Alone in Japan, Thirdy drew solace from family and friends
MANILA, Philippines — Moving and working in a different country entails changes in lifestyle.
There’s the pressure of doing good in your work while also living in a new environment you’re not accustomed to.
That’s what Thirdy Ravena had to do when he decided to take his basketball career to Japan and play for San-En in the B.League as he found himself alone and transitioning into a different way of life from the one he once knew.
“I never lived alone, it’s a bit difficult because I wasn’t able to prepare myself so I was sort of shocked and I had to do my laundry, clean the apartment, cook for myself,” said Ravena, who recently re-signed for a multi-year deal with the NeoPhoenix. “Usually we helped each other at home but it’s different when you do everything by yourself.”
“You’re tired from practice, you go home tired and you don’t have food at the table. It happened to me a couple of times and what I did before was go straight to sleep. But what I do now is, when I haven’t eaten yet, I drop by the convenience store and grab a meal that I like for that night.”
Despite the difficulties he faced in his everyday life, basketball remained the same and so did the support from his family, friends, and fans.
Ravena said he never felt abandoned even when he had to isolate himself when he contracted COVID-19 in November and when he was forced to the sidelines due to injuries in early 2021.
“I talked to my family and friends all the time because I’m living alone, I just needed the company with me,” said Ravena, who will take up Nihonggo lessons when he comes back to the Philippines before the new B.League season starts.
And while Ravena had no problems establishing himself in the Philippine basketball community, he also didn’t have much of a hard time introducing himself in Japan.
“One thing about the Japanese people, they really appreciate you for being yourself,” said Ravena. “That’s not something I tried to do forcefully for people to love me. I just really feel that they’ve shown me love even before I went to Japan. They’re messaging me and wishing me good luck so all I had to was play my game.”
“I just had to be my genuine self, I think I’m a likable guy. I just try to show my respect to everyone, to the fans, the players, the coaches, the staff, they’ve been giving me love ever since.”
Another factor that eased Ravena’s transition in Japan was his love for anime.
The NeoPhoenix guard said it’s like a breath of fresh air to see anime be involved in the most mundane aspects of daily life.
“It’s great being in the country that invented anime,” said Ravena, who’s binge-watching Boku No Hero Academia and is planning to watch Attack on Titan next. “It’s a really big part of their culture and anime is even featured in their commercials.”
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