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Hadleigh Parkes column: Japanese culture and World Cup excitement

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In his newest BBC Sport column Hadleigh Parkes appears forward to Wales’ World Cup opener and shows the way his team-mates and his happen to be enjoying the culture in Japan.
Everybody’s so excited because of our World Cup effort to get started. Now that we’re here in Japanwe just wish to get stuck in.
We’ve been building towards it for a very long time, not just pre-season but the past two years, building a lot of strength in depth and coaching difficult.
We saw that the match on Friday and we can not wait to begin with our very first game against Georgia.
We are some of the groups that are last to get started at the championship, so it will be nice to kick off, after which it’s all about creating momentum so we are here for as long as you can.
That’s why we’re here, to have a successful World Cup, but it has been good to take in the culture of Japan.
I had been excited about trying some foods before coming here, and it’s been amazing to now sample it for real.
There’s a stat doing the rounds which Jonathan Davies Foxy, and I’m the middle partnership who have played the games collectively in rugby since I left my Test debut two years ago.
We have got a fantastic relationship and it is a pretty great one off it.
Foxy’s great at finding good places to eat and, for me, he is always eager to find out about different countries’ traditions and cultures.
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 the day to Hiroshima.
I like looking into history and the culture of areas, and that has been a place I wanted to see.
We had a look at some of the fires of the atom bomb which went away there and got there, and we moved into the museum.
It was interesting but very extreme. It was very humbling.
Possessing a look round and considering what those people went , it was a strong experience.
Afterwards we decided to take a peek at the town of Hiroshima, and it’s a very great location.
While we’re there, Foxy discovered a classic Japanese restaurant which functioned okonomiyaki, a savoury pancake that may be layered with an omelette or even pancake, meat, noodles, veg – all!
It was very yummy and it was fantastic to eat the Japanese manner, assembled around a little pub, sat in front of the food since it had been cooked, and the restaurant was really bustling, full of people coming in for a dinner after work.
It was if we were in Kitakyushu because of Welsh messages and all the flags about, like we had been back in Wales.
The Welsh Rugby Union did a great work over the past few years setting up that connection between Wales and Kitakyushu, and also we can really see its benefits.
Everywhere we went, people were stopping us at the road and yelling”rugby players! Wales!” To people.
The folks here are really good. They’re so respectful bowing – you almost throw.
It was awesome to take that town as they embraced Welsh rugby and Wales.
The coaching session has been incredible – I do not think I have ever been involved in anything like it.
That crowd of 15,000 people was bigger than lots of the audiences that is not taking anything away from your Pro14, and we get in the Pro14, it was an awesome reception.
Everyone’s away from house so lots of the boys have been getting homesick, but I’m used to get away from your home.
I went to boarding school and moved in a young age, so I am somewhat more used to it compared to others.
It is a time for folks.
People do really say”you enjoy traveling, don’t you, so that you know where to go for nice food”, and I really do, and luckily I’ve got Foxy as well who is very good at that.
He has taken the lead on this so far, so it has been nice to have a back seat.
Hadleigh Parkes spoke to BBC Sport Wales’ Dafydd Pritchard.
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