November 28, 2006
International student kicks into his second year
Konichiwa, Talofa, Hello, my name is Michael James Fitzgerald; I am a second year student at Seiritsu High School in Japan. I am here on a three year scholarship for soccer and I am currently in my second year. I came to Japan from New Zealand, Auckland. In coming to Japan I have had many challenges such as; language, food, and style of soccer. From these challenges I have received many benefits not just soccer wise but, in my life skills and I am very thankful to Seiritsu for this.
Soccer life in Japan is very hard in all aspects on the field and off the field. In saying this it’s hard but very enjoyable; the level of play in all aspects speed, technique etc is so much higher than New Zealand that I can truly say that I have improved on my game a lot more than I would have if had stayed in New Zealand. The coaches are a great bunch of guys, all of them previously coming from Pro Clubs (Jef United, Urawa Reds) which means they have a great understanding of the game plus they have been to the top so know what is required to get there. The grounds are amazing; running course, weight room, top condition grass pitch, training pitch, tennis courts everything you could ask for.
I live in the dorm which is at the grounds; it is 40 minutes away from school. We wake up at 6am and all go have breakfast together, then we’re usually out of the dorm by 7am for the train. We get back at about 1:30pm for a 2:30pm training and usually after finishing, we each do personal training and weights, we all get in at around 7:30pm. We are allowed to eat dinner from 6:30pm so that is all set up for us. Lights out at 11pm every night. Really this is a schedule which I have learnt to live by and manage all daily things like washing cleaning etc.
School starts just like normal at 8:30am then we (the sports class) finish at 12:30pm and head to the ground for training. On Monday we have a full day of school as there is no training so we finish at 3:30pm. I take a variety of subjects art; cooking, calligraphy, english, karate, and of course japanese. My japanese has improved over the year and a half and I now find it easy to communicate. The school is amazing, the teachers all very willing to lend a hand. The food is awesome and the other good thing is it’s very reasonable in price. So I can say really loving the school life.
Coming to Japan has been probably the biggest decision I have made and am glad I made it, it has not only helped in my soccer and my dreamof becoming a pro soccer player, but has given me skills which will always be of use to me.