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EARLY #3

Aoi

From: Tokyo, Japan

Occupation: 3x3 player, full-time office worker

Basketball experience:

After seven years of ballet dancer, I started playing basketball when I was 10 years old, in Germany. From my experience, people say I used my body differently from the typical basketball players. Early teenager, I grew up so fast (20cm in a year!) and was able to join the number one Japanese basketball high school program for women, Ohka Gakuen High school.  After playing in college, I stopped playing completely since I thought I’ve done it and known it all, But after three years off the court, I started to miss the devotion and energy for the game. I decided to go back to the gym and learn about the new playing style of 3x3 basketball. Ever since I have played as a 3x3 player for Japan 3x3 and 3x3 exe.

Why she started playing early in the morning: Since working full time, how I plan my day and spare time for practice is a key to being successful. When I was in high school, we didn’t have morning practice, which is very rare for most successful high school activities. (one of the reasons is our high school was in the middle of a residential area and bouncing the ball would make too much noise from the morning.) But to be a better team, we used our brains and exercised without dribbling the ball. It’s all about the mindset.

About the women in sports. I want all the girls to have fun while playing. We have many unwritten rules starting from an early age (ex. short hair only, fashion style restriction, no make-up...), so I want to keep showing others how we can play and still having fun being ourselves.  I hope to keep playing and enjoy this basketball career as much as possible. During my years off, I came to realize that I still had a lot of energy and passion for chasing the ball, and now that I get to play again, it enriches my mind.

Aoi Katsura Player

Anne Yano Text and translation

Special thanks, Tomo Umezu