By Rebecca Moros

Every morning I wake up grateful to be in Japan. I feel inspired and excited by the things around me. Each day brings a whole host of new challenges, some of them big and some of them small. It’s a real thrill tackling them, even though I’m not always successful. Fortunately, failing has been half the fun… for instance, when the soup noodles slip out of my chopsticks before I can get them to my mouth, and I’m just hoping none of my teammates hear the splash or see my hand shake with the threat of chopstick-cramp. Through stifled laughs, Bev and I share these moments with great enthusiasm, as our teammates look around and ask each other if anyone knows why “the Americans” are laughing.

Having arrived in Japan over two months ago, I only recently felt my first moments of relaxation. I didn’t realize how many nerves were firing until they suddenly ceased. Although I’m not positive what caused the change or if the change is even permanent, I wonder if it means I’m getting used to my new life. Some of the big things I’ve begun to adapt to: new food, new utensils, new kitchen appliances; biking everywhere (it’s been fifteen years), alternately with typhoon winds, torrential rainfall and blistering heat; a new language I’m desperate to learn; a new style of soccer, which at times has me baffled and questioning everything I know (the language barrier doesn’t help here); a new position, or rather a new old position, but not one I’ve played as a professional; new friends, particularly challenging because I can hardly talk to them.

Japanese living, two burner stove – I miss baked chicken. My one attempt at cooking fish in the fish oven came out well enough to encourage a second.

Hanging laundry – I love the energy saving initiatives!

My sweet Japanese futon.

Leave your shoes at the door – a dinner with guests. The front hall is full; inside laughs can be heard!

Japanese study guides, new additions arriving a few days ago in a package from Mom!

BACK STORY: I first fell in love with Japan and Japanese soccer when I spent two months training in Tokyo in 2009. The team I practiced with, Beleza, was number one in the league at the time (now they sit in second behind INAC). The head coach of INAC, Sawa, and three other current teammates were with Beleza then.

When I first joined the team, I was immediately wowed by the quality of play. It took me the full two months to get acquainted with the dramatic technical and tactical differences I faced. Ever since then I wanted to return to Japanese soccer. That experience and the players I shared it with have a special place in my heart, and I am forever grateful for how they welcomed me to their team and culture. It is, without a doubt, their warmth and incredible play that made me so eager to move 7,000 miles from home to play Japanese soccer again.

My Beleza friends come to dinner on their day off after a game in nearby city, Osaka. Nothing says reunion better than pizza party! What a blast!

Yakiniku dinner with teammates, left to right, Ji So-Yun, Nahomi Kawasumi, Asuna Tanaka, Ryoko Takara, Me, and Bev.

Post yakiniku, basashi or raw horse platter. Delicious!

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Related Article: Rebecca Moros: Tanjōbi – Entry #1

Related Article: Rebecca Moros:  It’s Sink or Swim Time – Entry #2

Related Article: Rebecca Moros:  From Being to Seeing – The Zoo & Bev’s Debut! – Entry #3

Related Article: Rebecca Moros: A Day In The Life – Entry #4

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(4) Readers Comments

  1. Hi Rebecca, I just found this blog and enjoy reading it.

    I was a fun of your blog “Tokyo or bust” about your soccer training experience and life in Japan. Even though I never watched Japanese women’s soccer game at that time, it was very fun to read and made me want to watch how they played soccer. Fortunately, two years later, I finally had chance to watch their style of soccer thru 2011 WWC tournament. It was just WOW, they won the title with such a beautiful soccer like you mentioned in your blog in 2009.

    After WPS suspension, (in the end, it became termination), I am glad to hear that you started a soccer journey again in the land of rising sun. I hope that you have great time and achieve the “Golden Touch” that you have been pursuing…

    Good luck!

  2. れべっか さん こんにちは! 
    This time I also enjoyed reading your blog.

    Though troubles such as  crowed people or less space  many people from abroad often complain in Japan,

    you are positive and not avoid this but try to find out  the way out. This is great!

    The coming Sunday, July 8th is the match day!
      I hope you will score at the Home stadium.
    I will be there with my fingers crossed. Try your best!

    I have an advice for you about  the weather here, actually humid and hot.

    As for air conditioner, you have to be very carefull in using because w/o air conditioner  we can’t sleep well in summer but at the same time, with AC all the time in summer you will get fatigue easier in fall.

    I set A/C at office 28 degree daytime  and  at night outside over 25, I use A/C.

    Exactly it is sweaty and uncomfortable in summer here but it can’t be helped so you may as well be patient and ready for autumn season.
    Because we never modify the Nature.

    Oh, I will let you know special way of enjoying summer in Kobe because you have no games for a while.

     First please drive west to Suma beach where you can bath your feet in the sea (of course, you can swim though many people ) then go to Maiko.

    You can enjoy the nice seashore view to Maiko then you can pass the Akashi bridge, much bigger than Manhattan bridge, I guess.

    Now you are in Awaji island then off the highway to local road.
    At Iwaya, a small fisherman’s wharf where you can enjoy seafood tempura and unless you hesitate, try it raw, sushi or sashimi.

    If you have time, you may back to highway which is through Awaji island, crossing another bridge to Shikoku and taste a nice Udon noodle cheaper at Kagawa.

    On your way back to Kobe,  you can look up some planes approaching KIX airport in twilight.

    For dinner, famous Awaji beef and onion soup is recommended but it costs 10000 yen.

    Don’t miss firework at Kobe harbour on 4th Aug. 

    Enjoy you summer & So long…

  3. ベッキーさん、こんにちは。7月8日のジェフユナイテッド市原との試合、応援しています。
    ベッキーさんのゴールが見たいです。
    日本の夏は、暑いので体調を崩さないで下さい。

  4. Every time I see/hear someone trying to adjust to the Japanese culture it brings a smile to my face because I remember how much of a culture shock I felt when I came to the states as a kid. Since you haven’t been in Japan for very long I can just imagine how you must be still finding new things to adjust to and also the frustration of “lost in translation” must be peaking about now ;) I love your outlook/analysis of the difference between American soccer vs. Japanese soccer. The differences in the culture is very evident in the style of play. Since Japan doesn’t usually “import” athletes, or any professional for that matter, they obviously see very good qualities in you so keep your head up and i hope you just enjoy all the ups and downs that are bound to come your way! :)

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