The morning of day 8 of our Japan itinerary dawned. It was the morning of the 15th. The sky in Osaka was clearer than clear. I was able to start the day with good energy. Suddenly, another thought occurred to me. Personally, the longest time I was away from Korea was 6 days.
The thought ‘Oh, it’s long’ passed through my head. The previous longest outing was when Busan KCC (then Jeonju KCC) participated in the Merlion Cup (2018) held in Singapore. It was 5 years ago now.
At the time, Shannon Shorter (former Ulsan Hyundai Mobis) played for the Australian team Adelaide 36ERS, and Nick Ramirez, who played for Seoul Samsung and Seoul SK, competed for the Chinese team. Shorter experienced victory. Even at the time, he showed off his outstanding skills among the guards participating in the competition, and Ramirez was not only skilled, but the tattoo on his arm was very impressive.
It went back too far. In any case, it was the point where the limit of outsourcing had been surpassed. One way or another, signs of fatigue appeared. I even had a nosebleed for a moment. Along with the thought ‘Wow… I have poor physical strength’, the thought ‘I really need to do some exercise’ also crossed my mind.
We ate early and spent the morning mainly doing maintenance. The battle(?) fought in Chiba and Nagoya since the 8th had to be sorted out. It was a rest day to recharge the camera, organize photos, write down articles, etc., and prepare for the battle in Osaka. Fortunately, the team only had an afternoon workout schedule with no practice games.
I also had time to get a feel for Osaka by taking a short walk near my accommodation. There were no memories of Osaka in my head. There were vague memories, but no memories or traces. The accommodation was located in Namba. It is said to be one of the centers of Osaka. After walking for about 10 minutes, there was a dense shopping area that felt like Cheonggyecheon. There was also Don Quixote, a shopping target for Korean tourists.
I spent the morning doing maintenance and sightseeing(?), and after eating lunch from a convenience store, I visited the afternoon training center with the KCC players. It was about 30 minutes away by bus.
It is a newly built gymnasium that is mainly used for basketball festivals in the Kansai region. It is said that this is the place where the Kansai Amateur Basketball Tournament and Osaka-based professional men’s and women’s basketball team games are held.
It was large enough to fit three basketball courts, and on this day, one-third was used by the KCC team, and the center third was used by students who appeared to be middle school female handball players. 1/3 was blocked by Javara. They say it is only open when necessary.
The KCC players practiced for about 1 hour and 30 minutes under coach Jeon Chang-jin, including shooting and layup training and offensive formation training. All players participated in practice for tomorrow’s match, with Heo Woong undergoing rehabilitation due to mild back pain.
To shake off the disappointment of the two games in Nagoya, I passed the training session with high concentration.
After 6 o’clock, the team returned to their lodgings and finished the day.
The next morning, the KCC players visited a nearby practice gym and practiced briefly to make up for what they had lacked from the previous day. Then, late in the afternoon, the city visited the city for a practice game. The game was scheduled for 6 p.m.
I think it took about 1 hour and 20 minutes to run from Namba, my accommodation? I was able to arrive at a gymnasium surrounded by the characteristic gray color of Japanese buildings.
It was a place I found after running a short distance. The sun was setting and it felt like the start of the regular season. Anyway, the game started. It was the first practice match held in Osaka via Nagoya. The practice game opponent is Cigar Lakes. It was a grand gymnasium, and the game was held in a small gymnasium. The gym, which was not built long ago, was neat and clean.
Unlike Nagoya, there was anticipation about the results. But it was just an ‘ideal or dream’.
A Japanese basketball official said, “There is more bias in games against second-division teams than against first-division teams,” and that story became 200% true.
Anyway, the game started. Johnson passed the first half with a different style of play. Johnson, who focused on scoring in the previous game, consistently made plays that saved his teammates in today’s game. He rarely attempted a shot.
Choi Jun-yong and Heo Woong went aggressive. The same was true for Jeon Jun-beom. In this game, the part where two foreign players played was difficult for KCC. Although it is a 2nd division team, the score was lost to Shiga, which was not much different from the lower 1st division team and consisted of Japanese players.
