Friend: “What did you get up to last night mate?”
Me: Went to play Dodgeball!
Friend: *Suspicious Looks* “Dodgeball?”
Me: Yeah, through meetup.com, it was great banter.
Friend: “OK, … what did you actually do though?”
Me: Seriously, dodgeball, there was plenty of people there and they go for drinks after.
Friend: “Fine, dude, don’t tell me, it’s cool”
Me: I’m not lying
Friend: Who plays dodgeball having just arrived in Tokyo … ?
Colleague: What did you do on your first night in Tokyo?
Me: Went to play Dodgeball!
Colleague: *Strange Looks* “Dodgeball … really?”
Me: Yeah, through meetup.com, it was good banter.
Colleague: *Strange Looks* “With adults … adult dodgeball?”
Me: Yes, there was a good crowd and it was a lot of fun.
Colleague: “I thought only little kids played dodgeball”
Actual conversations I had after my first Dodgeball experience with the Dodgeball Friendship club through Meetup.com organised by Will a very sociable Dodgeball aficionado from America. It was my 4th time in the city and I wanted to get out, meet some people and experience something new. Growing up in Ireland, it’s not a sport anyone ever plays, so this was my first attempt and it’s a lot more difficult than the movie would lead you to believe.
The instructions on how to find the meetup was detailed but anyone looking lost around the venue should be picked up by a regular. The events are held in elementary school halls around Tokyo. There is a quick explanation of the rules for newbies and then everyone dives right into games. Everyone mixes in and it’s easy to start conversations with anyone else.
As a sporty person and having just ran Kyoto marathon, I had illusions of Dodgeball grandeur. Diving to catch a ball, before a roll into a powerful throw hitting whomever I wanted with expert precision. The reality was quite different with my throwing weak and inaccurate and seasoned veterans picking me off at will when they felt like it.
Ignoring the performance, it was a great activity, well run and very cheap for Tokyo. It’s a great way to meet super friendly people and get some exercise at the same time. Travel doesn’t always have to be selfies at tourist hotspots and overpriced meals. Getting out and living like a local can more often than not generate an experience that is more authentic and fulfilling and can provide better stories.
I’ve now been multiple times and will continue to join in on future trips to Tokyo. My dodgeball skills are increasing at a glacial pace but the fun has maintained throughout.
Finally in a stroke of pure irony the friend from the initial conversation above, looked it up, went and now goes twice a week while running a team in the Dodgeball tournaments organised through the group. I’d advise you give it a go as well!