Director of Summit Athletics

Director of Summit Athletics
Pursuing Excellence in Sports and Character (click on image for website)

Friday, May 7, 2010

Thursday morning

This week is the last week of the regular season and we actually have a bye. We had a morning practice this morning and we went to a different gym than normal. The gym is called Ohijigoaka (my pronunciation, which is seldom correct is O-HE-JOKE-UH) and it is about a 10-15 minute bike ride away. It depends on when gear my basket bearing machine is in. It is a 15 minute ride in 14th gear, but a 10 minute ride in 21st gear. With the information I have compiled I could help Mapquest with more accurate times for their bike section.

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!


  1. See you need to start carrying one of the small handheld hd video cams so you can record priceless stuff like this. I had it all going in my head and i could see you standing to the side and all these small elderly Japanese women just flying around and being 8 feet behid the table and smashing it back and forth like when Forrest Gump went and played the Chinese for the Army.

    Ben Norris

  2. i love reading your blog, luke, you crack me up every time! loved this ping pong story ... and totally understand the auctioneer thing. we're looking forward to seeing you on the boat tonight. and we promise to feed you (to full??) at tomorrow's bbq. thanks for blogging!
    angie yasuda