Overseas Basketball Stories from Tyler Smith


#1

LOST IN JAPAN

This is the 3rd time I’ve done it. I left my bag on the train. I put it up on the rack above my seat. Forgot about it. Got off the train. Sayonara bag. Enjoy your travels with your new owner. I hope he/she loves and protects you like I couldn’t. In any other country, on any other public transportation, that bag is HISTORY like some of Tiger’s endorsement deals. But not in Japan. It’s the land of unlost things. I don’t think you can ACTUALLY lose anything here. It’s amazing.

Last season, my family had a fun day-trip planned to see the sights of Japan. I forgot our bag on the train which had every necessity for our 7-month old girl. If you don’t have kids, just know that they need SOMETHING about every 2 1/2 minutes. So, going anywhere for a full day without the bag of glory would be like trying to walk anywhere minus your feet and lungs. The look I got from my wife. Priceless. You would have thought I left the baby on the train.

Do you know how many trains there are in Japan? I had a better chance of finding Osama bin Laden than that baby bag.
However, about 4 hours later I got a call. Baby bag was safe. Resting comfortably in a Japan train station not far from our apartment. Unreal.

About 1 month later I left something else on the train. My laptop. I’m officially an idiot. Arguably 100 times more valuable than that diaper bag. Some humans apparently do NOT evolve.

This time I was not that worried though. Given my case study of losing the diaper bag, I was like, “Hey no problem.” The Japanese Lost Bag Special Ops Force was even FASTER this time. 90 minutes later, my Mac and I embraced. Tears of joy. The Japanese continue to amaze me with their organization, honesty, work ethic, and planning. I’ve even heard stories where people lost their wallet and someone personally delivered it to their home 2 hours away with nothing missing. Think that is going to happen in the New York Subway System? Probably, um, never.

I’m sure I’ll forget something again on a train. Let’s just hope she at least has her name inside her coat.

BASKETBALL - THE #1 LOSER

We made the All-Japan Finals! Again! And we lost. Again.

I think Seinfeld said it best of 2nd place. “No one lost ahead of you. Of all the losers, YOU were #1.”

The All-Japan Tournament is a mid-season break from regular season games. And man, it’s a big deal. Bigger than the 7-patty Whopper recently promoted in Japan (and then recently gone). The Emperor shows up to the games. The actual Emperor of Japan. That’s like Barack Obama coming to your game. But bigger than that. Obama is just a president. This guy is an EMPEROR. What a great title.

High schools, universities, 2nd div pro teams, and our pro league (JBL) all compete. ALL-JAPAN. We played a university team in the first round and won by 50. I think the university teams should get a bit of a handicap like maybe their baskets are worth 4 and 5 points each. But a couple of the pro teams actually barely escaped from being on the wrong end of a Cinderella story. We have since resumed regular season games and are just 2 games out of playoffs with 20 games to play. Very doable.

Despite our silver medal on live Japanese TV, we are playing much better. I am playing better, too, which serves Wine to Water (www.WineToWater.org) quite well. As a brief update and reminder for those of you who missed the last shout out, I am helping to raise money for the Wine To Water non-profit which provides clean drinking water to extremely poor countries. A MASSIVE “Thank You” to those who have jumped on board to donate and help others who don’t have a magic knob that gushes out water like we do.

More points from me = more wells and clean water for people who don’t have it in underdeveloped countries. More rebounds equals the same. The best pledges were from some very creative people. One buddy, Billy, is throwing in a quarter every time I turn it over. Apparently, he thinks that a few more risky passes will transform me into Steve Nash. I hope he’s got a coin-wrapping machine. If you tell my coach, I’ll deny it to my grave.

Another pledge from an unnamed source was for technical fouls. Each one I get will raise a few more bucks. Maybe this “pledger’s” favorite player is Ron Artest or something. Why don’t I just run in the Japanese crowd and start beating up old ladies? How much does that get me?

