2021929
by Miran.M./Neesa.M.

Interviewing returnee 43rd students from four clubs! ~部活について聞いてみよう!

The coronavirus pandemic, which now seems like a normal part of our lives, has changed our school life greatly. After-school clubs (部活), which the majority normally operate five days a week, have been reduced to three. During some months, it was even banned. These clubs are somewhat a necessity for the students to temporarily forget about their studies and free their mind to something other than academics. It helps relieve stress. However, even with such restrictions put in place, the students at ICUHS have made the most of it, attending many competitions and games. Among the numerous clubs we have at ICUHS, we decided to take a close look at the four most popular clubs, which are soccer, volleyball, tennis and dance and watch them during practice times. The determination and perseverance of the students were evident in every way.
We decided to ask the following questions to some 2nd year English-speaking students from each club;
What is the reason you chose this club?
What do you usually do during normal practice days?
What is your favourite thing about being in your club?
What are some difficult things about being in your club and what did you do to overcome it?
Any advice for future students?

*Answers may be edited for length and/or clarity


SOCCER
Y. Y. (2nd Grade, M)
Reason I chose this club:
I chose this club because I have been playing soccer for more than 11 years now, and I felt like I wanted to continue. I was thinking of joining the dance club at first, though after finding out that there were very few boys, I decided to join this club.
What we do during usual practice days:
Usually, at the beginning of practice, we will first warm-up, and do the basics. Stretching, passing the ball with pairs, etc. Then, we will begin our technical drills. We will start engaging in practice seriously and will change our mentality here. Our technical drills often consist of dribbling through cones and passing the ball through the cones. After finishing the drills, we will have a small game of keeping possession of the ball. Most of the time, we are divided into 4 teams, and two games will be played simultaneously. We will then practice shooting at the goal (shooting directly from a cross, finishing after combination, etc).
On days where the girls' soccer club isn't using the field, after warming up, we will have scrimmages called kouhakusen (紅白戦 ), which is a game of what is usually 11vs11, using the full field. The kouhakusen helps us gain in game experience. Managers work extremely hard for us in each and every practice. They make Pocari Sweat(sports drink) drinks and have water ready for us, time and blow the whistle for drills, record the goals, aid the injured players, and record the scrimmages, etc.みらん写真②.jpg
My favourite thing about being in the club:
My favourite thing about this club is the relationship between the senpais and the kouhais. It's one of the very few opportunities we get to spend time with each other, and I believe it is very important. We are, in fact, more like friends, rather than senpais and kouhais.
Difficulties in the club:
The soccer field is the biggest difficulty. To this day, I still wonder how this great school finds it difficult to afford turf or grass. Unfortunately, the only way to overcome it is to just deal with it, and get used to it.
Advice for future students:
One thing for sure, we probably have the most number of managers in the country, so if you want a bunch of managers, this club is a choice for you. Most importantly, if you like soccer, come on and try it out! Whether you're a beginner or an experienced individual, you're always welcome!

S. N.(2nd Grade, M)
Reason I chose this club:
I've been playing football since I was 6 so naturally, I decided to continue playing the sport I love.
What we do during usual practice days:
Every week we do 3 practice sessions and one practice session lasts about an hour to an hour and a half. During which we do basic drills for the first part of training, move on to possession and shooting exercises and we usually finish off with a match.
My favourite thing about being in the club:
The best thing about playing football in the school club is the way we can connect with friends that cannot be taught or done in class. There's nothing better than being with your mates, playing a sport that we cherish and ultimately win.ミラン写真③.jpg
Difficulties in the club:
Being the club leader (部長), you are bound to face many challenges. Each player has different opinions about how the club should be run and what practices, directions we should head to get a win. So all in all, I'll say finding a solution that satisfies all of the players in the club is probably the most difficult thing about being the leader of the club.
What I do to overcome this problem is to first talk to players individually whenever they seem to be free. I usually kick-start the conversation with a casual random topic that doesn't have to relate to football. This way it's easier for us to find similarities and become friendlier. After that, I gradually try to talk about the question at hand, about what the player is feeling emotionally and how they view the club as a whole. I then open meetings first separating the 44th from the 43rd and then doing a larger meeting that includes all the members. By doing so each player's voices can be heard and allow us (Club Head, Captain, Vice-Captain) to incorporate their ideas into the daily training sessions.

