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Adventures in Shiiba - October 1994
Once again undokai season has come to Japan. I think of undokai season as that time between typhoon season and winter (joke). I also think of undokai season as the "Diet season" that follows yakiniku season (joke). This year I was able to go to three undokais and a lot of yakiniku parties. Two of the undokais were for the Junior High Schools that I teach at. I enjoyed both very much. The students and their teachers worked very hard and should be congratulated for the events were excellent.
The undokais reminded me of my days as a student. Students in America participate in sports on a voluntary basis. Students usually specialize in particular events and compete as a member of a team against other schools. It is usually very difficult to become a member of a sports team. Each type of sports team has its own schedule. Because each team has its own schedule, there are usually several different types of competitions every week throughout the school year.
Note: An "undokai" is a community sports event which resembles a track meet. Yakiniku is the Japanese version of a Korean barbecue.
I played Tuba in my school's Marching Band. The Marching Band performed at every home football and basketball game. For football games the band would put on two different marching shows per game and would play songs and cheer during the game. During the spring the band would march in competitive parades around the state of California. My High School band averaged 40 performances per year. We had a very large collection of trophies. We also had many rivals.
Last month I played minivolleyball for the first time. In the beginning, it seemed a bit strange for my height was not an advantage with respect to blocking or hitting. I found the game to be quite fun and am proud to say that I am now a member of the Shiiba Hospital's mini-volleyball team. At first I was a bit concerned about my appointment to the team for I thought the other hospitals might think Shiiba was cheating. I asked my team members about this and they told me that my new specialty was gynecology. As a joke, I've told a couple friends who don't live in Shiiba that I'm now a gynecologist. They thought that such was very funny and were a bit envious. I'm thinking about sending one of my favorite professors e-mail (electronic mail message) regarding my recent "promotion." I can imagine him sitting in his office in Chico and how he'd start laughing.
I encourage you participate in some sort of athletic activity. Discover the joy of sport and share it with your friends. But don't smoke.