I had only just arrived back in Singapore for a day or two when I found to my surprise, a warmly-worded e-mail invitation from 谷先輩 -which gently inquired if I would be game for dinner this week with the other OBs who were in Singapore - sitting in my inbox. I must admit that I was not caught that off-guard regarding 谷先輩's prompt hospitality though, for such is the heartwarming closeness that I have come to be increasingly fond of, a distinctive trademark of our Judo club here at Hitotsubashi University, if you will.

Aside from 岩松先輩, with whom I have had the honor of meeting at the Annual General Meeting of the 柔友会 back in Tokyo, I had not yet had the chance to get to know the rest of the Singapore-based OBs: we were barely even acquaintances, united only by our common connection with Judo, yet that alone was enough to see them set aside precious free time in what must have been a most busy work week to meet with a newly minted freshman. I suspect that it is these very same bonds that see our OBs in Japan coming back for training, indulging us with their attention and priceless advice, whenever they are available.

Dinner on Wednesday (15 Feb) unfolded most enjoyably: blessed with the dignified company of 西並先輩, 谷先輩 and 岩松先輩, it turned out to a most fulfilling night, with many a stimulating exchange regarding Singapore's climate (meteorological, socio-economic and otherwise), the current state of affairs in Japan, not forgetting, of course, the allure of Judo, traded as we feasted on mouthwateringly scrumptious 焼き鳥 and fragrant 日本酒.

There was an observation by 岩松先輩 that night that left a particularly deep impression on me. He recounted how he had seen in his line of work that when push came to shove and looming deadlines meant mounting pressure, it was generally the employees who had dedicated years of their lives training in sports clubs during their high school or university education who fared the best and persevered until the end. A contentious assertion perhaps, but I do think that it is probably no coincidence that it is the battle-worn sportsmen, who have endured the rigors of being pushed to their limits, of having to stare down fierce competition, who adapt better to the inherent stress that plagues every workplace.

Another 'fringe benefit' wrought by Judo raised that night would be 谷先輩's anecdote of how he was overseas, in a totally foreign land when a stranger came up to him and asked about his ears, having recognized that they were slightly misshapen (a sure sign of a boxing or martial arts background). When 谷先輩 informed the stranger that he was a practitioner of Judo, the reply that came was a decidedly passionate "Oh JUDO! My friend!", accompanied by a firm, friendly handshake, no less.

I guess the bonds fostered by Judo know no bounds indeed, if only you allow yourself the opportunity to be enriched by them.



| OB・OG近況 | 20:31 | comments:0 | trackbacks:0 | TOP↑