Today was the last day of our journey in Japan, we had so many new experiences and met many new people. We had just finished an exhausting day of shopping in Tokyo the day before so we took the time to relax and prepare for the flight ahead. Although most went home with the team, some stayed for a few more days. We checked out of the hotel at 11:00 and said our goodbye to some of our teammates. It was somewhat weird saying bye to our teammates that we had spent the last 2 weeks with. It was like saying goodbye to our second family as this was a rare opportunity for us and an amazing experience.
Around 1:00, we left the hotel, got onto the bus and left for the Airport. We arrived at the airport and got our last feel of the hot Tokyo air before leaving for good and heading inside. We arrived quite early to the airport so we did the usual bag check and went through security and such, then players and parents split up and did their own thing. Most players went for lunch and got their last Japanese meal before going home. While the parents separated and got food and looked through the stores. After lunch it was down time before we boarded the plane.
We got on the plane at around 6:00 and took off around 7:00. The plane ride was roughly 10 hours. People slept, watched movies, played games, and simply reflected on the past 2 weeks of activities we got to experience in Japan. It was a quiet plane ride but it was hard to sleep. We got back at 11:30 am Vancouver time, it was sad to leave Japan but also exciting to return home to see family and friends. After we landed the team stuck around getting their luggage and such before saying goodbye for good as some of us may never play together again. The goodbye in Vancouver was especially weird because it was the last one. There would no more practices or gatherings of any sort. We left the airport and I was asked by my family what I did and what my favourite part was, it was honestly a hard question to answer because of all the amazing things we did, I couldn’t think of just one.
Reflecting on the trip on the plane and at home, I made many new friends and got to experience a culture very different from home. It was my first time out of North America and it was an incredible experience seeing a place so far away from home. I enjoyed it very much and it was all because of the coaches, parents and organizers. Without them this trip wouldn’t have gone the way it did. A big thank you goes out to the Asahi Blades organizers for putting this together, as well as to the people of Japan for making this trip what it was worth. We will never forget this special opportunity and hope to return in the future.