After arriving at the Athletes Inn the night before, the Asahi Blades are awoken to a massive breakfast prepared by the incredible hosts.
With full stomachs and a good nights rest the team heads over to the Itsukushima Shrine. It is there that the priest blesses the team with good luck and, then by the priest’s directions, each person then proceeds to take a shot of sake*1. Following the round of shots at the shrine, the team and families are escorted over to the restaurant for lunch.
Thanks to Taki’s great planning, the one day that the team wears their white collared shirts is also the day that they have spaghetti and meat sauce for lunch. After a mediocre lunch, and a few saucy battle scars, the team walks over to some building to meet a bunch of important people. The boys quickly noticed all of the Kushiro made food and drinks that are lined up on the tables, and before anyone knew it, the tables were picked clean.
Once the mayor and others arrived, Richard Taki gave his speech where he highlighted the points of acceptance and diversity in ethththnicity*3. After Richard finished, Michael Araki-Young (team captain) stepped in and delivered the speech of a lifetime, making up for Taki’s subpar speech. Naturally, like all events on the trip, the speeches were followed by a countless number of photos.
On to the next, the players arrive at Konan high school where they are treated to a performance by the National Champions of Taiko Drumming. The players even got a chance to play their own original song to the beat of “udon, noodle, chicken chowmein”.
After a so far eventful day, the players finally arrive at the rink and get ready to play the undefeated Bushukan team (against Asahi Blades). After playing nearly half the game short handed — thanks to some questionable reffing — the final score read 7-1 for Bushukan. Goal scored for the Asahi Blades by Davis Sato, and leading in penalties this game were Ben Ward (10 PIMS) and Michael Araki-Young (8 PIMS), together combining for nearly a periods worth of penalties.
Post game, Richard Taki offers some of his wisdom by quoting some hockey player “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take”. Despite the tough loss, in good spirits, the team heads back to the Athletes Inn and partakes in many exciting “games” and “activities”, before finally calling it a day and letting their heads hit their rice filled pillows.
*1 Sake – Really gross Japanese rice wine (similar to the taste of vodka, not that we would know what that tastes like…)
*2 Taki – Richard Takiaki
*3 Ethththnicity – Richard’s weak attempt at saying “Ethnicity”
Written By Michael Araki-Young