World Champs 2007 Diary-Travel to Osaka, Japan


Dear Diary,

It is midnight local time in Chicago, August 22, 2007. I am about to head to the gate for Asiana Air, a Korean airline that is associated with United Airlines Global Alliance. I have been clearing off emails in the lounge-thank God for wifi-and preparing for the thirteen hour flight.

I have my books, Dexter, Name of the Rose and a new book on Abebe Bekele. More than likely, I will watch a bit of a movie and then crash. I have been on overload this past week-three magazine approvals, learning how to do an ipod and preparing for the live launch of our blog, is the work of Brian Eder. Yes, my brother, who shepards me into the land of technology one megabyte at a time.

My next note will be from Seoul, Korea in thirteen hours! Speak to you soon! Am very excited about going to Asia for the first time. I studied Chinese and Japanese culture for two years in college and it is finally time to see Japan for the first time-China is next year.

Friday, August 24, 6.4O am. Seoul, Korea

Dear Diary,

Well, my thirteen hours in a plane was sleepy. The torrential downpour in the States meant I took the bus from Janesville to Ohare. Once on the flight, Asiana Airlines to Seoul, Korea, I had a little dinner then slept for most of ten hours! It was superb!

The coach area was close to full, but since it was not full, I did not get bumped up to Business class. I can hear you crying. I get up a few times, walk around, make sure I drink enough water and read the Korean Herald, the english speaking daily in Seoul.
They had American and Korean food on the flight. But, by the time that they got to me, in row 36 h, there was only American food. It was nice, and I drifted off to sleep. I can sleep anywhere, have been able to since college, thanks to Dr. Moczy and his noon Russian history series, always fell asleep at 12.50 each day. Surprised he did not flunk me.

The big stories in Korea? Worries about the lack of food in North Korea, concerns about the subprime crisis in the United States and how it will affect Korea. I read a fascinating piece on racism in South Korea. Seems that there is pretty open discrimination among Koreans with non-Whites, and a strong editorial piece in the Herald spoke about how there have been changes in U.S. and that Korea needs to awaken to this problem. The editorial was well done, not taunting or dictatorial.

Finished my book, Darkly Dreaming Dexter, about a serial killer with a conscience-it was made into a truly well done show on Showtime. Trying to catch up on my sleep, did not get much this past week, too many things on my mind.

This is my longest trip and my first time to Asia. I am excited, but also a bit worried. Worried about being away from Adam so long, wondering if our new house will become a bed and breakfast while I am gone (just kidding, it is already a commune).

But the exhileration of the World Championships is something that keeps me going every two years. This is my sixth World Championships and I love to renew the friendships, see new places and witness the best that the sport has to offer. Seeing a great race, watching 40,000 track fans witness the same race, is exhilerating. In my mind, the World Championships show the best, and the worst in the sport. I am concentrating on the best.

It is seven in the morning here, I am going to head to find some good coffee and a newspaper and finish up my emails to the office. Check in with you from Osaka, Japan later today!

I am very curious about Japan. I have studied sixteenth century Japan and kept up my reading on modern Japan, its politics, its changes and its view of the world. The World Championships are a huge event in Japan and the Japanese Federation and the many Japanese sponsors want this to be the best World Champs ever. It could just happen!

Besides the marathon on Saturday, the first day of the heptathlon spells the return of Carolina Kluft.

Friday, August 24, 2007 3.15 pm Local Time, Osaka, Japan ( 1.15 am in Madison, WI)

I arrived at the Osaka Airport, the only American/Westerner on a full flight from Inchon Airport in Seoul, Korea. Let's see, there was about 100 designers from a software company on a tour of Osaka, a little league team from Seoul on a tour of Osaka and I guess I stood out a bit. Everyone was quite nice and the 400 or so people in line in Customs got through in about a half an hour, pretty quick.

As soon as I picked up my bag, I found the Media Desk for the World Champs and found the bus to Nagai Stadium. Nagai stadium was built in 1964 to house large sporting events and refurbishd in 1997. Since then, it has been the home to several Japanes Inter Collegiate Track & Field championships plus the Japanese Track & Field Championships.

The first impression of Osaka? Very hot, and very humid. My trip from the airport to the Stadium was about 90 minutes, with traffic and once at the stadium, going through security, climbing up three flights of stairs with my large bags all made the first sights of the Nagai stadium an after thought.

Once of the nice parts of coming into the Media Centre is seeing friends and colleagues that one sees only at these events. I saw Pat Butcher, famous writer and raconteur, of course Victah Sailer's New York accent was hard to miss, as Jiro and Giancarlo, two of Vic's photo team, were deciding to walk the stadium and figure out where to set up their cameras over the next week. I spent another hour deciding that the wireless would not work for my MacBook. So it goes. I found an ethernet line and I was happy.

So, I have lost a day, am getting a bit tired and I think that I need a nap. I will take a taxi back today to the hotel, but after that, it will be shorts, polo shirts and the subways.

The LOC's find all kinds of ways to get the Media to check out their fair cities. For several world champs, the travel has been free. We get a subway pass that gives us access to the subways and city buses.

As we drove into Osaka, I was amazed about how many people, young and old travel on really old, but very cool bikes. The bikes all looked like 1950's U.S. bikes. I also observed several women carrying open umbrellas walking through town, even a couple carrying their open umbrellas while riding their bikes!

Osaka is a mixture of the old and the new. We drove through some new construction around the Harbor plus some really cool old neighborhoods, where space is truly at a premium. I hope to walk some of those neighborhoods in the next ten days.

But now, before Robert Mitchum calls me to a long nap, I will close for the day. I will do a quick update tonight on the Marathon, the rounds of the 1,500 and 100 meters tomorrow and the Women's 10,000 meters! Less than 24 hours to the World Championships, can you believe it?

Oh, almost forgot, to keep track of the Entry lists, just click on to

Tonight, I will throw up links to our friend from Slovenia via Cleveland, Bob Ramsak, Bob did a couple of nice pieces today!

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