Throughout the spring semester I participated in a futsal circle called “Ivy” as my CIP. Futsal, if you don’t know, is basically indoor soccer on smaller fields. We had practices on alternating Tuesdays and Sundays near Takeda station, and it was a very casual experience. During the spring semester most Doshisha circles don’t have activities until April, so with the help of my sensei I was able to find a circle outside of school. The circle mostly consisted of people who are already working, but there were some other university students as well. Even if there weren’t any university students I feel as though I still would have fit in well though. Everyone there was very kind and welcoming and I’d definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a soccer circle to join. The practices mostly consisted of scrimmages and just having fun, and they also split it up based on whether or not you had previous soccer experience, so I think anyone could fit in well.
At first I was quite nervous attending the practice, as I really had no idea what kind of experience to expect. I was pleasantly surprised and everyone there was extremely kind. It was a bit nerve wracking through, since I was the only foreign participant. Everyone else was Japanese, but I was able to communicate adequately and had a great time. Attending these practices definitely made me feel more comfortable using my Japanese with new people. It was a bit scary at first, as I really didn’t want to offend anyone, but I don’t think anyone should worry about that too much. Everyone there was extremely welcoming, and even complimented my Japanese although I’m sure they were just being polite. As for cultural differences between American and Japanese soccer, they weren’t really there. It’s pretty much the same game, and I can’t speak for all Japanese soccer circles, but this one was very casual and fun. One thing I did notice though was everyone seemed to be more polite and quiet when playing.
If I had the chance to choose a CIP again, I think I would definitely still choose “Ivy”, I had a great experience and would definitely recommend it. Without this circle I don’t think I would have been able to experience and meet new people who weren’t similar ages to me or university students. I was able to gain an insight into what it is like to work in Japan through their explanations, and see what some working people do in Japan during their leisure time. I got to hear about things like overwork and the working drinking culture, which was pretty interesting to me.
As advice for people looking for their CIP, I’d definitely recommend starting your search pretty early. I was determined to do some kind of sports club/circle when I was looking, and it turned out to be more difficult than I thought, especially because it was the spring semester, as I mentioned earlier. If anyone is struggling to find their CIP or currently looking, I’d definitely recommend contacting as many circles and groups as you can, as you never know if you will receive a timely reply. For my future kohai I hope you all enjoy your CIP to the fullest, don’t be shy, and make as many friends as you can. I’m really glad I had the opportunity to join this circle, and if I have the opportunity, I would definitely do it again.