Days 7 & 8 — Parting is Such Sweet Sorrow

I was unable to do a full Day 7 blog yesterday but the game blogs should give you an idea of how we spent our Friday morning. Won 1, tied 1. That puts our 2017 Japan record at 1-3-2, but it doesn’t matter. If you saw the kids at the big fireworks event last night, you would have seen that friendships, not baseball, is really what this trip is about. Baseball is really the facilitator to forge all these relationships. 

Ok enough philosophy. After the game yesterday Shimizu (basically the head of Saitama baseball) took Brian Shepard, Stephen Spraker and me to a Japanese spa. Quick shout out to Boyd Bullock and Scott Coleman, whom Shimizu took to the spa 2 years ago. We asked if Boyd and Scott enjoyed the spa, and Shimizu said they did very much and that they “swam around like puppies.” That sealed it for us. We had to go to the spa.

It starts with a hot whrlpool and then we went to an outside pool of very hot water. After that, a shower and then a dip into cold water, about 70 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Ok hold on. I’m writing this at breakfast and Akiko just put this on the table:

That’s French toast, pineapple, yogurt, salad and chocolate chip muffins and coffee. I don’t think I’ll need lunch today. 

Back to the spa– it took about an hour. There’s a small cafe there so we grabbed a Sapporo afterwards.  It was very relaxing and a great way to spend the last full day in Japan. The Japanese men were very impressed with Spraker. I’ll leave that at that!

Last night was a huge fireworks show. This is a Japanese national holiday. Akiko says it’s Mountain Day which is a fairly new holiday because there were no national holidays in the month of August. Imagine the July 4 fireworks at the Carrillon on steroids and with better food and you can walk around with beer.  Sounds fun, right?

I’m now on the bus headed for Tokyo. We’ll see a temple this morning and then stop at an outlet mall for pizza before the plane. 

We said goodbye to our host families just now at the Urawa stadium. These families are the sweetest nicest people and I can’t thank them enough for what they have done for us and our kids. It’s a huge commitment of time and resources and they never complain and treat us like kings (and in Ruthie’s and Annabelle’s case, queens). Domo Arigato!

Here’s a picture of Akiko, Tomohiro, their daughter Shiori and me. Shiori came to Richmond a few years ago and stayed with the Lifsons.  They and their son Shunta showed me a phenomenal week and I’m very thankful. And I found out last night that Tomohiro is a big Huey Lewis & the News fan so I was happy to be stuck with him and his family! 

See you soon Richmond, and sayonara Saitama!


Brian Greene
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