Former UT standout Cat Osterman is guest blogging from Japan about her experience playing pro softball there.
Well we made the trip yet again. Megan and I left on Monday to come back over to Japan to compete in our softball season. Before you worry, our area is pretty safe. We are in Kariya, which is outside of Nagoya. If I mentioned that in my last blog, forgive the repetition. They have no physical damage or aftermath of the earthquake or tsunami. They told us they felt some shaking, but that is it. As far as the radiation goes, we have been watching the reports on the levels in the air, and since we left, the levels actually haven’t changed, so we decided we’d take the plunge and return back to our humble abode here in Japan.
We actually live in a nice 4 room apartment. We each have a bed room, with strictly our bed, and we both also have another room where we have dressers and a closet. I’d post pictures, but my room is not in a presentable state!
We have an interpreter who goes everywhere with us! It’s actually the best set up because she used to play softball on this same professional team, so she understands the game too. I think she laughs at us more than we know! We can’t say anything, and we are constantly asking her "what are they saying??"
We played a practice game yesterday! Yes after a 15 hours trip, we get off the plane, try to sleep, and are on a team bus at 7am for a doubleheader starting at 10. Talk about jet lag. We lost both games, but I had a successful outing. I threw 3 perfect innings with 6 strikeouts. It was really fun to be on the field again, but at the same time I felt a little awkward because I can’t really talk to them. I pitch and just smile and nod! They are all super nice. Saying "good pitch" or "nice ball" after each pitch, but it’s so different not being able to communicate back with them, yet!
After practice or games they work on their own field. They grab rakes or brooms and do field maintenance. That’s a big change from the US. Also, after 2 games (both losses) we drove an hour home, only for them to pile off the bus and practice! The coach gave Megan and I the ok to go home and rest, but I could not believe after a long morning already, they were going to practice more. The thoughts just rolled through my mind how many athletes would complain about a practice after games if we were back home!
Our League play starts on Saturday! We play a team called Takasaki. Their pitcher is Yukiko Ueno. Some of you might be familiar with that name, others probably not. She was the pitcher for Japan’s national team when they beat us in the Gold Medal game of the 2008 Olympics. I’m not looking at the game as payback, but it would be nice to win against her! Especially since she has yet to be on their National Team again after that win.
I think that’s it for now… feel free to leave any questions in the comments area. I’ll update again soon, and hopefully have some fun pictures to post as well!