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Japan 1

Kyo wa Becky no tanjobi desu! Today’s my birthday! It’s only fitting that the first day of my 28th year should be the first day of my blog, so without further ado, Yokoso! Welcome to Japan!

My journey started on Saturday April 21st. I arrived in Kobe late Sunday night. Although it has only been two weeks, it feels like two months! The continuous stream of activity, from moving in and getting furniture delivered to ordering dinner out and buying new bikes, has kept me well busy. Couple that with a significant language barrier and new cultural norms, and everything seems to take a little extra effort. This, of course, is the best part. The newness, the excitement, the challenge, the adventure – atarashi chosen desu!

All this, and I haven’t even mentioned the soccer yet. I could write a book already! I will do my best to give you a sneak peak into the world of Japanese soccer and INAC Kobe from my experiences so far.

Rumor has it this team hasn’t lost in two years. It is easy to see why. The players are among the most skillful I have ever seen, and they play as one unit, always connected offensively through quick passing and off-the-ball movement and defensively through high pressure and team defending. The style of INAC is most similar to that of Barcelona, and believing wholeheartedly in Barcelona’s supremacy I do not make this comparison lightly. For now, you will have to take my word for it, but I will try to provide video so you can make your own assessment in the future.

As the last bit of jet lag wears off and I am “used to” my Japanese futon and new diet, I feel better and better physically. Going into the third week of training I now know all the players’ names and the Japanese words for left, right, front, back, and up. Picking them out when your teammate is hollering frantically next to you is another story, but I am determined to figure it out.

My new Japanese teammates are awesome. Their soccer skills are inspiring, but it is their friendly, cheerful personalities that make me certain how special this year is going to be. I have no doubt I will learn so much as a player, but I feel even stronger that I will make great friends and learn a language and culture that, despite limited understanding, I already admire so greatly.


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