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Chances Abound, Especially When You're in a Slump!
The Vice-captain of the Women's Lacrosse Team

Ms. Natsumi Koyanagi

When you hear about Koya-dofu (freeze-dried tofu), you're likely to envision the famous regional cuisine of Wakayama Prefecture, where Mt. Koya is located. But, did you know that about 98% of the Koya-dofu produced in Japan comes from Nagano Prefecture? "Is that true? I've always loved eating Koya-dofu along with rice, but I might get to like it even more now that I know it's actually from Nagano!", exclaimed Ms. Koyanagi, laughing. "There are also tons of delicious foods to be found in Nagano other than Koya-dofu including fruit and rice!" The attractiveness of Nagano became strikingly apparent through her remarks.

What were Ms. Koyanagi's reasons for leaving behind her beloved Nagano to study at Waseda? "I had an interest in coaching ever since my days in high school, and, after a variety of research, I ended up at Waseda." She has played basketball ever since elementary school, and has continued to practice day in and day out since high school. She enjoyed using every muscle in her body to chase after the ball and aim for the hoop. However, she also harbored doubts such as, "Is there really any point to training made up of practice for its own sake and nothing more?" "I believe that in order to play sports it is necessary to have an objective to work towards, but during my high school years, I was satisfied with mere practice." Her basketball team was a strong local team that regularly played at national competitions. Since her basketball abilities showed such promise, she was advised to enter college under the recommendation of her high school, but instead she decided that "I wanted to go to a university where I could study what I truly wanted to study." After failing her first round of entrance examinations and having to wait a year to take them again, she enrolled in Waseda's School of Education. "I became interested in classroom coaching through 'skill coaching' for athletes. That's why I enrolled in the School of Education."

After becoming a student at Waseda, the first thing that Ms. Koyanagi thought was "I need some physical activity." And she thought that as long as she was going to do it, "I want to become the best in Japan under the name of Waseda!" She decided on lacrosse, a team sport in which she could utilize her experience in basketball and run as fast as her legs would carry her. "Most of the present team members have experience in other sports, and the fact that each individual member is utilizing his/her unique strong points is a major strength for the team itself." After beginning lacrosse, her perception of training has also dramatically changed. First off, she doesn't get frustrated, even during slumps. Being in a slump means that there is something to improve. During those times, it is better to take a break and think about what you need to do rather than forcing yourself to practice.

Ms. Koyanagi is currently seeking out how she should work with her team members as vice-captain in order to become the best team in Japan. "Even according to your voice, the entire atmosphere changes. I'm trying to figure out what kind of practice we should be doing in order to make sure every member of our team is working at their fullest. There are a lot of challenges, but it's worthwhile." She also shared something that she's noticed during her time on the lacrosse team, stating, "I want to become a person who is able to influence other people, just like I am being influenced in so many ways by my team members. I'm thinking that this also expresses the role I want to play in society." In this way, she has come to the conclusion that she wants to work at a job where she can influence society after she graduates. "The first thing that I want to do is be active in the community where I grew up. I want to work towards the final goal of a job related to municipal and prefectural government by starting out in my hometown, working my way to the city level, and finally to a prefectural level," said Ms. Koyanagi, showing a smile as bright as the floral designs on her scarf. In the near future, we may find Ms. Koyanagi in Nagano applying her experiences from Waseda as a female politician.

(Offered by WASEDA WEEKLY)

Ms. Natsumi Koyanagi

Born in Nagano Prefecture in 1988. She graduated from Saku Chosei Senior High School and is currently a third year student of the School of Education. She was selected for the 2010 Japan National Team for lacrosse, which she began playing after she entered Waseda. She is vice-captain of the Waseda Women's Lacrosse Team, and is currently devoting her days to practice in order to achieve victory at the August Kanto Student League Games. Her favorite foods are sweets, in particular "Japanese confectionaries, especially anko (red bean paste)!" She occasionally browses about the lower levels of department stores in search of these delicious Japanese treats.