I recently went on my first trip to Japan with the NBA’s Basketball Without Borders program. I had been to Singapore before but never Japan. I had so much fun and the people were very nice.
We visited the city of Shiogama in the Miyagi prefecture. It is located just outside of Sendai, which is the closest major city to the 2011 earthquake epicenter. I coached at the NBA Cares Basketball Clinic at Shiogama Daisan Junior High School. The majority of the 100 students there were directly affected by the earthquake and the tsunami that followed. It was inspiring to see what the community is doing to clean up and make rebuild the area back to “normal”. I also met the Mayor who is doing a great job keeping a positive attitude in a tragedy stricken area.
While in Tokyo, I went shopping in an area called, Harajuku. I have never seen a more fashionable area in my life. We went from store to store and everything was really small. The largest shoe size the stores carried was a 10 1/2. So no luck for my 13 1/2 size feet.
I loved everything about my trip to Japan. One day we watched some sumo wrestlers practice. Those guys are impressive. They are some truly amazing athletes. I have to say that the food was my favorite part. I love Japanese food. There was real sushi and real Japanese dishes…not the commercialized version we get here in the States. I had a great time trying the different foods and experiencing the different cultures.
I have been training in Los Angeles since I got back to the States. I have another quick trip booked and then I will head to Las Vegas to work out with my Nuggets teammates at summer league.