Aiming for the Olympics – Asia Tour Part 2

By Sophie Cox

Woke early this morning craving a cup of tea for some reason. Didn’t want to make one in the room as it would disturb my roommate so got up and went for a little jog round the park whilst I waited for McDonalds to open. Got a gym session to look forward to a little later this morning and possibly some football in the park this afternoon. No judo today as the university we are training at have a rest day today. Yesterday was a total rest day (much needed!) for us and I did a recovery bike session in the gym followed by a shopping/eating trip in Tokyo central. I tried Unagi (eel) for the first time and loved it. “Good for power”  our Japanese coach Go Tsuanda told me. Good to catch up with him and team mate Colin and find out the gossip from the boys camp. We followed up with a Starbucks coffee then spent a good couple of hours wondering  around Harajuku. Faith was in good shopping form buying lots of little gifts for people back home. I didn’t do very well but enjoyed just browsing although it was packed with people down there. Remembered it was mother’s day back in the uk so scored some brownie points by skyping when we got back. This was after finding an amazing noodle shack for dinner time.

It’s been one judo session a day this week with some weights and CV work fitted around. The sessions continue to be marathons – 3 hours long, 90% randori and it’s as much a mental challenge; staying focused for that long; as it is physical. There’s about 40 Japanese women on the mat, then the 7 of us, and we have been joined by 2 Swiss girls and a Austrian who are also training out here. The atmosphere is good and we are all fighting/training hard. I feel the team is giving each other plenty of support and it is motivational to see the girls pushing hard and being determined and that helps me get through those rough patches where occasionally I need a bit of a lift. Had a good team building football match at the beginning of last week which gave me an excellent ab work out due to plenty of hilarity. And laundry time was made into an experience as well with Sally managing to shrink her socks to the size of a one year olds. The Teikyo university girls have made us very welcome and it’s great to meet up again with Akina who can to love and train in the UK with us for 6 months.


  • Browsing the supermarkets looking for bargain gyozas and interesting Japanese treats.
  • Having an orange brûlée frappacino at Starbucks.
  • Laughing at the pictures on Facebook.
  • Making endless cups of tea in the room.
  • Eating Unagi.
  • Training with world champion Matsumoto.
  • Football in the park.


  • The cold.
  • The price of an orange brûlée frappacino.
  • Sore fingers.
  • Washing (clothes not me! I don’t mind that so much and feel its better for my social acceptability if I do occasionally wash).
  • Tiredness – ok when I sleep well but not always the case.

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