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Cheerleaders In Japan, Day 1 Dionna

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Hello Cardinals Fans!

Today began a very exciting adventure for the Arizona Cardinals Show Team. I started my day in Phoenix and about 24 hours later, I am ending it in Japan!

We started our day at 4:45 a.m. meeting at the airport in Phoenix. A few bags were overweight, a few items had to be rearranged, but we managed to get checked in and off to the gate pretty quickly! The first of our two flights was to San Francisco. This flight was just over an hour; a breeze compared to our next one. Once we landed in San Francisco, we stopped to have breakfast at a Mexican restaurant in the international terminal. We all enjoyed chatting and eating as a team, and there was no rush since we had three hours before our flight to Tokyo. I made sure to spend as much time as possible standing up, because sitting down for 11 hours is nearly impossible for me. I'm a dancer, I can't help but move!

At 11 a.m., we boarded the plane headed for Tokyo. The plane was a lot bigger than I expected; it had both a main level and an upper level! After making my way back to my seat (this was a long walk, to row 59 of 60 haha), I got as comfortable as possible and prepared for my first flight out of the country. It wasn't long before I fell asleep, probably because I hadn't slept at all the night before. I woke up a few times to eat, and look at the map that was displaying where our plane was en route on a map. It was cool to see exactly where we were on the globe. After 11 hours of flight time, we landed safely in Tokyo at the Narita airport.

Getting off the plane seemed no different than getting off the plane any other time… except now, the signs were both in English and Japanese. It was actually a day later, which was a little confusing at first. I left my watch on Phoenix time so that I knew when I could and couldn't make phone calls to family and friends. The first stop was customs, where I got my passport stamped for the first time! We went downstairs to claim our luggage and met our AFE contacts, Jason and Jackie. Everyone boarded a bus for a two-hour ride to the Yokosuka naval base. I don't remember much because we all fell asleep. The travel was getting to be tiring. However, everyone got a second wind when we arrived at the hotel; it was finally beginning to feel real, we were really in Japan!

We had a few minutes to freshen up before heading to dinner and got to check out our rooms. I was pleased to find that our rooms were actually little suites with all the comforts of home, with lots of room to unpack. Dinner was excellent; we ate at the CPO club and spent some time getting to know our contacts. Jason is a big sports fan and admitted that even though most of his family is Seattle Seahawks' fans, he loves to watch the Cardinals! The jetlag really started to set in during dinner, and Jason encouraged us to try to stay awake until at least 10 p.m. to try to adjust. Back in the room, I unpacked and watched some TV (in English) to stay up until 10. By 10:01 I was fast asleep, looking forward to our first full day in Japan.

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