Today i went to Judo club for the first time. I just went to watch, but i told the coach and club teacher that I really like judo. Since we cannot communicate at all in each other's languages, i am wondering if he thinks i mean to fully join they club. He has been telling me that i can get blackbelt in one year and introduced me to the club after practice. It was a little disconcerting not knowing what he said about me, and noticing his reference to another JET who got hardcore into Judo 2 years ago.
I wouldnt mind getting really involved. But joining a school club as a teacher in Japan means really really devoting yourself to it. Since i go to Fukuoka city right after school once a week for a Japanese class, and I tend to make weekend plans which could interfere with events, i would prefer to work out an arrangement where i am a regular participant in Judo, but not one of the "club teachers." I will have to ask my vice principal to act as translator to communicate that to the teacher.
The club is really intense. They meet after school every day for 3 hours during the summer and seem to do nothing by sparring and drills. It was exhausting just to watch. The students gave me tea during the break and the boys invited me to use the bench press and other scattered weights while the team practiced. My school doesnt have other martial arts like karate or jujitsu-- kendo (swordfighting) notwithstanding-- but they are REALLY serious about judo. they have newspaper clippings of tournaments theyve won all over the gym and the coach is employed from outside the school. He's young and really nice. even threw out a little bit of english, or could at least understand my mangled mostly english with some japanese words + hand gestures.
During practice a few of the girls were all giggly and trying to make each other introduce themselves to me. I got all of their names and introduced myself, trying to tell them that i was an ALT for the first-years. When they introduced one of the girls by saying she is "a little.... crazy!" i explained with the help of some broken japanese that i studied psychology and thing all people are a little bit crazy.
I was wearing a Black Mesa tshirt. Black Mesa is an ominous, yet thoroughly fictional research facility that unleashes a horde of aliens from another dimension in the video game series, Halflife, so it had their logo on the front:
One of the girls who was chatting me up pointed to my chest and asked "Onigiri?" I lol'd. Onigiri is a universal japanese snack; a rice ball with some filling of veggies or meat, wrapped in seaweed for easy portable consumption. they look like this:
i can see the similarity but this comparison was hilarious to me. I never would have thought of it. it was definitely one of those "omg im living in Japan moments"