Most of the readers probably know that I play ultimate frisbee and the title of the entry refers to that. With the intended pun, of course. To tell you the truth, I was not in a rush to start playing ultimate again, because after the very eventful ultimate summer I was not only bruised, battered and physically exhausted, but I needed to put it out of my mind as well. As the weeks passed, though, I had to give in to the temptation to play ultimate again.
Looking for an ultimate team was actually harder than I thought. The major obstacle was the language barrier since all the information was in Japanese. I spent countless hours trying to decipher kanjis using google translate and electronic dictionaries. The other obstacle was the surprisingly large amount of outdated information, which hindered my search. Even the Aichi flying disc federation (the region comprising Nagoya and its surroundings) had a lot of links to non-existing webpages and teams that no longer played. Despite the difficulties, I found out that the teams from Aichi face each other four times a year in a regional tournament, the Toukai Open, which was held for the last time this year at the end of October in the nearby city of Okazaki. A perfect occasion to get to know the local ultimate scene and find a team. Adding to my excitement was also the news that UNO, one of the best women ultimate teams in the world, was participating to the event.
|Okazaki Sports Center|
I nearly overslept the whole thing, because what was supposed to be one or two beers the previous night turned into partying the night away. Anyway, I was able to leave around noon and arrived to Okazaki around 2 pm, an hour later than I anticipated, because switching trains from two different railway companies and then finding the right bus in an unknown place took longer than I had imagined. Okazaki Sports Center extended over a hill and it took me some time to go around looking for the ultimate tournament. By 3 pm I had been everywhere, but I hadn't seen a single frisbee, player or team. The whole thing turned out to be an ultimate failure. Perhaps the games were already over by 2-3 pm, but I never got any confirmation to this and never found any tournament results. Luckily the weather was nice, so I went for a walk and tried to enjoy the beautiful scenery from the top of the hill despite the disappointment.
|But where are the ultimate fields??|
|At the top of the hill with the city of Okazaki faintly visible in the distance.|
Blooms, the ultimate team of Nagoya University, practices every Saturday morning from 9 to 12 am and two weeks after the Okazaki incident, I was able to participate. The team consists mostly of first and second year ultimate players with a few more experienced players, all in all a dozen players. The drills were quite basic throwing drills with one slightly more challenging one, ダンプ練習 (dampu renshuu) or more familiarly a dump drill with a few well-timed cutbacks from upfield. After the practice the whole team went to eat an abundant tonkatsu meal at a nearby restaurant, a custom after every Saturday practice. Such a habit is elusive in Finland, although it could be plausible a little bit more unfrequently, say once a month. At present our team in Finland goes to eat together only at the end of the season, so in my opinion such a habit would be very welcome.
|The vending machines at the Sports Center sell two suitably named sports|
beverages: Pocari Sweat and Match.
Next week Blooms has a practice match and I will go play with AG Funks, a non-university team based in the city of Toyota. So stay tuned, there will be more ultimate news in the near future!