Notes from Japan: an incredible journey

Sat 28 Jul 2018

The GB Women’s Team is currently in Japan preparing for the WBSC Women’s World Championship that begins on 2 August, and GB player Chiya Louie has shared some thoughts about the welcome the team has received.

I’ve chatted to most of the players, and there’s not a single bad word to say among the entire team.  Japan is incredible!  It's my first time here but I already know I never want to leave.  They have gone out of their way to make us feel special and welcomed! 
Here are some of our impressions so far.

Incredible people

Since we arrived, the hospitality has been out of this world.  The people here have truly gone above and beyond to make us feel welcome, like we have a home away from home.

Everyone is very respectful, genuinely sweet and polite and kind.

Wherever we go, there is a team of people making sure that we have everything we need.  No request is too big to help with.

During practices and games, we have had a crew of volunteers there the entire time looking after our team.  Caring for the field, getting us drinks, keeping us fed.

People are waving and welcoming us every place we go and always willing to help and checking that you have everything you need.

Our team host, Aki, has enormous amounts of energy and our team loves her.  Along with our coaching staff (Rachael, Liz, Tina), Team Physio Kim, and Team Manager Simon, we have been spoiled so far this trip.   They really have gone out of their way to make sure we have everything we need to succeed.

Culture of respect

Most of the girls have felt an extreme culture shock, in a good way. 

Japanese values are different to Western culture, and every single person seems to respect one another and goes out of their way to help us.

The Japanese people seem different.  You want to show the same level of respect and find yourself stopping to think about how and what you say/do/act.  We feel like celebrities here.

We have been provided us with gifts, food, kind words, smiles and made to feel so welcome here.

Delicious food

The food is incredible – we have had amazing meals, mostly at our hotel, but also at the fields where we have played.  At one field, the volunteers woke up early and made us an entire meal from scratch during the early hours of the morning.

At our Hotel Estolle, there is a lead host who welcomes us to breakfast and dinner (that’s a long shift!). He explains every dish to us with pride and he is always smiling.

Beautiful city

It has been “very cool” to see modern cities that still have touches of old, traditional Japan.

Everyone is very respectful of others and the environment.  One thing that stood out is how clean it is, everywhere.  Great care and attention to detail is put into keeping beautiful landscapes outside and spotless buildings inside.

Our hosts, Sammu City, have done so much for us already!  We had a special welcome at the Town Hall on our first day.  When we arrived, everyone in the Town Hall building (at least 100 people) were waving British flags to welcome us -- including a dancing strawberry mascot!

They had organised a special welcome from some of the chief officials, including the Mayor of the city, and they presented us with gifts from the local area of handmade Sammu Cedar chopsticks and local sake.  They even gave all of us Pocket Wi-Fi, which has been a huge hit!  Every day we drop off our laundry and they return it smelling clean and neatly pressed the next day.  The gifts and royal treatment have made us feel very special.

Crazy weather

When we arrived, the weather was very hot and humid, mid-30s, bright sunshine.

But today we felt the full effect of a typhoon – a day of heavy rain and strong winds, and we’re thankful for the cooler temperatures. 

Our hosts ensured that our schedule was re-arranged and we had an indoor facility to continue our training.  Nothing is too much trouble!

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Janet harrington 07:32

What an amazing time our GB team are having, so proud of them, and the treatment they are receiving from the Japanese people is absolutely amazing


Anne and John May 06:34

What an incredible experience for the team,  whatever the outcome you will remember this for many years.  Go for it girls and the best off British luck to you..
John and Anne

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