Tennis tournament in Maruyama

26 mei
2012

It has been a while since ( last updated my blog. It’s now Saturday afternoon and today I did not went to tennis. My sisters would actually have a sports festival (運動会) but that was postponed due to a few rain drops. At this moment the sun shines but the sports festival has been postponed until tomorrow. I first wanted to go to tennis, but they started already at 7:30 which I could not make on time. I am also a little bit ill, I think I catched a cold again. But I am not the only one, half of Sapporo has catched a cold. So it’s a relax day.

For breakfast we had rice with sashimi, that’s raw fish. Since I am in Japan I did not have sushi a single time. This was sort of sushi and SUPER delicious! But it was a special breakfast because there would be the sports festival.

Today we had barbeque with my family and Otou-san’s parents. My family usually eat little meat and fish, so I was feeling well having so much choice.

Last days I have a little problems with my host family. I still can’t handle the situation with the youngest sister. That caused argues with Okaa-san and she suggested to change host family. It gave me an odd feeling. I then spoke to my LP and she suggested me to obey the house rules. Only the host family can ask for a host family transfer. I then spoke to my host mother and she said she wants me to have a successful exchange year and if it won’t work out in a month she will ask AFS for changing host family. But if I want to return I am always welcome. It is now going a little better. We also decided to speak Japanese only because that’s better for my youngest sister.

It is actually quite common to have small problems after a few month. Many AFSers currently have problems with their host families. So I am not the only one. However these are learning moments.

Last Friday, the 18e, I appointed with Erika, from Denmark, at Sapporo eki. I arrived early at Sapporo eki and then I went to Mister Donut. They should really have Mister Donut in Holland, they have the BEST donuts ever!

After one and a half hour Erika arrived, completely exchausted. Apparently she has been running to get on time. We did not had a plan so we went window shopping. We then took Purikura again. It was really quiet but when we were waiting for our pictures to be printed two boys came to us and started to talk. Yep, they were curious why these foreigners were wearing school uniforms. It was funny though! Erika completely blocked. She is on a girls only school and is sort of brain washed due to lack of contact with boys 😛

The we walked down Odori. Odori is the place to be when you want to go out. It is always crowded and there are many game centers, karaoke bars and shops

Next we went back to Sapporo eki. We were pretty hungry. Erika first wanted to go to an Italian restaurant and I wanted to go to a Japanese restaurant. We walked around and discovered a Tempura restaurant. Tempura are fried fish and vegetables. It was about € 15,- what is not cheap in Sapporo but it was so good! I think high school students usually don’t go to restaurants (except for fast food) because the other guests were looking at us all the time. Sometimes I think there is something on my face when people are looking at me. But of course, a foreigner in a school uniform is pretty unique.

I arrived home pretty late because it takes a long time to get home. It was very cozy!

Last weekend, 19 and 20 may, I went to tennis again, which is now a standard activity. When I arrived at the tennis court all lines and the net were taken away. There was only bare ground! They were replacing the gravel. Saturday we had training inside school what was rather boring. Playing tennis in the corridors it not that easy. Sunday I expected to find the new tennis court but when I arrived at school there was still nothing. And do you know why? Because the tennis club does that by themselves! Making a new tennis court!


(Click to enlarge)

The temperature went up to 25 degrees and I think it took over 2.5 hours until they agreed on how the lines had to be. Then the tennis coach came along to call them morons and to explain them how to do it.

All the lines had to be fixed with nails. It was VERY warm and I had a sunburn. But it was a nice day after all.

I had a talk with the tennis coach. He speaks a little English, not much, but enough for a conversation. He thinks that Holland is full of tulips but actually I am surprised how much there are in Japan. Japan loves tulips. At the end he said I was like a red tulip, because of the sunburn.

When the tennis court was ready we started practicing again. We had to practice for  the tennis tournament in Maruyama (円山) next Tuesday, may 22.

