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THE VOICE OF CULTURE
#02 Aoi Katsura / ZOOS Basketball Player
Collaboration and close involvement with artists and creators is a special and important time to be creative and sincere. To empathize with their positive pride and mentality, and to listen to their voices. By bringing this to as many people as possible, WIND AND SEA is constantly evolving.
#02 is Aoi Katsura, a basketball player who presides over ZOOS.

Changing the sports

environment for

women.

"ZOOS" comes from the ancient Greek word "ZOION," which means life and is the root of the word "ZOO" for zoo. By daring to use the plural form, we have included the meaning that we would like to weave a rich organization by bringing together the diverse lives of each of our members. It is also the name of a basketball team, but it may be more like a project, a brand, or a sense of calling a community. Currently, while competing in 3x3 tournaments, we also organize events, and like today, we call ourselves ZOOS GIRLS and get together once a month to enjoy basketball that is not based on a competitive axis.
I wanted to challenge the world in 3x3, but there was no way to do it, so I decided to open up a path by myself. But I felt that what I wanted to do was a bit more abstract than aiming to be the best in the world. The mission I was finally able to verbalize was "to redesign the sports environment surrounding women. So, the 3x3 challenge is one of those projects. I think the raison d'etre of ZOOS is not to participate in competitions, but to enrich the lives of everyone involved, so that places like ZOOS GIRLS today become a colorful part of our lives.
When you keep moving in this way, you start to think of people's faces, like "Would it be interesting to be a little more involved in this person's life? For example, "I hope the players who love basketball can continue to love basketball. I always think about what ZOOS can do with such people, though I don't know in what way. We are all here because of our love of basketball. There is no need to feel overwhelmed, uncomfortable, or uncomfortable when you are gathered together for the sake of your favorite basketball game. For example, ZOOS GIRLS get together once a month, but if you have a hard time getting up in the morning, you can come only on days you can, or if you are happy to come once every six months, that's fine. If you want to be involved in the management, you can do so. If you want to be involved in the management, that's fine. About 300 people, maybe. (In response to the question, "How many people are in ZOOS now?") We have an invitation-only system for ZOOS GIRLS, but we don't have a proper organization, and everyone who is involved is considered a member. The other day, a community that had started up in Niigata, like a girls' basketball pickup, came to Tokyo to play with the ZOOS GIRLS. I respect their activities, so I consider them ZOOS GIRLS.
I value putting my thoughts into words, and I think I am sending out messages to them. I feel that the message is being delivered as I want it to be delivered, or that they are receiving it in a good way. I feel a good flow.

I am not strong,

but I don't want to

flatter anyone.

I think everyone has different selves. ZOOS wants to be a place where people can put on their kindest, most positive, forward-looking faces. For example, our motto at ZOOS GIRLS is "don't hesitate to be cute. When you are brought up in a club culture, you tend to wear bus shorts and T-shirts when you play basketball! Short hair! I think there is a rule of justice in that world. But, instead of saying, "Why is that girl wearing her hair tied up? I think it's fine to say, "She looks so cute with her hair done! I think it's fine to say, "She's cute with her hair done! I hope this is a place where people can express themselves, where they can say what is cute is cute, and not drag each other down. The members here are here with the mindset of "enjoy fashion as you like it! The vibes are always positive. I think this naturally puts a happy face on everyone.
I don't want to flatter anyone because I didn't start this activity at anyone's request. I always want to be myself, and I want to respond honestly to what I find attractive. Conversely, I don't feel what I don't feel. I always live honestly. If I would rather have to come to terms with society or have conflicts, I would rather not do it. For example, if there is something we can't do because we can't make money, then we don't have to do it, and if we can't make a living, then maybe it was just a dream. If we can no longer make a living, then maybe it was just a dream. We do what we can without losing sight of our concept and without overstretching ourselves. But that doesn't mean that we are not strong enough to do something like this! But I don't think we are strong enough to stick to something like "This is how we do it! That is why we are all taking on this challenge. How far can we live naturally?
Last December and January, I had the opportunity to work with "Smaluna" (Next Innovation Inc.), which provides online gynecological care and pill prescriptions, to conduct a workshop and training session on "How to deal with menstruation with athletes and midwives" for female basketball players in elementary, middle and high school. I think menstruation, to a greater or lesser degree, is linked to difficulties in life, and I myself suffered and worried about it at times. At that time, not only athletes but also models, baristas, and other girls in the ZOOS community gave me advice on how to cope and wisdom they had gained in their industry. At that time, I felt, "Oh, my way of thinking and coping is different from the environment I have lived in in basketball. I was surprised at the variety of information and ways to deal with things just by looking outside the box a little bit, and it made me feel so much more comfortable. I thought that if I could learn at a young age that it is okay to talk openly about menstruation, that it is okay to talk to others about it, and that I can get information from such places, it would ease my difficulty in living a little.
As a player, you never know when you might think, "I've had enough." I have a feeling that I don't know when I'm done as an athlete. This is because I retired once before. I might get a serious injury, or I don't know what kind of trigger might cause me to lose my mind. So I may be overreacting, but I enjoy every practice and match thinking, "This may be my last. I'm having a lot of fun right now. And basketball is still getting better.
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