Earlier this week, I made friends with Emmanuel, a tennis chair umpire who is calling matches in Tokyo’s Toray Pan Pacific Open. Emmanual asked if I was interested in tickets for the tournament (Are you kidding me? YES!!!), and handed over tickets for the sweetest seats I’ve ever been comped. Because of travel conflicts, I missed opening day. So before I leave Tokyo later today, I wanted to swing by and catch at least some of the first round matches. I watched the competition between Japan’s own, Kurumi Nara, and the Ukranian, Elina Svitolina. It was a heartbreaking loss for Nara; I would have liked to see her win the first round in her home country.
I also watched Venus Williams and Mona Barthel ‘racket’ it out as once more, Venus dominated the court.
About those tickets… I sat with athletes spectating, their coaches, and other guests. As a sports enthusiast, it’s interesting to me watch how athletes and coaches observe their competition. The reactions of parents and guests of players also gave me an interesting insight into the performance of other players, which I might otherwise have missed.
Leaving Ariake Colosseum and the Toray Pan Pacific Open, I returned to the city by way of the Yurukamome Line, from which you can take some of the best panoramic snapshots of the city. I recommend taking the Yurukamome Line around ‘the loop’, a forty-five minute round trip just for the scenery. From Rainbow Bridge, the comfortable ride offers up beautiful views of the bay and city.
Later today, I’m hopping on the bullet train and heading south to the cultural center of Japan, Kyoto. Kyoto is old Japan at its finest with quiet temples, beautiful gardens and home to the geisha; it also serves up some of the best traditional cuisine in the country. Can’t wait to report back!