Saturday, July 20, 2013

Cheering BE-SU-BO-RU style!

Yesterday I had a great experience with my school. We travelled by bus from Senmaya to Morioka - ok that was not so great on the winding roads, but we all travelled up to Morioka to watch our school take on the SIchinoseki Gakuien (or a school that sounds like that) in a baseball game. Now I mentioned once before that it's pretty serious, the high school baseball here, so with the news that we had won the first game, the entire school bar office staff and one of the vice principals was bussed two and a half hours away to support the team! Quite a feat. Interesting choice too as the schools are only 35 minutes apart to play all the games in Morioka. The team actually had stayed in Morioka since the knockout tournament began. Perhaps this is the power the prefecture capitals have here in Japan.
The ground was wide and open, and left me wondering why baseball is played on dirt with a grass outfield. Nicer to play on grass all the way, surely?? Anyways, we waited outside the ground for 20 minutes and were finally let in. The cheering is all very organised, and every student knows all the chants and dare I say it? - dance moves!When your school is batting it's your turn to cheer. Our school was very very good at cheering, with lots of songs, many apparently anime songs, and the strange custom of dunking three buckets of water on the three cheer leaders at the start of each batting innings. The leaders, by the way, are all boys and were in full school uniform!
Thankfully it was sunny, around 24 degrees - perfect. The rain, as mentioned, has delayed this tournament big time!
Preparing the playing area.
The game went on, and I was encouraged to dance and cheer and I joined in. I don't want to dob on the other teachers, but they weren't quite so enthusiastic. The brass band and the cheer leaders led everyone, and we had a blast. Half-way through the seventh innings, the game was called off because it wasn't close. we were losing 9-0 at the time! The opposition looked much bigger than our students I must admit, and I was told they ran 10 km a day! That's what I mean by taking it seriously. I was also told our players didn't run so far.
And we piled back into the buses and headed back, another 2.5 hours, to school. At times the cheering overshadowed the game. Actually, it did most of the time. The result didn't matter, a good time was had by all, and in a country where there is so much pressure on students to do well in tests and the like, where they are worked incredibly hard, that's a very good thing!

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