It’s my first official morning here in Japan, as I prep for this week’s two Rizin FF events, as well as UFC 207. To say there could be some MMA overload this weekend, may be the final MMA understatement of 2016.
For those who have never made the trek from North America to The Land of The Rising Sun, it can be challenging one. From enduring a seated / modified seated position for 13 ½ hours on a plane, to trying to do your best to adjust to (in my case) a 14 hour time zone change when you land, your body clock says it’s 5am, but sorry pal, it’s 7pm, and meetings start as soon as you get to the hotel.
I was somewhat ok when I landed in Japan and was simply excited to turn on my wifi and catch up on whatever I missed over the long journey across the globe. Unfortunately, the airport wifi was (be polite Joe) … not the greatest, which lead me on an expedition trying to find the storefront that had my portable wifi unit.
I rent one each time I come to Japan as they are fantastic and work everywhere. But, with no airport wifi on my phone, and no staff having any clue what I was talking about or showing them on my phone, it was quite the scramble.
An hour later, after running back and forth across the terminal, standing in 15-20 minute lines, only to be told “we don’t carry that here”, I was finally helped by someone who knew what was going on. They showed me where to go, and after 60 or so minutes of mayhem, I got my unit and connected to the rest of the world. What I didn’t notice was that my overwhelming joy for finally getting online left me vulnerable, as someone stole my jacket behind me.
After another 15 minute scurry, I was finally able to find it … the thieves were kind enough to leave the Canadian change in my pockets, but did score some used iPhone ear buds. To them, I say “Congrats”. But seriously, isn’t that somewhat gross? Anyways …
I then hear my name announced on the airport terminal speaker system … Rizin FF staff are wondering where I am and apparently began to go into panic mode. My plane landed nearly two hours ago but no “Joe Ferraro”. I made my way over to them and explained what had just happened. They ensured all would be fine, escorted me to my vehicle and I was driven to the hotel.
Fighting to stay awake during the 40 minute drive, my goal was simply to get to the hotel, sign-in at the Rizin FF staff table, check-in and go to sleep. Wishful thinking on my part.
From Operations staff to Production staff, I was spinning left and right, bouncing from one part of the hotel to the other. If there was ever a human Plinko from The Price is Right, it was yours truly last night in Tokyo.
After all was said and done, I finally got to my room, freshened up and headed out to put some sort of nourishment in my system. Lucky for me, there was an Italian Restaurant right across the road. I went there, had some delicious pasta, walked some of it off afterwards then hit my mattress like a ton of bricks.
Unfortunately, and as expected, my first overnight experience was a challenge. Fighting to sleep while the body is fighting to stay awake is a battle that is not fun. But, it does get easier every night, with the exception of the wall I will likely hit later on today. Usually by around 1pm, just after lunch, I feel like it’s time to sleep … like now. As in immediately.
But, today at Rizin FF, it’s all about production meetings and sit-downs with each and every fighter competing on the second show. The organization was kind enough to help the English broadcast crew with interviews yesterday, while we were in the air, so I will review those notes / answers (to my questions) later today, and put my notes together for the first show on the 29th.
So far, my schedule is off to a great start … my first blog is complete and Fightful.com Managing Editor was successful in hounding me to ensure I am available for a UFC 207 preview podcast tomorrow. We have confirmed the time and will be ready to go tomorrow.
Personally, I can’t wait for Sean to lose his mind over a variety of MMA things, namely the Cain Velasquez story and the fact Cyborg Santos is here in Japan, with me likely texting him a picture of her and I by the time this very blog gets posted on the site.
If there’s anything else you folks believe will send Sean scrambling, especially with me being here in Japan, hit me up on social media ( @ShowdownJoe ) and I’ll ensure I get it done.
Oh, and later today, I (or Rizin FF) will announce who my color commentator will be for the two events here this week. With Heath Herring now competing in the event, somebody had to replace “The Texas Krazy Horse” … and I’ll be meeting him and the whole broadcast team shortly. Stay tuned !!! For the record, Fightful.com will be live streaming BOTH Rizin shows!