THE DECAF MORNING CLUB
3x3 Olympic Project manager Ebihara Susumu and SB Skateboard Journal and FAT Magazine Director, editor, writer Senichiro Ozawa at 7 am at Sporu Playground in Shinagawa, Tokyo.
The morning practice is like a laboratory to see how much separation they can make from competitors and peers. They decided to call it the Decaf Morning Club. Ab started playing in middle school, went to community college in North Cal before coming back to Tokyo in 2006 where he started playing for SOMECITY nationwide famous streetball league hosted all over Japan.
During the pandemic, AB decided to adjust his morning style, challenging himself to wake up early, with no caffeine intakes. He would meet up with Ozawa san for a 2h shoot around before heading to work. This new habit has helped him to be more productive throughout the day.
AB is part of the era that leveled up streetball in Japan, after traveling and playing around the world, W 4th street, @veniceball ... He believes that Tokyo, back in the days didn’t have many plays styles, most players experienced school basketball clubs and as himself used to feel intimidated by the closed communities gathering at the playgrounds.
These days, SOMECITY league and streetball brand BALLAHOLIC are working their way up in the streetball recognition in Asia and worldwide. Japanese players are creating their own play styles based on strength quickness and mental toughness. Back in the ’90s, it was a struggle to find a playground outside of school.
Ozawa san started playing in middle school and has been following the school basketball program for about six years which at that time felt like an obligation to him as he mentioned. Often, the program could be close-minded and exclusive.
Nowadays with more playgrounds in Japan, he thinks that the player’s experience earned during pickups games are developing the mid, and put players in a position to behave and find themselves in new communities.
It’s harder than school programs, and the challenge is real, but Ozawa san thinks that Japan will have more stars players coming out of the mixed scene, school/streetball.
Translation Anne Yano @fatlipergirl
Ebihara Susumu @ab_tokyo
Senichiro Ozawa @senichiroozawa