I approached the building I started to hear what sounded like an auctioneer. Then I realized that I was in Japan (usually I am reminded of this when I hit my head because I forgot to duck) and that the quick speaking man was talking in Japanese as well. I have picked up a little bit of Japanese in these last nine months, but I will never, ever be at the level of being able to understand the auctioneer. I was thinking it would be a cruel joke to have a Japanese auctioneer into a Japanese 101 college course on the first day. Then tell the kids they have to write down everything he says and that is 90% of their grade. It's a good thing I'm not a professor.
Then we had a good solid practice and after practice the room adjacent to the gym had ping pong tables in it. There were some elderly women playing in there and one of them came up and said Combatay Combatay (which yes I think it meant I want to fight the first time too, but it's actually good luck) for the playoffs next weekend. I started to watch the ping pong happening. They were elderly ladies that back home I am used to playing bridge with or possibly asking them to ping pong on the Wii. These ladies were not messing around. They meant business, serious business.
One of them had on what appeared to be a leg sleeve to keep her legs warm for the upcoming match. They all had on workout type clothes. The one lady had on shorts that resembled the coaches shorts that my dad used to wear. Let's just say they were a little short and a little tight. He always said that he was setting trends instead of following them. The trend never came back though as the shorts disappeared in an unfortunate mom burned them incident. Anyway, these ladies meant business by the clothes they were wearing and how they stretched for a long time before playing. They were doing about as many stretches as we would at ND when we were taking our yoga class.
When they finally started playing, they were so good. I have a ping pong table in my basement and had thought about challenging them, but I would have gotten skunked guaranteed. They were playing 2 on 2 on the table that I was watching and I was impressed. There was one lady that made a mistake on the first 4 points. On each one she would look at her paddle as if to say I'm better than that; there must be something wrong with the paddle. Evidently blaming something other than yourself crosses all borders of age and culture. The thing that amazed me the most is before each serve the lady serving would get really low with the ball in one hand the paddle in the other. She would always have the ball underneath the table and I thought that was odd. Then as I kept watching I realized she was calling plays!! She would signal a play to her partner and then serve. It was amazing!! I can't wait for these features to come out on the Wii so I can have a chance at beating someone at ping pong.
So my day started off very well today and needless to say I was impressed with the auctioneer and the ping pong players. They most definitely started my day off right!! I am sure to have a great rest of the day now!
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
Yes, here in Shiga we are talking about the playoffs. We have finished our 52 game season with a record of 29 - 23 and we have made the playoffs. We have done well and this has been a crazy season to be apart of. I have had so many interesting experiences here in Japan and will share them with you as much as I can. I am sorry that this season my blogging has not been up to date much. I have been very busy with playing basketball, planning a wedding (Hope would say that I haven't done much), talking to Hope all the time (praise God for Skype), and working on starting Summit Athletics first camps this summer.
It has been very busy, but all of it has been a lot of fun. This year being this far away from home I have been excited, pushed, stretched, homesick, just plain sick, unconscious, hungry, full (sometimes), tired, bored, too busy, and lonely. This last one has made me realize in a long shot of an analogy how Adam felt in the Garden of Eden when he had all the things he wanted but he was still all alone. God has given me a lot of things that I have wanted - a great education from the #1 business school in the country (even if North Carolina's assistant told Tyler their business school was better on his official visit. Then, he decided to apologize for bringing that up. To which I casually replied - it's ok the numbers are wrong. This goes out to you Coach), my dream of playing professional basketball, and my dream of starting my own camp. All huge dreams of mine and goals that I set for myself a long time ago. Just like Adam in the Garden though with everything that he had he was still missing something. I know that Hope is what I am missing. While this year was good, it was never great because the experiences weren't with my best friend. I look forward to next year when we are blogging together (hopefully she writes more of them because my grammar is terrible when I don't check it many, many times) and experiencing so many things as a newly married couple. I hope that all of your will continue to join us on that journey.
Back to the playoffs. We are in the playoffs!!! Hooray!! We have a bye this weekend and so just like the Colts on the last weekend of everyone of their regular season we will rest...sort of. We have practices, weights, and workouts. We just don't have games this weekend. Instead we have a party with our sponsors on the Michigan Boat, which I can see from my apartment and it docks right next to our practice gym. It is our end of the year party as well as a celebration for making the playoffs. It will be a fun party. I love trying to see how far my Japanese has come each time. It usually takes me about 3 or 4 people before I call our translator over to talk to the man who I didn't realize runs the most prestigious business in town. They said last year that everyone was so busy talking to all the fans and sponsors that they couldn't eat. I plan to be quite the opposite. I hope to be too busy eating to be able to talk. We will see how that goes.