VOLLEYBALL
Y.Y.(2nd Grade, M)
Reason I chose this club:
I joined the boys' volleyball club because I was interested in the sport, and loved the positivity and motivation surrounding the coaches and players. Every practice day, the players get out of class as fast as they can and prepare the net so they can get as much practice time as possible. During practice, everyone is constantly thinking of ways to improve their skills, and even if one makes a mistake, we cheer each other on and focus on the next play. On normal practice days, we mainly work on the basics and build our stamina. Our coach always tells us that the basics are the most important, so our practice menu mainly consists of receiving and passing practices. Once in a while we play practice games and go over the movement of each position in court.
My favourite thing about being in the club:
My favourite thing about my club is the bond between teammates, and being able to play volleyball with them.
Difficulties in the club:
Because a lot of players from my club, including me, began playing in high school, there was a big gap between those who learned quicker and those who didn't. However, everyone was supportive and advised each other, helping the team improve significantly. I was a very slow learner, so I spent a lot of time practicing at home until I got a better sense of control over the ball.
Advice for future students:
In club activities, there are a lot of moments where you might compare yourself to others. However, if you enjoy what you're doing and try your best, you will have improved greatly before you know it... so try to have fun!


TENNIS
M.O. (2nd Grade, F)
Reason I chose this club:
I had already been playing tennis for over 7 years, with breaks, and knew that I wanted to continue even in high school. It was one of the few things that stayed the same through my moves from Malaysia to the US to Japan and it was a way for me to de-stress. I knew that joining the tennis club would let me continue playing tennis while helping me make new connections with other students.
What we do during usual practice days:
We usually start off with stretching and then a basic warm up of rallies, volleys, and then ground strokes. If the coach comes that day we have some simple drills and if not we go into more rallies and some points. Before tournaments we spend most of our time playing matches against each other.テニス部190617_48.JPG
My favorite thing about being in the club:
I love playing tennis but I also love talking to my teammates between drills and just relaxing. Since tennis is therapeutic to me, I enjoy just having it as a way for me to let go of all the stress and emotions I have built up inside. I think more than the drills and the physical, I appreciate how tennis and the tennis club help me mentally.
Difficulties in the club:
I think the most difficult thing about being in the tennis club is learning how to work together. Since tennis is mainly a solo sport, it's hard to collaborate with your teammates to become stronger and communication was a big issue for us in the beginning. I had to learn how to listen to my teammates and help us all grow as a whole.
Advice for future students:
Communicate. Communication is the key in any club and especially in teams. Communicating will help you create stronger relationships with your teammates as well as just become a better person in general.


DANCE
Y.T. (2nd Grade, M)
Reason I chose this club:
I chose to be in the dance club mainly because my friends were in it. I didn't join the club at the beginning of the year or when school actually started. I decided to join in December. It would be a lie if I said it was going to be the best time of my life, but I don't regret being in the club and I get to have a lot of time with my friends.
What we do during usual practice days:
On normal practice days we would do stretches and practice the basics of dance. Simple things like walking, to moving only our necks and hips. When dancing, even the littlest moves can make a big impact. Having a strong base is a very important thing.
My favorite thing about being in the club:
To be honest I don't know what I enjoy the most about being in the dance club. But I know for a fact that I'm having fun and enjoying the time there, because I have never thought of quitting. Of course I enjoy a lot of things being in the club. For example, dancing with my friends, getting to know the first years, and making my own dances are a few things that I enjoy doing in the club. However I still don't know what I enjoy the most. I'm just happy that I'm there and with my friends.ミラン写真④.jpg
Difficulties in the club:
Because I joined the club later on the year I had trouble fitting in and learning the dances that all my peers already knew. I had to practice a lot and with that I had to get to know everyone. I feel that putting it like this makes it seem like it was hard, but it was relatively simple for me. Everyone in the club was nice and they helped me get through everything. They helped me through the choreography and going over the blank I had. Everyone was so sweet and I was able to fit in really quickly. Because of this, I got to memorize the choreography relatively fast. All this is because everyone helped me throughout the process.
Advice for future students:
If anyone is thinking of joining the dance club, I would say go for it. I had a big blank and with that it was my first time actually dancing. Having a lot experience, having none, being good, being bad, being a guy, being a girl, being straight, being gay, it doesn't matter. If you have the guts to join and live through it, go for it!!!!!!

With every obstacle they face, including covid-19, the students of ICUHS were and still are able to continue enjoying their selected clubs to the fullest, and overcome them with the help from their teammates and friends
One thing we can draw from this report is that the relationship between the senpais and kouhais at ICUHS are very relaxed and friendly and we as senpais will help and advise the younger students anytime we're asked. Free feel to come talk to us anytime!
Lastly, we would like to thank the five students for their participation and cooperation in making this article. The bonds within the clubs are stronger than ever now that they all went through the ups and downs together, which will prepare them for the upcoming hardships.
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