Welcome to the newest edition of the Players Diary, the Asia-Oceania Korfball Championships 2018 edition, coming to you straight from Saitama, Japan. The first two days of the tour have been combined into this first entry, mainly because not a lot happens on the first day, but also because we arrived at the hotel far too late last night to write anything.
Day one kicked off at sparrows, as we headed to Adelaide airport to catch the first flight of the day to Melbourne. We had a smaller group than normal, as some of the team had taken the opportunity to head to Japan a day or two early to explore Tokyo.
The flight to Melbourne was uneventful, and we arrived just in time to head to our flight to Tokyo. That flight, however, was delayed, so we ended up with a bit of time to relax at the gate. Once we got on the flight, the trip was again relatively uneventful, with just a couple of moments of turbulence keeping us on our toes. A near empty plane allowed us to spread out, which is always a nice surprise.
We managed to arrive in Tokyo just about on time, catching up on the time lost at the gate. However, we were sharing transport to the hotel with the Korean team, who were delayed. Once they arrived, we jumped on the bus, just 12ish hours after we left Melbourne.
The bus dropped the Koreans at their hotel first, and then headed to ours, which meant we got to take a scenic tour of the greater Tokyo region for another 2 hours. What impressed me straight away was the sheer size of Tokyo, with triple decker highways and skyscrapers as far as the eye could see for a good hour and a half of the trip. Even where we ended up, Saitama, is as built up as any Australian CBD, but is considered an outer suburb here.
Once we got to the hotel and checked in, it was just about midnight, well and truly a long day.
Day two was far more relaxed than day one, as we settled into our home for the next week and a bit. The hotel lobby and restaurants are quite nice, although the rooms upstairs are a little less ornate. I have the pleasure of sharing a room (and a bed) with Nik, also my longtime club teammate, and its nice to be able to move our relationship to the next level ;-).
After breakfast, we braved the rain from the nearby typhoon, and headed off to the local supermarket to pick up supplies for the rest of the week. Following this, we had our first team meeting of the trip, which will be a regular routine. Next up was a practice match against the Kiwis, helping us to blow out a few cobwebs. We won the fast paced, three period match, and while we were obviously a little stiff at times, and we will be a lot better for the run. Catching up with the Kiwis is always good fun, especially seeing some familiar faces for the first time in a few years.
Following the match, it was off to dinner, where Bethan in particular was keen on the Italian restaurant they found the night before. However, when we got there it was surprisingly closed, despite being a Saturday evening. We did find an open one just down the road though, where my pizza was delicious.
Its off to bed now, with the tournament proper kicking off tomorrow. The typhoon is playing havoc with some of the travel plans, and ensuring the tournament organizers are kept on their toes. Tune in tomorrow for the next installment of the Players Diary.