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Finally... about Japan

Japan... How was Japan...? The question that is and will be asked a lot... and for now also the question I didn’t know how to answer... Was it what I expected, yes and no. No... I expected to be able to adjust quicker No... I hit instead of pitched mostly No... I got hurt and there didn’t seem to be a solution Yes... I did get out of my comfort zone Yes... it was tough and it made me stronger Yes... it was the best step I could take All in all I can say I got to see, listen, smell, feel and taste both the Japanese culture as the Japanese softball and I got the chance to grow througoh all of it. I found a quote this summer: stay commited to your decisions but stay flexible in your approach. It opened my eyes. After many people saying different things about what is expected from me, what they want from me, what I need to do. I realized this was my decision and it is also my chance to grow and therefore be flexible in my approach. I am the only person present in all moments, the only person that feels my body and the only person that can feel my mind. My dream, my goals and my life. When I signed to represent Minamo last November, there was no doubt, only some homesickness. Throughout the months of 2018 the doubts came. How do I do this, how do I stay positive when I feel negative. How do I stay commited to each of the three teams I represent. How do I excel without rest days. Is my body tired, or is it my mind? Where did it start? How do I get better? Am I getting better? Will it go away? So many questions, fed by being homesick and unanswered because they were mine to answer... now. The answer for me was in going back to Ogaki for the second half, and finding myself as a more mature, experienced and hurt player. Hurt? Yes, something I have felt many times in my softball life. The feeling that they don’t see how hard you work physically but mostly mentally, how much you fight and how good you can be. A feeling that is created in the mind, and for me a feeling that is very familiar. It frustrates me, and it hurts me, but it also makes me fight. Fight, and evolve. To stick with the japan theme. As in Pokémon, eevee can evolve into 8 different evolutions, well let me try! As I just arrived back in the Netherlands to join Team Kingdom of the Netherlands in the Super 6 tournament, the last part of the 2018 softball year has started. The past 10 days I was in Japan for the first two games of the second half of the season there. We won one of the two, a good start, a promising start. The upcoming 2,5 weeks I am in the Netherlands to be part of a Team Kingdom of the Netherlands that will be different. In what ways, we will have to find out! After the Super 6 I go back to Japan for the finish of the season. 7 more games to play, 3,5 weeks to be part of Minamo’s first season in the JSL. As you read above I did not have an easy year. I never ask for easy challenges, but this one was definitely harder than what I expected it to be. I kept going, unhappy, and feeling useless. But now, moving on, looking with different thoughts and a whole lot more experience I am happy and proud to say that I took this chance, and only just got to the beginning of this new step. Where at first the practices, meetings, bus rides and events seemed to be endless. Now I enjoy every little bit of it. And I should probably share with you what a week in Japan looks like. Stay tuned, I will be back writing some blogs about my experiences in the JSL season soon :)

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