After two years of living in Japan, I attended my first basketball game here. FINALLY! I have no idea why it took me so long, especially considering there is a local team here in Funabashi - the Chiba Jets. My dear friends from church, Bernie and Tom, invited me to a game so we headed there on a rainy Saturday night.
I got all giddy right when I got off the train and saw this sign! YAYYY!!! From the station, we walked 10 minutes through some residential streets to the arena. I liked the chillness of it all, way less chaotic and crowded than an NBA game.
We walked in easily and got to our seats and my first immediatel thought was...
WHY IS IT SO DARK IN HERE!? Seriously, they had almost all the lights off and were getting ready for the long list of pre-game performances. My second thought that quickly followed was, THIS GYM IS SO TINY. Smaller than my college basketball gym by far.
Another surprising thing was watching the pre-game routine. The players go through very detailed team stretching. Something you rarely see in the NBA. I thought it was cute seeing all their unity and effort. The Chiba Jets were wearing pink uniforms to celebrate ladies day (no idea what that is) and I was laughing so hard at the fact that there were AT LEAST 10 sponsors on their uniforms! HAHAHA. Funny considering the whole debate to put one NIKE logo on NBA uniforms.
It only took 5 minutes into the first quarter for me to learn that the CHIBA JETS are NOT good, and would not be winning the game...so I quickly turned my attention to another entertaining mission - find the cutest guy to cheer for! I soon settled on #27, Naoya Kumagae who happened to be on the opposing team -OOPS. hahahaa
Also noticed David Wear on the Osaka team, who played at UCLA. Anyway, Kumagae I love you! He's 26 and 6`4 by the way, just sayin.
Guess I'm an Osaka Evessa fan now HAHAH. They ended up beating us by 20 points, yikes. I waited for Kumagae to exit and noticed a bunch of screaming girl fans waiting to give him gifts they had surely handmade. Guess I have some stiff competition!
After the game, we walked 15 minutes to Bernie and Toms place and they fed me the most amazing steak dinner! They made me hot tea, served me the yummiest food, gave me a warm bed to sleep in, and even made me a fresh smoothie and french toast for breakfast in the morning when I woke up. These people are heaven sent! Then, Sunday morning, they drove me to church. Wow thank you LORD.
After church, I quickly jetted out of there (in the approaching typhoon mind you) to get to another church service. One of my students here at Ichikashi goes to a Filipinio church near Kashiwa and they were celebrating their 27th anniversary. 27 years!! How incredible is that?! I knew I wanted to check it out and see what God was doing over at Lord Of The Harvest Global Ministries!!
First things first....GRUB on the most amazing Filipino food!!!
You got your Lugaw aka warm rice porridge and Tokwat Baboy aka PIGS EAR with tofu and vinegar sauce. That lugaw...man, I could eat that every single day.
I ate SO much food...people kept bringing me plate after plate to try and I really forgot that I was in Japan for a second and was convinced I had stepped straight into a Filipino church in the heart of Manila or something! I even tried the Dinuguan, which is pork cooked in pigs blood...WHAAAAAT. Never thought i'd eat that.
After church, I hung out with my student's mom...YES this is his young and beautiful mom! We had a great time and it felt like being with family. Very thankful for the body of Christ and HIS global church!
What a weekend that was!
On Monday morning the Typhoon Lan hit Japan mainland and we were all in for a rainy and windy day. The timing was a bit ironic since this week is mid-terms at school! The staff at our school decided to move back the start of school til 1pm and resume testing as planned. Every time it is mid-terms or finals at school, I jump on the opportunity to shoot some hoops. This is because the clubs are not supposed to have organized practices during testing time, so the gym is free!
.No place i'd rather be than in the gym shooting around with these girls (4 of them I teach in class). I told them, "I went to the Chiba Jets game on Saturday!" and to my surprise three of them said, "we did too!" HAHA. These girls are hardcore ballers, and have some of the quickest ball handling and footwork skills i've ever seen. We all shot around together and it was a blast.
Very thankful to experience the game I love, in the country I love. God knew I needed a sports outlet in Japan, and he also knew I needed to watch/play basketball every once in a while...GOD provides!!!