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Jamie's Journal from U-23 MNT Camp: Entry No. 2

Kickin’ it in Kumamoto!

Welcome back to the second edition of Jamie’s Journal coming to you from Kumamoto, Japan. After over 24 hours of traveling on buses and planes from Los Angeles to Tokyo, Tokyo to Fukuoka and then onto Kumamoto, we finally made it to our final destination. Getting here was one of the longest experiences I think I will probably ever go through in my life. We started off at 9:15 am on Friday morning leaving the hotel for LAX airport. We took off at 11:30 a.m. on an 11-hour long flight headed for Tokyo, which is 17 hours ahead on the clock and a day ahead of Los Angeles due to the International Date Line. After we got into Tokyo, we had a three hour layover and had to go through customs and switch terminals and re-check in and all that fun stuff. So after waiting for our next flight, we caught another two hour flight to Fukuoka. Once we landed, we got our bags, hopped onto the bus, and ended our journey with a two hour bus ride to the hotel. All in, the trip started at 9:30 a.m. Friday morning and ended at 1 a.m. Sunday morning.

Highlights of the long trip

There were definitely some funny and not so funny moments that took place getting over here. First of all, we started off the trip in LAX with a celebrity sighting. A few of the guys spotted American Idol winner Kelly Clarkson sitting at the gate next to us. You know how she normally looks out of this world; well, today wasn’t one of those days. Unfortunately for us, she was scrubbing it trying to go unnoticed I guess. I tried calling my best friend Brad from back home because Kelly is his favorite musical artist. He has all of her CDs and posters and is a member of the fan club and all that groupie stuff, but he didn’t pick up, so I couldn’t share the experience with him. After spotting the diva, we boarded our flight and took off for Tokyo.

After we took off, I decided to take one of those sleeping pills to try to help me sleep most of the flight. I was counting on somewhere in the range of 6-8 solid hours of sleep after taking it. Yea, that didn’t happen. I got exactly two hours and 40 minutes of sleep and was wide awake after. What a disappointment. Fortunately, Pat Ianni, Sacha Kljestan and Mike Harrington were in the same predicament as I was, so we decided to play a Texas Hold ‘Em tournament in the back of the plane. We were able to have a decent game this time with no tricks being played and no over reactions by Mike (refer back to the first Jamie’s Journal).

We played a couple times and then switched our focus to MENSA logic problems. If anyone has ever done these before, they know just how difficult some of these problems are. Sacha and I decided to team up for the MENSA problems and see just how we would fare. Well, the results weren’t too good. I was letting the team down a lot. When I say team, I more or less mean Sacha saying the answer and me following it up with, “Yea, that’s what I was going to say.” I don’t think he picked up on the fact I was way out of my league trying to answer these questions, so when you read this Sacha, sorry I’m an idiot and couldn’t help you more.

By this time it was getting closer to landing time and we were all starving and ready to be off this crowded flight. When we landed we switched terminals and were trying to pass some time in between flights and all 18 of us went to get some food. When we got to this little deli type place, the language barrier ruined any hope of us getting something to eat because the lady behind the counter got so overwhelmed by 18 guys asking for sandwiches in a different language and grabbing waters left and right from the counter. She decided not to serve us and kept saying “Sold out! Sold out!” It was pretty funny looking back on it. So the search went on looking for some food.

I figured since we were in a foreign country and pretty much every other country I’ve ever been to has a McDonald’s in the airport, I was hoping we would find the ‘Golden Arches’ and get our grub on. Much to my liking, we found those beautiful arches and headed straight for the line. Soon after, tragedy stuck. They told us they didn’t accept credit cards or any other form of money besides the Yen. What a heart break! None of us had changed money in the U.S. and so we were left with empty stomachs and broken dreams. We all walked back to the gate disheartened and caught our next flight to Fukuoka.

Now here is where we change the title of this section from “highlights of the trip” to “lowlights of the trip.” Right as we got on the plane to fly to Fukuoka, I realized I couldn’t find my brand new 60 gigabyte video iPod. Yep, somewhere in the Tokyo airport, my iPod decided to grow legs and walk away. Needless to say, I’m very upset that I no longer have my iPod to listen to on this trip and on the flight back. It’s okay though, because I decided that if everyone who reads this donates $1 to the “Let’s get Jamie a new iPod” Fund, I’ll hopefully have enough to replace my old one.

Well, hopefully I’ve made you feel like you were right there on the flight and journey with us. Check back with us in a few days as we take on the Japan U-22 Men’s National Team and a JFL team two days after that. I’ll have game reports and more inside stories from camp for you dedicated readers. Thanks for reading along today and we’ll chat soon! Let me know what ya think of today’s journal at Take care everyone!