On the second day of their trip, the team enjoyed a complimentary breakfast at their hotel before heading out to Osaka Castle. The castle was built in the sixteenth century and is one of Japan’s most famous landmarks. The players and families hiked to the top of the building to enjoy the views and headed back down to the shops to cool off with soft ice and other treats.
The group then ventured down to the Osaka International Peace Center, a museum dedicated to the remembrance of the the bombing of Osaka during World War II.
After a team lunch – chicken karaage – at a local restaurant, we took the metro to Senri Kinran University for a 6:00 p.m. match and joint practice session. Senri Kinran is one of the top women’s collegiate teams in Osaka and their team amazed our girls with the speed of their offense and the tenacity of their defense. After the match, the Senri Kinran players led our team through several drills, and the evening ended with a mixed-team scrimmage.
After the volleyball, Senri Kinran invited us to dine with them. Their team prepared a meal that their culinary students explained was the “Japanese Athlete’s Diet.” We enjoyed musubi, chicken, cold cuts, soup, and salads. After dinner we exchanged shirts and other omiyage before bidding farewell.
We were honored and humbled by the hospitality shown by Senri Kinran. It was a great way to start our journey.