As the only European in her team, 24-years-old pitcher Eva Voortman from the Netherlands, is going to play in one of the best softball competitions in the world. This season she will be playing for Ogaki Minamo in the highest division in Japen, where she signed a professional contract for one year.

Her journey to Japan was long. ‘It took me eleven hours to go from Amsterdam to Osaka. I made an attempt to sleep, but it didn’t really work. Some movies, music and games brought me to Japan. When I arrived, the team director came to pick me up and together we went to Ogaki by train, the city where my team is’.

Her first days of practice took place in Ogaki ‘After already three days, we departed to the training camp. During the camp we spent a lot of hours on the field and it was really cold. The moments where I thought that we wouldn’t have practice, or that we would take a break, I was wrong. In those moments we went to the gym, or if there was snow we would wipe it away and go for it again. With seven to eight hours of practice per day and freezing temperatures for two and a half weeks, it was pretty hard for me! Last month we had a lot of practice games. During the week we practiced from 13:30 until we were done. It varied from six to eight hours. The Japanese girls work in the mornings, so that is the reason why we practice in the afternoon.’

And what about her life in Japan? ‘I’m kind of used to the life here now, but still there are a lot of things that are different here, or that I ‘need’ to do different. I like it a lot here, there are a lot of funny moments. I live in an apartment, I have a bike and I can find my way through the supermarket. Sometimes I even eat lunch with sticks, simply because it’s easier with some dishes. So slowly it’s getting more and more Japanese. So in general life is good here!'

For the upcoming season she expects it to be a good one. ‘We already played a few games against some teams which are also in our competition. The goal of our club is to keep playing in the league. I definitely think that that’s something we can do. The team is young, works hard and there’s a lot of support from the city, companies and people around the team. So I think it will be a great season. I think it will not be easy, but that makes it even a more exciting challenge!’

- Romy Marinus -