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Top>HAKUMON Chuo [2015 Summer Issue]>Short-term study abroad for volleyball at Italy’s Modena

Hakumon CHUOIndex

Global Human Resource Development

In front of his locker in the changing room
Number 14, next to the name plate, is his uniform number.

Short-term study abroad for volleyball at Italy’s Modena

Yuki Ishikawa’s professional experience and possiblities at Chuo University and All Japan University Volleyball

Yuki Ishikawa (2nd year student in the Faculty of Law) from Chuo University was chosen to be one of the 4 “NEXT 4” players who will be in the Japan’s national volleyball team as the leaders of the next generation. He led Chuo University to win a complete victory for the Kanto University Spring Championship and the first victory for the All Japan University Volleyball Championship last December for the first time in 18 years. His great performance was based on the experiences with a professional volleyball team “Modena” for 3.5 months since last year to early this year. Modena is a world’s leading professional team in Italy. Student journalists asked him about his life in the country of pasta.
The interviewers were Takuma Nishimura (3rd year student in the Faculty of Economics) and Ion Naito (1st year student in the Faculty of Commerce).

――You are from Aichi, famous for its Kishimen noodles. What did you think about pasta in Italy?

“It was my first visit to Italy. We usually ate at a restaurant with which Modena has a contract. I ate my meals there almost every day. Both pasta and pizza were a little bit different from the ones in Japan, and I enjoyed them. The amount is huge. A whole pizza is for 1 person.”

――Italy is also a country of fashion.

“I was glad that I could find my size. I am tall, and my size is XXL. When we travelled for games, I was wearing the team’s sweatshirt and jersey pants. Even when I made a courtesy visit to the mayor, I was wearing the team’s polo shirt and jeans pants. I have never worn formal attire with a tie. Sorry, I do not have much story about fashion.”

Ishikawa contributed to win in the Coppa Italia, and the team received a medal.

When Ishikawa was a student at Seijo High School in Aichi, he led the team to win the unprecedented 3 crowns of the Interscholastic Athletic Meet, the National Athletic Meet, and the All Japan High School Spring Championship for 2 consecutive years. After entering Chuo University, he was chosen to be a member of the All Japan after being a member of the All Japan Junior. He has been performing well at the All Japan, and the team won a silver medal at the 2014 Incheon Asian Games.

Modena is a professional volleyball team in Italy and various players come to join the team from around the world. Modena approached Ishikawa in July last year to ask for his interest in joining the team. He stayed with the team from December last year until the end of March this year based on the conditions of amateur agreement and short-term student visit.

――Where were you living in Italy?

“I was living in an apartment-type hotel contracted with the team. One suite was allocated to one person. There were two rooms of 8 tatami mat size, kitchen, and bathroom. A cleaner came once a week. At the dormitory of Chuo University, I share 1 room with 3 other students. For this reason, initially I was very excited to have moved into a large space from a very small room. However, gradually, I felt that the space was too large and I got bored.”

――How did you go to the gym from there?

“I got a ride from my teammate Petrić (from Serbia) from the hotel to the gym. On my way back, I asked my teammates who live in the same hotel where they would be going, and if they were going back to the hotel, I asked them to give me a ride.”

――What type of car is he driving?

“Citroen. In the city, I saw cars that are hardly seen in Japan.”

――How did you move around when you are alone?

“I used a public bus. At first, I was worried. When the bus did not come on time, I asked people around me who were also waiting for the bus, and that’s how I survived. People spoke to me, and I was welcomed.”

――How was it joining the world’s leading team?

“I am 191cm tall, but still I was the third shortest person, excluding the libero players. The tallest player is 2m10cm tall. Half of the players are above 2m, and the rest are between 195 cm to 2m. My teammate called me Yuuki. I was the youngest, even though there were many young players.”

――What is the official language in the team?

“Italian. Players were from Brazil, France, Serbia, Germany and Belgium. All of them could speak Italian. When teaching me, they used English.”

Sometimes he cooks. He made pancakes on this day.

Modena is a prestigious team which won over 10 times at Serie A (Italian volleyball league). At a cup competition “Coppa Italia” which was held while Ishikawa was there, they won the 11th victory. The team members included Bruno (setter) from Brazil, Petrić and Kovačević from Serbia (both are left). Another left was N’Gapeth with a beard from France. The libero players include the world-famous players such as Rossini from Italy. The team is well known for developing young players. Modena is a city of Ferrari, famous for the Formula 1 car.

――How was your Italian?

“Before I came back to Japan, I could almost understand everything what I heard. Initially, I could not speak well. I could not even tell the setter what I wanted. Communication is very important. Synchronizing with other players affects the game results. Manager Angelo always communicated with me. After practices, he was like my father. I trusted him. I have the same relationship with the manager at Chuo University. I am very grateful for it.”

――How was professional volleyball?

“They have height and power that I had not experienced in Japan. The foreign players were strong and their bodies were huge. Their power was completely different.”

――How was the cheer from the fans?

“The venues had one court just like NBA (National Basketball Association in the USA) or a center court of Wimbledon. I thought that the spectator’s seats are behind the players. At an away game, we sometimes received a booing. We could hear them very well. The players also used a slang word when they made a mistake and got upset with themselves. Just like their play, their reactions were very powerful. I also saw the negative aspects of the foreign players. They sometimes got frustrated when they could not play well. They were not always strong. We knew we can win in these situations.”

――One day, you will play against them at the world Championships. Your observation must be helpful in the near future. What are your goals?

“As a member of the volleyball team of Chuo University, I will aim at winning the spring and autumn championships. I have been chosen as a member of the All Japan and am committed to victory in the World Cup. After that, if there are opportunities, I would like to go overseas to learn again. I would like to gain skills and enhance capacities to join the first team overseas. Something may happen anytime, so I am always in anticipation.”

――Would you like to play in Italy as a professional player?

“University is a very important place for me. Modena approached me when I was at Chuo. It was unexpected, and I was very happy about it. I would not have gone to Italy, if it had been based on a professional agreement. I still do not have enough skills, so I wanted to go there to learn. Going to learn as a student is the best style for me now. I would like to go anywhere while being a student, whenever I would receive an invitation.”

The World Cup in the struggle for getting the tickets to the coming Olympic Games in Reo de Janeiro will be held on September 8 in Tokyo and other places (until 23rd). We look forward to seeing his dynamic play.

(Photo shoot and provision =Kanako Kikuchi/Chuo University Volleyball team trainer)