Cleveland Browns defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi recently fulfilled his childhood dream of visiting Japan-he described the city as the cleanest he’s ever seen. He accompanied a friend on a birthday trip to Tokyo and got an up-close look at a country he’s admired for most of his life. Listen to some of Larry’s impressions about Japan, its culture, its people and its nightlife.
Thank you very much for taking the time today. So first of all, what brings you to Tokyo?
I always wanted to come here as a kid, and then had an opportunity to come here with Michael Fukunaga (a good friend from the States), you know, celebrate his birthday, and really just come out and just enjoy the city. I will go to Guam tomorrow hosting the football camp with another guy from the NFL, his name is Zac Benner. It was an opportunity for me to come out here and still handle my business on the back end.
What places have you enjoyed so far?
Yeah, Kyoto is probably my favorite part of the trip, you know, we got to see Mike’s family compound and just really learn the history and ancestry of, you know, everything that was going on.
I mean we saw paintings that were 200 years old and it was just really a surreal experience.
A lot of times you come to Tokyo and you see all the lights and the glamour but all Tokyo, you know, the things I used to see in the animes and things I really used to enjoy as a child, I still enjoy them these days, is really dope to actually be in that environment and see those kinds of things you know.
200 years old is a very long time you know what I’m saying? And to still have that ancestry and those artifacts is just amazing me.
How about the food? What food did you really enjoy here?
Definitely various tempura. The sushi was amazing, even though I can only eat shrimp sushi, but it was definitely good to try different kinds of shrimp.
The bean sprout was very good. The restaurant we went to the other night, I can’t actually remember the name of it, but the food was amazing.
We actually had some ramen, I think it was called Funagi, and it was very, very good. The chef there was just amazing and just the way they had everything so seamlessly.
You put your ticket in or you get your ticket, you pick what you want and you give it to them. They make it right in front of you and it was just very seamless so it was very cool
A more serious topic. You have seen a lot of people wearing masks, recently, right?
Yes, I mean I knew coming to Tokyo, that the coronavirus was kind of running rapid in different areas especially in China, but I wasn’t really worried about it.
Me and Michael talked about it before we came out here and, once again, this is- Tokyo is somewhere I wanted to go my entire life.
I told my mom when I was probably four or five that I was coming here and I knew that It wasn’t even in the universe for me to even have a problem with the virus because that’s not what I came here for.
I came here to, you know, enjoy and to see and just enjoy the sights and it’s been an amazing time We’ve always got just so used to just walking there and running that we’re not even, you know, that’s not even in the universe for us.
We’re trying to just really enjoy the time, and we’ve had an amazing time just being able to really embrace the culture and just to just take it all in.
I saw you wore a special mask? Is that a designer mask?
Well, I saw everybody with a mask and I think that it’s always good to have uniqueness and that kind of things, so I just went on Amazon and I was like, ‘Well, I’m going to Tokyo, so I might as well see where I can buy some cool masks. So I got a bunch and I was able to give Mike some, too, so it was very cool.
The current circumstances are tense around the world. However, the Japanese are very organized and, right now, they have it under control.
Very clean too, this is probably one of the cleanest cities I’ve ever been to in my entire life, and I’ve traveled all over the U.S.
I’ve never actually seen such a city that was [as clean.]
Me and Michael were struggling to find trashcans on the street just because it was just so clean you know what I’m saying? Like, people usually just take the trash with them and take it home so it was very unique to see.
So, it’s your last day in Tokyo. Do you have any plans to come back, maybe for the Olympic games?
Well definitely, I’ll definitely be back, I made a promise to Michael’s family that we’d come back cause they owe us a nice dinner at Kyoto so, we’re definitely going to come back, I don’t know about 2020 just yet, because of the football season and training my calendar might be too tight but, definitely, I would love to come for the Olympics. If not, definitely 2021
It’s offseason now – when does the season start?
So, we start OTA’s the first week of April, and then you know you go through OTA’s to a very mini campus; finish this around June, we got a break in June for about 5 weeks and you come back for training camp; then you go into the season and then do it all over.
Ok, final question, what do you think about the nightlife in Tokyo?
Taka (Matsuda) has taken so good care of us. Just being able to just take it all in, you know what I’m saying, and not having to worry about anything, everything was just taken care of, it really made you feel at home.
Take really did a great job at making us feel right at home and welcoming us with open arms and, you know, the celebration for Michael on his birthday, bringing out the cake, it was just so professional and so 5-star experience, so thank you so much…
For those listeners who don’t know who Taka is, he’s a legend here in Tokyo, he’s the manager of Lex formerly known as Lexington Queen, as I said he’s a legend and he takes good care of his clients, friends, and visitors.
Thank you, Taka,
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