What I have enjoyed the most about AIU over the past semester has been the opportunities to connect with other students through club activities.
AIU Clubs: Experiencing Different Cultures within the Familiar
During the fall I joined Baseball, Basketball and Campus Art clubs and met a ton of new and interesting people. All of the clubs were extremely welcoming and I had no trouble fitting in. By playing in tournaments and winning games we all bonded, creating experiences and relationships that I will never forget.
Clubs in AIU hold a very strange place in my life. The atmosphere at times feels like a microcosm of Japanese life, full of respect and complex social interactions, but more often than not when I am playing, I can’t help but be reminded of home.
Baseball Styles in Japan and America
Having played baseball for 9 years of my life, stepping on the diamond again feels both nostalgic and fresh. The mentality and the way the game is played here is quite different from home. Instead of the usual major league hardballs we use Nanshiki balls which are made from a sort of hardened rubber. This changes the game in ways that sadly I haven't quite adjusted to yet.
The mindset of players here is also quite different from what I am used to. To me it seems like players in the US tend to treat sports with an almost work-like reverence. But at AIU the spirit of fun is still alive, even while we aim to win it all.
Sense of Community
Another amazing thing is everyone’s willingness to participate in activities. I come from a school in which getting 4 people in a room together is an almost impossible task. At AIU everyone seems to want to contribute and play, making every practice both challenging as a player as well as energetic and fun.
Recently the seniors have left for job hunting, forcing me to change up my game and play style to fill the void. It is tough but it provides a great opportunity to grow as both a player and as a member of this unique community.