現在位置:
  1. asahi.com
  2. ニュース
  3. English
  4. Asahi Weekly
  5. 記事

【Essay】'Ganbappe!' Nippon

部活に見る 日本のスポーツ根性

By Daniel Kahl

 ロンドン五輪の話題でもちきりのなか、ダニエルさんは今回、日本のスポーツ文化の大きな柱をなしている学校の部活動について語ります。1977年に交換留学生として奈良県の智弁学園に在籍したダニエルさんは柔道部に入りました。そこで見たものは、米国の部活とはだいぶ違ったようです。

 When I first came to Japan as an AFS exchange student in 1977, I attended Chiben Gakuen High School in Nara, a school well-known for its sports program. Our baseball team was particularly famous. That year, our team went to both of the big national tournaments held at Koshien stadium in spring and summer. As a fellow student, I traveled by bus with my classmates to the stadium several times to cheer them on.

 I remember the first time I entered the stadium. The atmosphere was electrifying. On the field, serious looking young men concentrated on every pitch. In the stands, every seat was occupied. And it was noisy. People were banging on huge Japanese-style drums. And thousands of students, each holding plastic megaphones, were chanting kattobase (literally "make it fly") and other words I could not quite make out. I was surprised at how powerful and coordinated the cheering was.

 I had, of course, attended many high school football games in the United States and cheered along with the cheerleaders. Their routines of singing and dancing were catchy and fun to watch. They were also cute. (In fact, many guys went to the games just to watch the cheerleaders. They were not so interested in watching the game itself.)

 This sort of female cheerleading has become very popular in Japan recently, too. But back in 1977, the cheer squads here were strictly male. They marched, waved their arms, and shouted in perfect unison. Chiben's head cheerleader wore a very long school blazer, white gloves, and had a hachimaki prayer cloth tied around his closely cropped head. He led the crowd, shouting at the top of his lungs for the entire game. This was pure culture shock for me. But it revealed something about the Japanese personality - devotion.

 Even though the cheerleading was a sideshow to the main event of the day (the game), they did it to the best of their ability. In Japan, if you are going to do something, do it as hard as you can. This is true especially when it comes to sports.

 At Chiben, I experienced this devotion firsthand. During the regular PE class, we got the chance to try out several different sports: soccer, judo, volleyball, softball, handball, gymnastics and basketball. Believe it or not, all of these sports were new to me except basketball. I had never tried them before.

 After you find out which sport you like best, you can join the "club" which practices after school every day. I decided to join the judo club because I was interested in martial arts. It was really intense. We practiced for more than two hours every afternoon in all four seasons. We also had early morning practice once or twice a week. However, before a tournament, we would have early morning practice every day. This devotion meant that we all became very good at judo. We won a lot of tournaments.

柔軟性を欠く日本の部活

 However, one problem with this complete dedication is its lack of flexibility. Once you join a sport club, it is almost impossible to quit and switch to a different sport. I remember that I asked a member of the kendo club if I could join them for a week - just to try it and see what it was like. I knew I would never have such a chance after returning to the United States.

 The news of my request spread like wildfire. An English teacher came to me later that day and explained that it would be extremely difficult to switch clubs, even for one week.

 I didn't understand the fuss. Another teacher also tried to talk me out of it. I countered that I just wanted to learn as much as possible during my one year in Japan. Eventually the principal had to intervene and we came to a compromise. I could go to kendo practice instead of judo, but only for two days. I still didn't understand the problem with my request, but I agreed. I went to kendo for two days, which was long enough because they beat the heck out of me. That is one painful sport if you don't know what you're doing.

 When I went back to judo practice after that, the guys treated me like a traitor, and then they beat the heck out of me. Well, of course, they didn't literally beat me. But, remember, judo is a martial art. All they had to do was throw me a little harder than usual. And it hurt. They were mad at me for a month. I certainly learned my lesson about the fierce competition between the various sports clubs. Ouch.

 Back then, it was different in the United States where each sport has a season. Guys who were good at sports (the "jocks") could participate in several every year: football in fall, basketball in winter, baseball in spring. High schools in the United States encourage students to try many different things, both academically and athletically. But in Japan, if you join a particular club, you stick with it for three years and do nothing else.

 I suppose there are advantages to both systems. As we can see from this year's Olympic Games, both Japan and the United States are doing quite well in the medal rankings. Gambare!

  • cheer...on (野球部を)応援する
  • electrifying 衝撃的な
  • could...out 聞き取れなかった、理解できなかった
  • routine(s) 型どおりの演目
  • shouting...lungs (声援を)声を限りにあげる
  • PE physical education の略。体育
  • spread...wildfire (うわさなどが)瞬く間に広がった
  • tried...it やめるように説得を試みた
  • counter(ed) 反論した
  • intervene 仲裁する
  • beat...me 私をコテンパンにやっつけた
  • jock(s) 俗語で運動選手

朝日新聞購読のご案内

初心者でも楽しく読める 週刊英和新聞

クリックすると見本が見られます

information

「週刊英和新聞 朝日ウィークリー」
(1カ月 970円・1部 250円/税込み)
購読申込み
※左の画像をクリックすると全頁の見本を見ることができます

Astandで英語学習

Astandで英語学習

朝日の時事英語

「朝日の時事英語」

和英対照・天声人語/英文法トレーニング...

Advertise