Thursday, June 30, 2005


Today at OIT, we taught the kids how to play cricket. Japanese know baseball, but most of them have never heard of cricket. When you demonstrate how the bat is held, they think you are talking about croquet, which is called gateball in Japan, and is played on dirt patches by old people. Japan's bowls.

So we thought a little bit of education was called for. We were lucky to have a cricket bat - left here by a previous teacher, I don't know who. We used tennis balls, of course, I would not have played if we were using real balls! For the wicket, we taped empty canned coffee cans together. We played indoors, in the gym (which was a bit rough on the poor bat, which they had to leave at the one wicket, although most of the students placed it on the floor rather gently before running!).

There are three classes held at one time, by three different teachers. Australian Adam, chief cricket expert, coach, and umpire. Californian Jess, who was, of course, completely ignorant and quite bemused to learn about crotch-rubbing bowlers, silly mid-ons and matches that last five days. And me, who hates playing cricket, would never sit down to actually watch a game, but who has managed to absorb enough of the game by osmosis to at least act like I knew what I was doing.

We have 6-8 students each, so put together, we had enough for two teams. We started out with a cricket lecture at the whiteboard, rough diagrams all over the place, the essential vocab - 'runs', 'wicket', 'crease'...and twenty-odd dumbfounded faces. It was easiest to do a demo, and then just start playing.

We managed to convince them to say 'bowler' and 'wicket keeper' instead of 'pitcher' and 'catcher'. It was harder to convince them to protect the wicket, they kept jumping back to let the ball pass, like in baseball! The amount of times I had to go and tell them to put the bat down!

The good thing was thouhg, that they really got it, and by the end of the 90 minute lesson they were starting to play with a little bit of strategy, realizing they could choose to run, figuring out how to get people out, even yelling something that almost sounded like 'howzat!' when they got someone out.

Highlights inlcuded one boy doing a pastiche of baseball sliding and actually sitting on the floor and delicately touching his toes to the crease. And another boy slam-dunking the wicket - and missing! Another boy apologizing for hitting Adam with the tennis ball. Adam hiting Jess on the head with a soccer ball was pretty funny too. A bowler rolling the ball along the ground - and bowling the batter out!

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