OkiLog#2: Sandlot

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The pitcher winds up during a softball game.

It’s 0600.  A ray of light peeks in through gaps between our curtains.  Allison stirs. Then the chanting begins.  Not Benedictine Monks, not Druids, but 10-year-old Okinawan boys.  They scream their heads off, regardless of the hour, calling cadence as they warm up.  They rival a group of grown Marines with their volume.  Allison mutters a curse and pulls the pillow over her head. We’re old hands at this.

Behind our apartment, nestled in the urban sprawl, lies an enormous sand recreational field. It measures approximately 75 meters wide and 140 meters long.  It hosts all types of sporting and recreational events, but the most common is bat-and-ball sports.  When we moved in I was convinced that the noise “wouldn’t be a that big of a deal.”  Yeah, right.

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   A view of the ball field after dinner. Sometimes they forget to turn off those lights.

The children’s warm-up happens almost every Saturday and Sunday and serves as my weekend alarm clock, but their never the first ones on the field.  Several different Grandma-Sans and Grandpa-Sans get up before dawn to log some power-walking laps around the perimeter.  Sometimes on the weekdays, I’ll be getting into my car to go to work early, and they’ll surprise me.  They creep out of the night like mismatched ninjas hell-bent on staving off osteoporosis.

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This is only a fraction of the people that gather here on the weekends. Note the East China Sea in the background. It was on that shoreline that American forces first landed here on Okinawa

Sometimes, our TV will be drowned out by fervent hecklers, or an uproarious crowd.  Tournaments are hosted, old people play croquet, little children play soccer, and there’s been at least one beer festival.   I’m also known, on occasion, to scream taunts at the players.  They usually just look up at me, smiling and waving, no matter how harsh my challenges/curses/questions of lineage.  Occasionally, I’ll completely disrupt an entire practice by pulling out one of my didgeridoos and blasting it directly at the players, but the didge is a whole other blog story.

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