In the second half, KCC seemed to be concerned about the score difference. Johnson actively went on the attack. However, as always, the pressure of the referee’s call came to KCC. The process was meaningless. Even the players’ mental strength dropped. Afterwards, KCC continued the game with the keyword ‘practice’. It was a match where we had to be satisfied with the fact that it ended without any major issues.
And return to your accommodation. This was the result of running for a little over an hour in the thick darkness. And so the Osaka itinerary for the third day came to an end.
On the final day of the Japan schedule, the squad headed out to play the Kobe Stokes, about 20 minutes away, a little after 1 p.m. After about 20 minutes, we arrived at our destination. The stadium, located behind a neat exterior, was an old facility with a cozy feel.
I was also able to meet some familiar(?) faces. It was former DB coach Lee Sang-beom, who served as Wonju DB coach until last season. Director Lee says he has good memories of Japan. After working as a ginseng company at Anyang KGC, he worked as an instructor in Japan, and after receiving a lot of inspiration, he returned to Korea and created a DB sensation.
He was serving as a coach in Kobe. He was passing on his experience to the young director.
The game started at 3:30. I was pushed back from the start. It felt like we were being pushed back by Kobe’s offense and defense, which attacked KCC with high concentration. The players, who had already entered their 9th day of training in Japan, seemed somewhat lacking in concentration from the start, allowing 2-7 runs.
After the halfway mark, KCC regained its concentration. I took close combat. But something came out again. As KCC began to chase, the referee’s calls began to significantly intervene in the game. There were a lot of unfortunate traveling and unexpected defender fouls.메이저놀이터
Although it was a call, it was a situation where the meaning of watching basketball itself became meaningless. The KCC players seemed to have lost their will to chase. It was no different in the third quarter. Although Johnson continued to score points through face-up, it seemed difficult to dream of a reversal.
In the end, the game ended with Kobe’s big win. KCC had income. The keywords were that Lee Ho-hyun, who had performed poorly in the last three games, showed signs of recovery, and that ‘trial and error’ was the keyword. In fact, KCC is not a team with high level of perfection in terms of chemistry or organization.
Choi Jun-yong and Alize Johnson have just joined. Heo Woong and Lee Seung-hyun have also been playing in KCC uniforms since last season.
Although the individual aspects are spectacular, teamwork and coordination are more important than anything else to achieve the desired results against teams considered to be in the top six. This is the most important keyword for the opponent’s power this season, where one small mistake can determine victory or defeat.
KCC experienced clear trial and error during field training in Japan. Due to the formation of a super team, their names are on the list of candidates for the championship, but there are still many areas that need to be changed as they are still on the path to the championship. There is still about a month left until the season. Additionally, there is a section where you can upgrade your power through the cup competition scheduled for early October.
Although I left a lot of regrets during this training camp, I think I should leave the 10-day itinerary in Japan as a blessing in disguise as there is time for improvement. Kiwo, who watched KCC practice games for three days in Osaka, was ‘not yet.’
After a short period of time, I returned to my accommodation. In the humid weather, a light rain fell for a short while. We had dinner and finished the day. It was the beginning of the end of her first visit to Osaka. The next morning, I returned to Korea through Osaka Airport with the team. I was able to reach Kansai Airport in almost an hour. After passing through the endless city center, I was able to reach the airport located in the middle of the sea by driving for nearly 5 minutes over an impressive long bridge.
It was almost 12 o’clock and the plane took off towards Gimpo. After flying for about 1 hour and 20 minutes, I arrived in Gimpo, South Korea. The air was different. Having felt quite a bit of frustration since Osaka, I was able to feel a sense of liberation. The temperature, which had dropped significantly compared to when I left the country, and the refreshing air gave me a feeling that was more than comfortable.
Just like that, the 10 nights and 11 days Japan itinerary was completed. The most impressive thing about the 10-day journey was the ‘advanced Japanese basketball.’ Even though they had foreign players, the basketball they played was ‘fast and accurate.’ I just felt ‘envy’ at the background of the development of Japanese men’s basketball that I could hear over the past 10 days.
There were numerous reasons for development, including a base of over 600,000 people, aggressive investment and active business development, and their attitude toward basketball.