Hadleigh Parkes column: Japanese culture and World Cup excitement

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In his BBC Sport column, center Hadleigh Parkes looks to Wales’ World Cup opener against Georgia on Monday and reveals the way his team-mates and his happen to be enjoying the civilization in Japan.
Everybody’s so excited for our World Cup effort to start. Now that we are here in Japanwe just want to get stuck inside.
We’ve been building towards this for a long time, not only pre-season but the past two years, building a lot of strength in depth and coaching hard.
We saw that the match on Friday and we just can’t wait to begin on Monday with our very first match against Georgia.
We are a few of the groups that are last therefore it will be wonderful to kick off, and it’s all about creating momentum so we’re here for as long as possible.
That’s why we’re here, to have a World Cup, but it’s also been good to take in the culture of Japan.
I had been excited about trying some food before coming here, and it has been amazing to finally sample it.
There is a stat doing the rounds which Jonathan Davies, Foxy, and I are the partnership who have played with the most games together in international rugby since I made my Test debut a couple of decades back.
We’ve got a terrific relationship on the pitch and, luckily, it’s a one off it as well.
Foxy’s at finding places to eat great and, like me, he is always keen to learn about the traditions and cultures of different nations.
On one of the days off during our training camp at Kitakyushu, some of us Foxy, Dan Biggar, Wyn Jones, Tomas Francis and me caught a bullet train and went for your afternoon to Hiroshima.
I like looking into the culture and history of areas, and that was a place I wanted to visit.
We had a peek at a number of the fires of the atom bomb that went off there and got there, and we went into the museum.
It was intriguing but very extreme. It was all very humbling.
Having a look round and considering what those people went , it was a experience.
Afterwards we decided to take a look at the town of Hiroshima, and it’s a wonderful place.
While we were there, Foxy found a Japanese restaurant that served a savoury pancake that could be layered using an omelette or pancake, okonomiyaki, noodles, meat, veg — everything!
It was really tasty and it was great to consume the Japanese manner, assembled around a tiny pub, sat in front of the food because it had been cooked, and the restaurant was very bustling, full of individuals coming in for a dinner after work.
It was if we have been in Kitakyushu due to Welsh communications and the flags around just like we had been back in Wales.
The Welsh Rugby Union did some work over the past couple of years setting up that relationship between Wales and Kitakyushu, and we could see the advantages of it.
Everywhere we went, people were stopping us in the street and shouting»football players! Wales!» To people.
The people here were so nice. They respectful bowing — you are practically thrown by it.
It was pretty great to be in that city as they really embraced Welsh rugby and Wales.
The coaching session has been amazing — I don’t think I have ever been involved in anything like it before.
That crowd of 15,000 people was larger than a lot of the crowds that’s not taking anything away in the Pro14, and we get in the Pro14, it had been only an incredible reception.
So a lot of the boys have been getting homesick everyone’s away from home, but I am used to get away from home.
I went to boarding school and moved at quite a young age, therefore I am a bit more used to it compared to others.
It is a long time for people to be out of their kids, girlfriends, wives, parents.
People do really say»you enjoy traveling, do not you, so that you know where to go for nice food», and I do, and luckily I’ve got Foxy as well who is very good at that.
He’s taken the lead on that so far, so it’s been nice to take a back seat sometimes.
Hadleigh Parkes spoke to BBC Sport Wales’ Dafydd Pritchard.
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