As it stood, I made about a 1.5 mile circuit, passing on my way the sites of half a dozen youth sports events, apparently all scheduled for Easter. In the indoor arena, I paused to watch a soccer tourney for 5th-grade boys, all of whom seemed to have been coached and trained on the semi-pro level (laser-aimed passes and sneaky strategic plays were the order of the day; even their 3rd-grade little sisters, presumably on after the guys' team game, were juggling balls on the sidelines with practiced ease). Further down the path, a raucous group of high-schoolers were in the midst of a doubles soft-tennis tournament, (a spinnier, sneakier game, the Japanese alternate-universe version of tennis, played with a longer racquet and a rubber ball of variable liveliness to allow for more squash-like play.)
Kid 1: "HELLO!"
Peanut Gallery: <--Shut up, doofus, you're supposed to say "HOW ARE YOU?"!>
Me: <It's OK, guys, I speak some Japanese...>
Peanut Gallery: <Whoa, he's good! Where are you from?>
Me: <You know Virginia, in America?>
Kid 2: <Not really... is that on the East Coast?>
Me: <Yep, towards the middle of the east side.>
Kid 3: <Do you have a girlfriend?>
Me: <Well, uh, I'm single right now. How about y'all?>
Kid 4: <Nah, but he's sweet on one of the girls on the basketball team. That's why we're all out here.>
Kid 5: <Shut up!>
Kid 3: "WHERE ARE YOU FROM?"
Peanut Gallery: <He already answered that one, dude!>
I crossed the frisbee-golf course in order to take the nature trail back to the University, a mossy path whose sylvan atmosphere was marred only slightly by a sign warning that suzume-bachi, Japanese giant sparrow-hornets, might be in the area ("If you find a nest, please, under no circumstances approach it. Back away slowly and quietly").
|AKA yak-killer hornets. The example picture is about life-size.|