Earlier this week I managed to make friends with a chair tennis umpire who I met in Tokyo. He is in town because of the Toray Pan Pacific Open happening all this week. Yesterday was the opening day of the tournament, so I figured before I head out of Tokyo today, I'll swing by for some of the first round matches. I managed to see the matches between Japan's own, Kurumi Nara, and the Ukranian, Elina Svitolina. It was a heartbreaking loss for Nara, as you always like to see someone win the first round in their home country.
The other match I saw was between Venus Williams and Mona Barthel, where Venus dominated the court.
My friend gifted me tickets with some pretty great seats. I was amongst some of the other athletes spectating, coaches, and a few other overseas guests. As a sports enthusiast, I always like to watch how athletes and coaches watch their competition. The parents and guests of players also gave me some interesting insight into some of the other players, which I couldn't have gotten elsewhere.
After those two matches, I decided to venture back into the city. In order to get to and from Ariake Colosseum, you take the Yurukamome Line, which allows for some of the best panoramic snapshots of the city. Even if you aren't going to a tennis match, it is worth the ride. You head over the Rainbow bridge and see some beautiful views of the bay. The whole loop around only takes about 45 minutes.
Today, I'm hopping on the bullet train to head south to the cultural center of Japan. Kyoto is loaded with countless shrines and temples, and is also host to some of the best traditional cuisine in the country. Can't wait to report back!