In the few scrimmages we've played so far, I've got a chance to get a better understanding of the mindset and attitude of my fellow teammates. In general, I'd say Japanese people are polite to a fault. Apologizing for any and everything. Often times when they weren't even involved in the problem at hand. However, as I reflect on my days in other cities back home, I must say, I'll take an unnecessarily(cause that's a word)-apologetic person over an inconsiderate punk a$$ ANY DAY!
The crazy thing about Tokyo is, there are something like 30 million people living in this metropolitan area, yet when I walk through the EXTREMELY crowded train stations, rarely do I feel any sort of stress or frustrations. My friend Theresa was just out here from New Jersey and she commented on how orderly everyone is. They wait in lines to get on the train and are very polite about sandwiching into a train car that has at least 25 more people in it than any New Yorker would ever allow. I will confess, I wish someone would just push em out! Believe you me, I've tried to play that 'intimidating black man standing at the door' card, but they didn't bat an eyelash at sliding their hand inside the train, FOR LEVERAGE, and throwing a hip right in. I'll give em credit though, they're real slick with it. They put their backs to you, and just PUSH. No eye-contact, no acknowlegement whatsoever. Just a "I'm getting on this train whether you like it or not." Deal with it!! (defeated voice) "And I do."
Back to basketball, 4 of the 5 Japanese members of our team play for a streetball league called "Legends." This is something similar to the And 1 mixtape tour that we see back in the states. For those of you who've watched any of the And 1 shows, you know things can get real heated, both on the court and in the lockeroom. With this squad it's been exactly the opposite. The demeanor that each uses towards each other is surprisingly respectful. Although this is the cream of the crop, I was expecting a little more fire during time-0uts. However, what I really love, is everybody's got a little swagger with em. Unlike most ballplayers I've seen out here, they're not afraid to just holler, for the sake of hollering. Hit a shot, and let someone know about it. I'm hoping that edge continues, as we'll soon be matching up with talent far greater than what we've seen so far here in Japan. But regardless of how it goes down, I know my guys are gonna rise to the occasion without question....... right guys??