May 12, 2008

LaRocca Good Bye BBQ and Baseball Rokko Island Style

Unfortunate news has struck the baseball world of Japan and our good friends, the LaRoccas. Greg's elbow will require Tommy John surgery and major rehab back in the states and will most likely signal the end of his professional baseball career :( It also means our good friends are leaving Kobe. Although we've only known them for a few months, we bonded immediately with this family and feel like we've known them for years. We're so sad to see them go, but feel fortunate that we've made such nice friends.

Today we (Ilena and the kids) threw together an impromptu BBQ (mainly to help clean out our friends' fridge) and all gathered near the Rokko Island fountains with a grill, lots of food and lots of open space for all the kids to run around. All the gaijin baseball families as well as several of our other friends were there. It was really nice to all hang out together, albeit bittersweet. Several of the moms pitched in and got a sayonara doll for Amanda to have as a keepsake. The doll, dressed in kimono, comes with a scroll of washi paper rolled up around it - the perfect place for us to all write a little "sayonara wish."

After we polished off all the goodies, we headed to the field around the corner where the kids (especially Jacob and his new friends, Jordan and Jake Ford) and the Dads were ready to play ball. In Rokko Island style, the kids got to hit while the Dads threw the pitches and gave lots of professional pointers. We told Jacob that he had better listen, since these were real Hanshin Tigers giving him special baseball tips. The Moms worked the bases while the baseball Dads pitched and helped out in the batters box. (Yes, that's Lauren below with the bat - she got a turn too, though she had more fun running around the bases with some of the players' dogs.)

It was a great afternoon - Jacob was positively glowing with delight at being able to play ball with famous baseball players. We'll miss our friends a lot - but we can't wait to visit them in New Hampshire.

One thing that has become quite evident to us in our short time here is that the gaijin community of Rokko Island is such a tight one. We're all very much in the same position and we all need each other - people make friends very quickly and we are so excited that we now have friends, literally, all over the world.

1 comment:

jackaw said...

motik112088sushiAfter a week-long cold caused by Beth forcing me to play 18 holes in the rain, it was a joy to read and watch the clan play baseball, visit Tokyo, say good-bye to friends and continue to soak up Japan. It's the best I've felt for seeming-ever and I'm smiling all over. Belated Happy Mother's Day, Ilena and loads of love to all. Never thought a trip to Japan could be shared so closely. See you soon.