Here from Japan!

After a 9 hour plane ride from Tokyo, the Japanese team got to the Bay Area yesterday morning.  From what they told me, they used most of yesterday to go shopping and stayed busy in order to curb their desire to want to sleep.  There’s a huge time difference between Japan and the US, and I know from going back and forth that it’s really hard to stay up when you’re coming to the US.  I usually  “take a nap” in the middle of the day and wake up, only to realize that it’s past midnight.

Anyway, they came to the gym today and we had the opportunity to train with them.  Since it was their first day in the gym, they used much of the training time to get acclimated to the environment and to the equipment.  Again, I know from experience that American equipment is very different from the ones they use in Japan so it usually takes a while to get used to.  Regardless, they looked good and should put up a strong team for the competition this weekend.

Aside from training, it was great to catch up with old friends and coaches.  In fact, I trained with two of the gymnasts while I was at Juntendo.  It seems like forever since I saw them but in reality it has only been less than a month.  Either way, it was fun to be able to hear about their lives and about all of my friends back at the university.  It was also great seeing the coaches.  In fact, two of them have Stanford ties.  Mutsumi (Harada) helped coach the collegiate team from 2005-2006, while the other coach, Koichi (Mizushima), coached me at Stanford back in 1999-2000.  In a way, it felt like homecoming.

They’ll be here for a couple more days before they head to Oakland.  This time I’ll get to show them around as they did for me back in Japan!

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