Our season in Japan wrapped up last week. We ended with a 9-2 record for the first half and we're solidly in 2nd place, being 3 games ahead of the teams tied for 3rd. The top 4 teams make the playoffs out of the 12 total teams. So, looks like team DENSO will be making our 1st playoff appearance in 5 years! It's very exciting for these girls who have worked so hard to break through to that top spot. We were definitely picking up momentum as the first half was winding down, so hopefully we can come back just as strong in September.
|Receiving my MVP award. Had to give a speech to the crowd.|
Thankfully, Maki was there to translate....although,
I did have to actually speak to them. Butchered it.
I was lucky enough to have my family visit in my last week of the first half. The company pays for our families to visit for 5 days, all expenses paid. I love Japanese softball.
Thankfully, it happened to be the only weekend that my little brother, Hayden could manage a free weekend before he left for college. And even more thankfully, that weekend happened to be the weekend that we visited one of the most beautiful places that I've ever been. And I've been to Hawaii. And Mexico. And Northern Canada. Really pretty places. They have nothing on Hokkaido, Japan. It's the northern island, so we had to take a plane to get there. Travelling with the team was much easier than my solo adventures with air travel (aka my 5-hour-delayed-flight-and-subsequent-missed-connection-and-staying-overnight-adventure). Once we got to the town, it was like we were in a postcard. Nothing seemed real. All the buildings were very similar old, brick buildings. They were probably all at one time fish warehouses of some sort. It was definitely a fishing town, being right on the water (the Pacific Ocean - the other side of it). At night, all the buildings are lit up, as well as the boats along the harbor. Extremely pretty. Again, I felt like I was in a postcard. Oh! And bonus points.......there was a Starbucks. My obsession with the lovely coffee chain is equalled by my mother. It's kind of our thing to go to Starbucks. Every morning before our games, she would show up to the hotel with my Peppermint Mocha in hand. It became a known thing that I would meet my mom in the lobby prior to the bus leaving. I might add to that my mom is amazing and superwoman and came to every single one of my games my senior year - and didn't miss many my junior year. She's kinda sorta my biggest fan and the reason I am where I am. I love my mama!
|This is my amazing and beautiful mother!|
|One of five king crabs. The amount of food was outrageous!|
Again, the place we were playing was famous for their seafood. So, when we arrived, there were about 5 huge platters of crab, each topped off with a king crab that the owner threw in for free. I thought there was definitely going to be enough food - and then some - for everyone on the table. Apparently, the owner did not agree, seeing as he sent up about 8 more rounds of food. After the crab, there was chicken, there was fish, some baked potatoes came out, squid, vegetables, shrimp (raw and full-bodied), calamari, and I honestly don't know what the other plates were. Not that I don't remember, I literally don't know what the food was. And after a few drinks, I really didn't feel like asking or knowing. After awhile, some of the girls started wavering in their ability to form sentences and keep their eyes open. After about an hour, one of them was passed out in the corner. Two more followed suit within the next half hour. Dropping like flies while us Americans were completely coherent and cracking up (and stuffing our faces).
Towards the end of the dinner, the girls called out Chibby to chug her drink since she had eclipsed the 200 hit mark the previous week. Chibby is 4'10. Tiny little thing. Her thigh is my arm - not kidding. She was already a couple drinks in, and this chugging definitely sent her overboard. The calling out of people to drink definitely did not stop there. Soon enough, everyone was brainstorming ideas to come up with a reason for each person to drink. And even sooner enough, it came to me - my reason being because I got MVP of the last game. Getting the raw squid was enough, I didn't need to chug too. Worse enough, it was in front of my mom and little brother. Never been a fan of chugging but it seemed as though I didn't really have a choice with 22 girls chanting and screaming in a public setting. I ended up saying the hell with it and looked down and said sorry then continued to chug my rather large pint of beer. Ended up basically crying because it was ice cold and never-ending.
The night ended in about 10 of the girls laying down on the floor and massive amounts of food still left on the table. But, it was a great time and great way to spend our last night with the team. Bright and early the next morning, we were off and back to our "hometown."
It's weird but I miss those girls and their lightweight selves already....