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June 3, 2013 / umbcdawgblog

UMBC Men’s Lacrosse Travels to the Land of the Rising Sun

By: Pat Young

Day 1:

On our first day in Japan, the team helped run a clinic for first-year lacrosse players. The excitement the Japanese players had for the game of lacrosse was evident and contagious, it pumped us up for our afternoon game. After the clinic the team went to Edogawa Stadium, where we competed against the Under-22 Japanese National Team. I think that I can speak for the whole team when I say that we were surprised by the amount of talent the team displayed.  Despite a great effort from Japan, the Dawgs came out on top, defeating them, 12-10. Going with the Japanese Lacrosse Association (JLA) motto “Lacrosse Makes Friends,” several players from both teams traded gear and learned a little bit about each other after the game. Later, team members and hosts met for the first time in Prince Hotel and headed to the host’s homes for a two-night stay.

My host’s name was Kanta Ito, who plays for Waseda University. Before we went to his house, we ate a traditional Japanese dinner with a few other hosts and teammates. It was DELICIOUS. After dinner we took the train to his house and I met his family, who were all anticipating my arrival.  They were very welcoming and kind, just like everyone else I have interacted with in Japan. During my stay with Kanta, I enjoyed the experience of a Japanese bath house…twice! Luckily, Kanta spoke English extremely well because he lived in the states for several years, so we had a lot to talk about during my stay.

Day 2:
Day two was “the big day” as we took part in the Friendship Games against the Japanese National Team in the same stadium, except this time it was packed full. It seemed like everybody in Japan who knew anything about lacrosse was in the stadium, by far the biggest crowd I have ever played in front of and probably ever will. Around 8,000 people attended, including the Mayor of Edogawa and other important people. All of the people there loved us, just a simple wave from any player sent fans into a frenzy of screams and laughter. One of my teammates compared the experience to being Justin Bieber and waving to a teenage girl in the US- I couldn’t agree with him more. After a very elaborate opening ceremony the 2013 Friendship Games were underway. We watched fellow America East Conference members Boston University women’s lacrosse team compete against the Women’s Japanese National Team and fittingly, the game ended in a friendly tie. The Dawgs took the field and battled a very scrappy and fast team. At the end of one half the score was 4-1 but once again by the end of the contest, UMBC came out on top, 10-4. After a long two days filled with lacrosse, we quickly headed back to the hotel where we napped and then explored our surroundings in the city of Rappongi.
Day 3:
Today we all hopped on the bus to explore the city of Kamakura. The first stop we made was at the Great Buddha of Kamakura, which was built over 750 years ago. The sheer size of the statue was breath taking not to mention the whole aura of the sacred worship place. After leaving the Buddha we visited the Shinto Shrine, Hachiman-Gu Shrine,  and walked around the city to enjoy lunch and shopping. We just arrived back at the hotel and it seems like everyone on the team is napping after a long day in the heat. Tomorrow we are looking forward to competing against three Japanese universities, hopefully we continue our success on the field.

One Comment

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  1. Athlete Connections / Jun 3 2013 12:48 pm

    Sounds like a great time and a fun trip!

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