I can only remember 1 tech that I ever received. I even got thrown out for it. But, I didn’t get my money’s worth. I mean if you’re gonna get thrown out, have at it. In a summer league game, after a series of ridiculous intentional fouls by another player on me, I had had enough. I whipped the ball at the offender as hard as I could with some choice words. Unfortunately, it did not hit him in any area that would inflict the kind of pain I was hoping for at the time. So, maybe I’ve got some unfinished business in the technical foul area this season which can land a few more bucks in the Wine To Water jar. We’ll see.

For those of you who pledged based on ACTUAL dunks, can we change it to ATTEMPTS? Or STRONGLY CONSIDERED Attempts?

Livin’ the Japanese Dream,
Tyler-san


#2

The man may not be able to jump but he can sure spin a yarn. I love reading these little pieces about Tyler’s experiences in Japan. Thanks for posting.


#3

The poor child got his leaping ability from his father who was a swimmer with long slow twitch muscles.


#4

Good story.

Speaking of which, sounds like my wife. She was traveling a year or so ago and lost her license. I guess after she went through security she dropped it. Well when she got home she discovered it missing. A couple of days later, after we got a replacement, a township police officer showed up at the door and asked for my wife. He then handed her license to her. Here the license was found by a gate agent and they checked their system and for some reason they had another woman by the same name as my wife in the same town. They sent it to her and she knew the cop who brought it to us. Don’t ask why they just didn’t mail it to the address on the license, we don’t know other than it would make sense.


#5

Has anyone seen Tanner Smith play for Clemson? Looks like Tyler’s brother, except maybe a better outside shot. :smiley:


#6

Don’t belittle Tyler’s outside shot. He shot over 40% one season which was good enough to be ranked in the all time PSU season top ten at the time of his graduation (he’s since been bumped).


#7
[quote="psugrad83, post:5, topic:739"]Has anyone seen Tanner Smith play for Clemson? Looks like Tyler's brother, except maybe a better outside shot. :D[/quote]

Don’t belittle Tyler’s outside shot. He shot over 40% one season which was good enough to be ranked in the all time PSU season top ten at the time of his graduation (he’s since been bumped).

Tyler’s shot did really improve during his time at PSU. I’d love to have him on the team this year…any year for that matter. It was just a good-natured poke at him.


#8

The Japanese are an amazing bunch. In one of my several jaunts through the country, I was traveling via train, solo with a bunch of heavy items. I was amazed at all the people who stopped in their tracks to help me or offer help. Tremendous people.


#9

Maybe that was because you had your PSU hat on your head? ;D


#10
[quote="NittanyIllini, post:8, topic:739"]The Japanese are an amazing bunch. In one of my several jaunts through the country, I was traveling via train, solo with a bunch of heavy items. I was amazed at all the people who stopped in their tracks to help me or offer help. Tremendous people.[/quote]

Maybe that was because you hat your PSU hat on your head? ;D

OK, I’ll admit that I was doing work leading up the '98 Winter Olympics and had some Olympic garb on. People might have thought I was Hermann Meier or someone of that ilk and they were helping out an Olympian with his gear. Hopefully they didn’t confuse me with Brian Boitano :).


#11

I gotta share my Japan story, too.

I was in Tokyo for just a day with a couple friends en route to Hong Kong. We stopped to eat at a Sushi restaurant, but turned around to leave when we noticed that they were closing - sweeping the floors, putting the chairs up on tables, etc…

But they stopped us from leaving and said that they would stay open for us. Even though we were the only people in the restaurant, they served us up an amazing 5-course meal that took at least 2 hours to consume. It was the first time I ever had sushi, and I couldn’t believe how good it was (I’ve had it a lot since, and never found anywhere else close to that good).

They had a little serving set on the table for soy sauce that consisted of something similar to a little teapot, and several saucers. One of my friends just loved it and asked if they offered it for purchase. Alas, they said no. But then as we were leaving, the waiter came up to my friend and presented her with the serving set wrapped up in a package - a gift.

I was absolutely blown away. I spent 8 or 9 days in Hong Kong and just 1 in Tokyo, and I wish those numbers were reversed. But I’ll definitely be going back to Japan at some point in the future, and it won’t be just for a day.


#12

Great stories, guys. Thanks for posting.