History from the beginning to the end

Everything started from one signature

Late May, 2004

I went to a lecture of a political party. After the lecture, I was invited to participate in a discussion in which young folks can ask two politicians some questions. Although the title of the discussion was "let's question our politicians!!" nobody was asking question. An uncomfortable atmospher was there. I couldn't stand the silence, so I decided to ask whatever I can break the silence. I asked: "How can I ask my city to build a basketball court in my town?" One of the politicians answered that conducting a campaign to collect signatures for a pettition is the best way. He also told me that his party can give me more ideas in detail. Few days later, youth organization of his party faxed me an example of petition paper. I took the idea and I made my petition paper..

At the moment, I thought about my junior high school student year. My friends and I tried to ask our city to build a basketball court in our town 10 years ago. But that time, we did not know much about politics and adults around us weren't helpful at all, so even though we collected signatures, we never knew what to do after. Now as a grown up man who knows more about politics, I had more confidence to make this petition successful. Especially because I saw many nations, and I can believe that having outdoor basketball courts is normal.

With that idea, I started collecting signatures. It was not actually hard to get signatures. I just went to my town's gym which I always go to play basketball on Wed, Fri and Sat and gave copies of the petition paper to the basketball players who I play with. And after about three weeks, i collected the copies. One time some of the people from the youth organization and I went to Toke station to get signatures too. Consequently people in the town were positive about having an outdoor basketball court , so we got about 400 signatures only in 3 weeks. With the youth organization, I went to give the papers to the Chiba city hall.

In the first visti, I submitted the petition papers, and also in order to give them a concrete image of street basketball courts, I took photos of foreign street basketball courts where I played before. Among the photos, the outdoor court of Seoul (Korea) had a lot of appeal to the guys at the office. They noticed how much the number of Japanese recreative facilities is behind the global average. Moreover I suggested a park as the best place to build a basletball court because the park does not have houses around and it is located in the center of the town; so no concerns about dribbling noise. The guys in the department went to discuss with his people and came back to say that they will make a move. I wrote how I felt about the first visit in a letter which I sent to a person who sent me a petition paper with family's signtures.

Thanks for sending me the paper. On June, 23rd, I went to give the papers, which had about 420 signatures, to the park department of the Chiba city., I told how much people want the court, but the guys there said that gangsters might hang around there and it can be too noisy.... The things they said were very negative. I thought these old minded people are helpless. However, after showing the recreational environments in Korea and other countries, and explained more about how street basketball can benefit to people, they changed their mind a bit. And they decided to, at least, see the place which I suggested. I just felt stupid about asking for basketball court because I have believed that basketball courts should be everywhere we live. I was ready to make more serious moves if they refused, but fortunately they were postive about it in the end.

First visti to the park department of Chiba city June 23, 2004

Those who work at the department were pretty old as you can see from the picture above, so they did not have any image of street basketball. I think I did good job inputting concrete images of street basketball in their mind. They actually said that they want more people to give such concrete suggestions (well, it's their job to find demands of the citizens) .

After few weeks I went to give the other 300 signatures to the department. When we got there, a guy in charcge came with very rigid face, and said "we are making one in your town." The moment was like when the American general came to annouce on TV that US captured Saddam Husein. Consequently we achieved our goal in about 3 months. They told us that the court will be completed by April of 2005. Yes! Yes!!! I guess letting them have pictures of street basketball and suggesting one particular place was the key of the siccess.

However....

It was just the beginning.

No budget or maybe there was a political opposition? They told us that the court will not be completed in the originally planned date. I was afraid that they might do the worst thing, cancelation. Especially because I was studying in Spain then, I could not do anything about it. So I made a contact with the youth organization and asked them to take care of it. I asked them to go to the gym and ask the players of my town who helped me to collect signtures for help. However, the players in my town were really ignorant about it, and they did not help them at all. This is the bad part of the Japanese today. They are too dependent on others. Well I guess they were not motivated because many of them were not believing that there would ever be an outdoor basketball court in their town. But some of the players were very positive about the basketball court. One guy even bought a outdoor basketball and looked forward to using it soon. It is inhumane to destroy such easy demand (playing basketball freely). The youth organization pushed and made the city hall assure that they will make one. If the youth organization did not move then, we might not have got the basketball court in out town now.

 

the dream finally comes true

9 months later, on December, 2005, construction finally started. My dad told me about it, and I quickly went to see it. An old construction man told me that it will be completed on December 20th, but I knew it was not possible.

I was really happy to see this. Dec 13, 2005

Putting gravel Dec 15, 2005
The blue fence looks good!! Dec 15, 2005

Becoming flatter Dec 25,2005

Asphalt completed Dec, 28, 2005

I often went to take photos, so I became friend with the old construction worker. He said that his son often plays street basketball in Makuhari, one of new town in Chiba prefecture. So he understands our feeling very well.

Asphalt was completed within a month. The man told me that there a special layer will be made on the asphalt, so it will take few more days. He said that it should be finished in 2005. So my friends and I were talking about having party at the court on New Year's eve.

But... I was wrong......

Company which makes the special layer is different from the old man's company. The workers for the floor never came. So my friend and I called the city hall to ask what is going on. Maybe because of that few days later the comany showed up and started working. It was after one and half month since the asphalt was completed. What kind of crappy company the city asked??? corruption?

In a snow day. Jan 22, 2006

Floor work finally started Feb 12, 2006

First floor work finished Feb 14, 2006

Second floor work started Feb 16, 2006

it started looking like a bbal court Feb 17, 2006
Slow construction continued and on March 3rd, finally the floor was completed.

The floor work was finally finished around Mar 3, 2006

it just needs a hoop

I thought they will attach a hoop next day, but but but even after 4days, they did not attach it. So the same friend and I once again called the city hall. I wrote how their response was in my diarly below.

Today, I called the city hall and asked when we can use the court
A lsdy responded that it will be completed in late March.
She said that they will decide when to put.
What the hell?
Why they have to decide certain time to attach a hoop.
damn it's so annoying.

But it seems that our phone calls worked.

On March 10, 2006, in a raining day

the court was finally

 

After ten years of silence

good job!!

finally!!!

If it were built ten years ago when my friends and I firsttried, our baskebtall life would have been different. Playing basketball anywehre and anytime we want to was just a dream before. But now it not a dream. I just want the kids in my town to enjoy playing basketball freely.

Playground is the heaven. So we are not afraid of anything because we are already in the heaven.,

An news paper reporter came and we told him how we feel about the new basektball court

 

 

when you give up, that is the end of all. by Anzai sensei

the reason I call Toke流Ninja道bball道

道 means street. It is a Chinese chracter which also means Dao, Way.

道bball道 implies Dao (or way)(道) of Street(道) basketball.

 

You can see the photos of how the basketball court is being used.

If you want to see events of the court,click here.

by Shinya Takeda