Continued from my earlier post Our First Overseas Adventure: Japan 2000 (part 8).
“1/10/01 (to G8r’s parents) On January 7 we went with the Sasebo baseball team to the Hachiman Shrine to be ‘blessed.’ We had a 10:00 reservation and got the whole show. We all walked into the shrine area in front of an alter/stage and stairway to where the spirits come down. It was open behind us and the termperature was quite cold so luckily we were bundled up. The priest came out and prayed to a stick covered with white paper strips that was standing in the corner. Then he picked up the stick, shook the paper at a small baby then at some businessman and then at the baseball team. After that he sat down and a girl did some sort of a dance with some bells while another girl beat on a Japanese drum. I know I am not going into great detail but it was fairly simple and this is about it. Describing this makes me wonder about how a Japanese person might describe our communion ceremony. After the bell girl finished, we all drank about a milliliter of sake out of a dish and we were done. The kids all say ‘Hi!’ and miss you. I leave to go out to sea on Monday the 15th. I’ll be in and out for the next five months. Love, G8r”
“3/31/01 Hello, Home, I thought you would like this. SR has volunteered to coach Lulu and Mr DL’s tee-ball team. Lulu and Mr DL were originally on another team, but SR didn’t care for the coach’s attitude. When Mr DL showed up with his helmet the coach told him he couldn’t wear it. She said that he had to wear one of the ratty old issued ones. Well,…that wasn’t a good start for Mr DL or SR. Things went down hill from there and culmintaed in SR sending me an e-mail about how upset whe was. The next day she found out that there was another team that needed a coach so she decided to jump right in again. I am looking forward to helping her, but I know she will do great because of all the time she spent helping me. It’s really all about stickers and letting the kids have fun anyway. Last week I received an e-mail from the Commodore of Helicopter Tactical Wing Pacific informing me that he was happy that I was going to Guam. It was nice to receive something that personal from someone so high up. We pull back into Sasebo next week for two weeks before going down to Australia. It sounds neat but I am forgetting what home is like. More later… Love, G8r”
“3/30/01 Hey, G8r, Just a couple more days! Let me know when you are going to be able to get off the ship. We got our uniforms for the t-ball team before practice yesterday. We are the Hario Angels. So, I have Angels in the Outfield! I went on line and found the Anaheim Angels’ website and got the team logo and made up labels with the kids’ names and put them on their shirts. So, I had those to hand out first thing at practice, and all of the kids immediately put on their shirts and hats. I know all but 2 kids (mostly from teaching at the school); that is nice to already know them and what to expect from them. We have a few hyper kids and a few that are really shy. Most are really happy kids. First thing, we ran around the bases a couple of times to get them calmed down so I could talk to them. The I showed them how to run through 1st, and they each did that. Then I put all but one in the in-field, Jay at first, and they each pretended to bat and run to 1st while I threw the ball out to the fielders. The runner tried to beat the ball to Jay at 1st. The I line them up to show them how to stand at first going to 2nd. That’s about all I could get them to do with the bases yesterday, so I then lined them up across from one another and had them roll grounders to one another. Then I went over some rules with them which probably went over their heads; I also had typed something up and passed it out to the parents so they would know what the refs would be calling during the games. It is a lot less structured than Florida. No strikes, all 13 players play in the field (extras play in the outfield), no score kept, etc. I have some initial ideas about some positions; I am going to have them take the field and have them rotate as batters and practice batting and base-running at the next practice. I am hoping I can get several parents to help them at the bases. We will work on run-through and turn and look, although that may come later in the season and most will need to be looking at the 1st base coach’s signal. Lulu went on a field trip with her Brownie troop today to Hirado Island. Mr DL and Jay and I are going out to the field now to play around. Mr DL want s to hit off of the T. See you soon, SR”