The playoffs are next weekend. We will play the team that finishes first in our conference as we finished fourth. There are 4 teams in each conference and therefore 3 rounds for the playoffs here. The first round of the playoffs is the craziest thing I have seen or heard of since my mom's Gus Macker team won the toilet bowl (it's still in our basement on top of the fridge...it ranks just about any "participation" trophy any of us boys got from sports....mostly soccer) in some year in the 1900's. We play 2 games against this team (one Saturday and one Sunday), which is normal because we have played 2 games every weekend since I have been here. The obvious question is what happens if you win one and lose one. The logical thing to do would be to play a third game. Any person that knows basic math could figure that out. Well logical wasn't what they were going for here evidently. They decided in all their wisdom to have a 20 minute "break" after the second game and then play again. That's kind of crazy. The craziest part though is that the two teams play a 10 minute "game" to decide who moves on to the final four of the playoffs.
To this I think Jim Mora would have a great reply - "Playoffs?!?!? We're talking about the playoffs here! We don't play 10 minute games to decide the playoffs?!?! What is this - hockey?"
Thursday, March 4, 2010
So it's been a long time since I blogged. Quick update on the team. We are currently 18-18 and 4th in our conference but it is getting to be a tight playoff race here for the last two months of our season.
We just got to Tokyo to the hotel here before shootaround. I can't help but read the notes on different hotels each time. I started to read this one and it's the standard what to do in case of emergency and restaurant options. Then there is a couple of pages of what to do in case of a disaster. I wish I could show you the pictures because they are hilarious, but I will give you some highlights of the tips.
Word for word on each example - the parentheses are my comments. At the very top:
This HOTEL buildings is structured into blocks and completely structures to prevent the spread of fire. (didn't they try that with a ship and water…I'm a little fuzzy but wasn't it called the Titanic. O yeah that worked out really well.) They are also earthquake-proof and capable of sustaining the shock of a very major earthquake. (so I am in the indestructible, unburnable hotel, yet my room reeks of smoke.)
In any emergency, we would first like to request all our guests to remain calm. For example (O joy! an example on how to remain calm - stop drop and roll maybe?), our Disaster prevention station is on duty 24 hours a day, staffed by professional guards and our own fire fighting personnel. In case of a fire, all information will be channeled to the station immediately and the staff will begin extinguishing the fire and guiding our guests to safety(at the same time? that must be why they are professional)
Upon your arrival at your room:
-confirm the location of the flashlight in your room
-let the front desk know if you are physically handicapped
-take a look at the chart on the inner side of the door showing the emergency routes from your room. Make sure you know these routes and locations of the least two emergency exits.(honestly I think reading Peyton Manning's chart on his forearm would be easier than trying to decipher this chart)
-In particular, please refrain from smoking in bed. As this is one of the main causes of fire (as if the giant No Smoking sign on my bed when I walk in isn't enough)
If you should notice a fire breaking out (or are the cause of it):
- call the front desk (dial 7)
-alert the occupants of other rooms nearby (try to blame one of them for you starting the fire)
- Don't forget to close the door when you leave the room to prevent the fire from spreading. (or else they will close it and lock it for you like on the Titanic of course)
- Inform us if you note other guests in their rooms (because every fire is a raging like a forest fire and there is no chance of anyone being safe in their rooms)
If you are trapped by the fire or smoke:
- do not use the elevators
- cover your mouth and nose with a wet towel so as not to inhale smoke and flame (I am currently doing this as there is that much smoke in the room already)
- Walk in a crouch or crawl along the wall and proceed towards an emergency staircase free of flames (they should also note that doing this when there is not a fire will draw a lot of awkward stares from other people)
If you cannot get out of your room:
- Stuff spaces around the door with wet towels and patiently wait for the rescuer party
- There are emergency stair case in the balcony, outside the window, which you may step down for escape. BUT THIS WAY SHOULD BE SOUGHT AT THE LAST MEASURE BECAUSE YOU WILL BE EXPOSED TO THE DANGER OF STEPPING OFF (stepping off!!! off the side of the building to your death is what this should say and if Ed Norton from Fight Club had anything to do with it he would have drawn the picture like that.)
If an earthquake occurs:
-Keep away from the windows
-Pull out all electric plugs
-protect your head (evidently the electric plugs are more important than protecting your head)
-put out cigarettes (because they can't handle an earthquake and a fire at the same time)
If prior warning of an earthquake is received, our internal broadcasting system will make an announcement. Also pay attention to regular TV or radio news broadcasts. Our guests are requested to remain calm and use their own judgment as to what precautions to take. We assure you that our hotel staff will be on duty as usual even during a disaster. (That's good because there's nothing that has me crave steak and sushi than an earthquake. If you could have that up here in the next 5 minutes I will give you another 500 yen.)
Well atleast you all know I am safe and informed here at the Camelot Hotel in Tokyo, Japan. I hope all of you are doing well and I will try and write again soon.