D and His Golden Balls

As an ALT (Assistant Language Teacher) in Japan, I have four schools that I visit each week. One is my ‘base school’ which is where my supervisor is and where all my paperwork (of which there are trees worth) takes place. The other three are called ‘visit schools’, where I am never seen as a real member of staff. It is a deal that works well for everyone, as I literally pop in each week and help them where they see fit for a day. This does mean that it would be very unlikely for me to ever be invited to anything ‘extra’ at these schools. Until recently…

I was invited to a group bowling party being held by one of my schools that is closing in April. The invite extended to Dan too. After a long week, I wasn’t sure what to expect from the event. Well, picture a bowling party of about 20 people, which had been precision organised in the way that only the Japanese can!

We arrived to a desk to check off our attendance and collect our ‘prizes’ and a handicap score for me (I try not to think too much about the way this reflects on the perception of women at this school). I had no real idea what all of this meant, and we were then quickly hustled off to get shoes and sit down with our group. The group consisted of an English teacher and an administrator that speaks a little English too. Once sitting, they proudly announced that Dan had been selected to open the bowling ceremony. Who has ever heard of an opening ceremony for bowling?! Dan, reluctantly and with very little real choice, agreed.

The opening ceremony arrived. Dan got up to select his bowling ball of choice as the crowd eagerly awaited his infamous skills…but they knew there was more coming. A stirring of the group behind us caused us to turn, and behold, the opening ceremony bowling ball was being presented to Dan by a man wearing a jacket so pink and polyester. It was golden. The ball was golden. Dan and his golden ball.

I have never seen Dan that shade of red before. I was a little concerned, but soon, hilarity took over, and I snapped as many shots of this very unique and amusing experience as possible. Dan proceeded to smash all of the school bowling records with three back to back strikes and a score around 100 more than anyone else in the group. Still, my generous handicap a few unexpected strikes saw me win second place and a tasty 2,000 yen. Overall, I earnt the true staff member respect of this visit school for the first time ever…haha, what a way to do it!

#Yamaguchi #Bowling #Dan’sGoldenBalls

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