Dear Saito Sensei,
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to travel to Japan and allowing me to have an amazing, once in a lifetime experience. At first, I was really scared, especially because I did not want to get homesick as my brother did, or choked out as I heard from many other players experiences. Fortunately, I was perfectly fine and happy.
From the time that we were picked up at the airport in Fukoaka, everybody that helped us was so friendly and made me feel comfortable and welcomed. Training was hard, and exhaustion became familiar with training, while sleep became a must have. Competition day was different. Seeing so many people in one place from around the world was unique. Looking at the tournament bracket I felt overwhelmed. Never in my life have I seen a bracket that looked as if it reached from the floor to the ceiling. Overall my whole experience at Global Arena was breathtaking.
After our last day at the Global Arena, we took the ferry to Tasei School. However, this ferry looked more like a cruise ship. It was my best ferry experience ever. Tasei School was a blast!!! Pounding rice for rice cakes, visiting the shrines, and sleeping on the tatamis in the hotel was fun. Unfortunately it did not last long and we had to leave shortly after we arrived.
I wish there was more time to actually absorb everything about Japan. To me every shrine and every building had a story to tell.
Saito Sensei, Sensei Jim, Konan Judo, Mrs. Koyama, Mr. Munemasa, Mr. Kondo, Mrs. Eiko Shepherd, Global Arena and Tasei School, THANK YOU, for such a great opportunity and once in a lifetime experience. Thank you also Mrs. Nakayama and Mr. Greg Ondrus for taking care of me.