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Dear Mrs. Koyama,

Thank you for supporting me and the rest of the US Judo team in attending SANIX 2016 in Fukuoka, Japan. I enjoyed meeting Judo players from across the United States and all over the world. I also appreciated the cultural experience and the opportunity to visit Fukuoka and other parts of Japan.

I had no idea how big Judo is all around the world. There were Judo players from every continent except Africa and Antarctica at the tournament, all there playing the same sport by the same rules. I was shocked and amazed at how orderly everything was and how well everyone competed.

I enjoyed Global Arena and the beautiful city of Fukuoka. Other than maybe New York and Los Angeles, I don’t think we have really big cities after seeing Tokyo, Nagoya and Fukuoka. They said that Fukuoka is a small town, but it is HUGE compared to St. Louis. Everyone on the staff was very kind, and I enjoyed hearing Paul and Tony (interpreters) tell us all of the funny stuff about the area—especially the monkeys!

And the sports facility is amazing. I loved the bakery and gift shop; I even liked staying in the dormitories with my teammates and walking to the gyms every day. It is a beautiful place, and the owner is a very nice man to create a place like that for athletes and sports.

I also enjoyed the tournament at Taisei Middle School. They were very nice to us. It was fun staying in the Japanese hotel and seeing the shrine in Nagoya. I even liked the cruise ship that we took to get there. That was the first time I was brave enough to take a real Japanese bath.

The thing I liked the most about visiting Japan was the food. I didn’t really like sushi before I had it in Japan, but it is delicious! I even liked the fast food that was in Fukuoka’s mall. Everything we ate tasted fresher than it does in the United States. I would like to visit Japan again and I will remember this trip for the rest of my life.

Cornel Childs, Jr.