After tennis I went to Odori to buy a summer tennis outfit. I tried many things and it took about 1.5 hours until I made my choice. There was a man that blocked me so I said “Sumimasem” (sorry). Then he started to talk to me in perfect English. When I told him that I am Dutch he almost got a heart attack because he lived in Holland for three years for his job. He knew two Dutch words: “Goede morgen” (Good morning) and “Tot ziens” (Good bye). Very funny but a little curious though.

I finally bought two T-shirts, a short pants and a cap. I also saw the shops salesman that helped me with my shoes and he was laughing when he noticed I was wearing them, because I had been bargaining about the price and color.

On Tuesday, the 22e, we went to Maruyama for tennis matches. I woke up at 5 O’clock because I had to be at school at 7 O’clock. The first train in Ainosato leaves a 6.09 and the change to the next train was at 6.57.  Therefore I could not make it in time, but we left school at 8 O’clock so the group didn’t mind. Only the tennis team had the day of to attend the tennis tournament. Since I am the only girl in the team and they didn’t play mix neither girls singles I could not play myself. Instead I encouraged them. I could go to school but I enjoyed watching the matches.

It was agan a warm day but fortunately I was wearing a cap and my summer outfit AND sun block!

The sports park was really big. There were 12 tennis courts and a athletics running court. There were many people and many schools. Many schools had a uniform sports outfit what looks pretty sturdy.

Our matches were in the afternoon and we were a little bored but it was nice. I was the only foreigner and a lot of them were quite shocked. I saw a guy, his Japanese nickname is ‘Cricket’, that trained with us before. I thought he was a Yamanote student but he appeared to be on another school. I finally understood why he never joined the clubs and why a never saw him at school. Again proof why speaking a language is very important.

The first tournament day a number of schools had their own yell, for example: “Don’t don’t don’t mind!” or “Luckyyyy! Lucky!”, it was frightening which is of course the reason. Other then with normal tennis being loud, like saying ‘nice ball’ is allowed. The other days the yells were no longer permitted. I was not able to record it but it was very cool! 😛

I met a girl named Chulie who is at the same schools as ‘Cricket’ and her school only has two girls playing tennis. She is very nice and she lives in Ainosato too!. We exchanged e-mail addresses so we can make an appointment later!

I brought my Canon camera. I did not know how my team members would respond to that but they liked it and encouraged me to make a lot of pictures but only “Best shots!”

About 18:30 we went back to school were we had training again. At my school we have to exchange students with scholarships that play rugby. The Kenyan boy is here as athlete for long distance running. Rachel and I are here to learn the language and culture. But since I am with the tennis team it’s just like I am here as a sports exchange student. The rugby team is training about  37 hours a week, the tennis team about 30 hours a week. But I am still happy with it and everyone is very nice for me.

First we would have only one day for the tournament but since we won we had matches the other day again.
Waking up at 5 O’clock again to be at school at 7:15. Wednesday it was clouded and very humid. I have to admit that the team played lousy compared to how they play at school. Today was supporting, shooting pictures and eating. There also were students from other schools that had the courage to speak with the foreigner.

And luckily we won a number of matches that lead to playing on Thursday again! I did not mind to go there again because it’s very nice. Everyone there is tennis addict so you have a click pretty soon.

I also met ex (graduated) Yamanote students that came to see the matches.

Thursday was again sunny and warm. There were less schools because the finales were played. I did not fully understood the system but Yamanote seems to be pretty good which is good of course. I watched the matches again, made pictures and socialized. Today we won a lot matches and therefore two couples of our school will go to Hakodate to attend the Hokkaido district tournament in June. I am not sure if the complete team will got there but I hope so!

One of the ex-students, a girl, told me she was the only girl in the tennis team too and she told me she played singles. Perhaps I can play singles for the school also. That would be very cool!

Another nice to know: In Japan, being tinted by the sun is something they don’t like. It looks like you work in the fields and that’s not cool. Tennis players however are all pretty tinted because we practice outside so often. I also became pretty tinted already however I am still lighter than the rest.

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