The Japanese make a lot of the fact that they have four distinct seasons - as if it was something unique to them. I have tried to explain that all 4 seasons exist in all but the equatorial counties! In my mind, the problem with the concept of 4 seasons in Japan is that there is no warm up - it changes from one season to the next ON THE DAY it is supposed to. For example, when I went to Bangladesh it was Winter, and when I returned it was Spring, and 10 degrees warmer. The sudden change was exceptionally terrible last December, however I have posted copiously about my problems with Winter!
Now, it's time to move on to Summer! Today it's June 1st and it was 23-25 degrees at about 11am - fantastic. I'm ready to hit the Hagi beach many, many times. However the weekend just gone I went with a big group of Yamaguchi JETs to go and play soccer against some other JET teams, and some Japanese teams too.
We headed up to Shimane prefecture (the prefecture immediately above Yamaguchi) on Friday night, and stayed at the Little Swiss Cabins. There were 8 of us to a cabin, which were on the top of a mountain, looking out over a beach. Of course, we partied on Friday night, but the tournament organisers had thoughtfully given us a late start (just in case we had decided to drive the 4 hours from Hagi to the tournament on Saturday morning).
The boys were playing regular soccer - full size pitches with 11 players per team. They lost both games - which is the standard, though they did score a goal this tournament (a feat they did not manage last September). Our girls team were playing on small pitches (definitely less than half the rize of a regular pitch) and only 6 players per team. I played goalie in the 2nd half of our 2nd & 3rd games - and no one scored against me!
As we were playing 6 a-side we had special rules - no offsides to begin with, and a whole bunch of rules to 'simplify' the game for us. In the end, all we had to remember was not to touch the ball with our hands. We won our first game 4-0, and then at the end of the 2nd game there was some dispute as to whether we had lost 3-2 or 3-1. So we had to take penalty kicks - luckily Steph was the goalie and she saved so many, but it the end we lost the penalty kicks 1-0 (after each team had taken 11 shots at goal each). This meant we played the 'bronze medal' game, and won 2-0 or 3-0 (not sure).
Of course, after a long day playing soccer we had to party! This time, it was with all the other teams who had played in the tournament. There was a mountain of food, a Japsican (Mexican + Japanese) band, and then an African drummer. The kids all went to bed, and it turned into a dance party where Monica and I befriended a Japanese soccer team - all boys who studied Geology at Shimane University.
Finally we went to bed, and way too quickly I was being woken up for my ride back to Hagi!
(On a side note, my camera is being temperamental and I am having trouble uploading photos from my camera so once it starts behaving there will be photos on facebook for those of you with access)