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September 29, 2005

An especially good pub

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I had a dilemma today. I had arranged to meet a former client for a drink tonight but we had never agreed to the details. Having about a thimble-sized brain - and thus unable to remember anything, I found myself at a loss when he confirmed and said "name the place". I like to think I am pretty good at pubs, restaurants etc., but I thought I should pick someplace close to his office near St. Paul's and I rarely go over that way.

I decided that Bow Lane would be a good destination, but I had only been there once and could not remember the name of the pub. So, I went on to the Internet and found a great site that rated pubs. After 10 seconds, one of the listings jumped out at me, so I copied the link, dropped into the e-mail and wrote "this is the place".

I had never been there, so I had no idea what to expect. Imagine my surprise when it turned out to be one of the coolest pubs I had been to in London. I would like to take credit, but the reality is it was a last minute punt (hit and hope, for you football fans) that paid off much better that I could ever hope for.

Anyway, the place is Williamson's Tavern and it is in a small alley just off Bow Lane. The location is great, it was crowded but not uncomfortable, the service was good, and the beer poured well. It helped that the guy I met is great company and I was truly sorry that I had to leave to meet another client. The ironic thing is we had talked about bad behavior like cancelling meetings at the last minute. Sure enough, when I checked my e-mail after leaving, my last meeting had indeed cancelled at the last minute.

Anyway, these are a few pictures. I took the one of the left as I was walking up to Bow Lane...you can see St Paul's Cathedral in the background. The picture on the right is the alley where the pub is located. What an awful picture...guess I will have to go back! Who's coming with?

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Posted by Kirk at 05:43 AM | Comments (1)

September 28, 2005

What am I doing? Nothing really

I have spent a lot of time on this business trip in the London office. Usually I am traveling around for meetings, so I have plenty of opportunity to take pictures and write about them. But there is only so much I can say about going to work and then back to the hotel at the end of the day. So, now you know.

Anyway, I went to watch the football after work (at the pub) with a guy that I used to work with. Actually, we had planned to get a bunch of people out, but in the end it was only the two of us.

Unfortunately, he is not a big football fan, which kind of defeats the purpose of going out to watch it and I had to divide my attention between him and the TV. The end result is that I did neither thing well: I did not really see the game and I did not really keep up my end of the conversation. So, sorry about that David.

There is more football tonight and this time I will go with an actual fan. Well, sort of...he supports Liverpool, but you can't really hold that against him as he is a nice guy in all other respects.

Posted by Kirk at 04:43 PM | Comments (0)

September 27, 2005

Boredom, cold weather and horses

So, what do these things have in common? Nothing, really except that they are all mentioned here.

I decided not to take the camera with me today, not that it mattered as I was in the office the whole time. The days are getting noticeably shorter, so there was not much of a chance to get any pictures after I left. I think work is starting to take its toll. I could barely drag myself back to the hotel afterwards, and I made it mostly because this is where my bed is.

You could really feel the chill today - I think it was 17-18 degrees, but with the wind chill it seemed much colder. I cannot believe that I was moaning about how hot it was earlier this month. I miss it now (except the humidity - I will never miss that).

Anyway, since nothing happened, I thought I would go through the 150 pictures I have taken since leaving Japan so you have something to look at. The theme of the day is apparently horses...the one on the left was taken in Villeneuve-sur-Lot at the market, while the other has mounted police keeping the peace at the Chelsea match.

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Posted by Kirk at 04:43 AM | Comments (0)

September 25, 2005

London's Wagamama's = AVOID

For some reason, I really wanted ramen for lunch today. So, I went to one of the many Wagamama's Japanese-style restaurants in London. If you ever find yourself in a similar situation, TRY SOMETHING ELSE.

It is not that the food is particularly bad (of course, it is not great either), but the service is absolutely awful. It seems the only commonality between the people that worked there was their lack of awareness/inability to serve.

They ARE quick to get you to your table and take your order, but after that you are on your own. When I had finished today, I sat for about five minutes after they cleared my dishes before finally asking for the bill. I can handle that. But the server smiled and said "oh, I will get that for you!" like he was doing me a favor! AND I had to go through the same process twice more, once to actually pay and again with my change.

Maybe it is because service in Japan is better and I expect that should carry over in London. I paid 15 pounds (Y3,000) for a ramen and a gyoza, which is about three times as expensive as Tokyo. For that price, I expect them to be more attentive.

I know that some of you are saying "I told you so"...ok, I believe you now. I won't be going back.

Then again, it could be me. When I got into the elevator in the hotel, this complete fuckwit got in at the same time. (I could tell beforehand because he was wearing immaculately pressed khakis, white shirt (also immaculately pressed) and the shiniest tassled brown loafers I had ever seen. And it is Sunday) I pressed the button for my floor and the elevator starts to move. After five seconds he looks at me and says "uh, excuse me, four please". There were two of us in an elevator that can handle ten and I was not blocking the panel. I had left my bell boy uniform in my room and opted for a t-shirt and levi's, so you would think he realised I was a guest. I asked if he meant he wanted me to press the button for him...that got him sorted out. But not me...after that bad lunch, I just wanted to give him a kicking.

Posted by Kirk at 10:00 PM | Comments (1)

Chelsea 2 Aston Villa 1

I am now part of the high-flying London sport scene. Leigh arranged for tickets at Stamford Bridge for this weekend's fixture - Chelsea were hoping to win their seventh straight match to open the year and they did that quite easily with a 2-1 result.

It was very crowded with 42,000 people there, and they announced before hand that it was the largest attendance of LOCAL fans since 1982 or something. That was no surprise as there weren't many Aston Villa fans (they were tucked away in a small corner). I imagine the ticket prices put them off...we paid 60 pounds each to get in! I felt like I was in Japan for the World Cup!

This is the entrance to Stamford Bridge - you can see the crowds (!) and you may also notice that they have put some money into renovations as it is mostly clean. On the right, is a picture I took from our seats, but it does not do the view justice. We could see everything and it was a much better perspective than watching on TV.

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We really got the full Chelski experience: wannabe City hardmen and Russians. The picture on the right below is one of the fans using half-time as an opportunity to read his Financial Times. Would love to see him try that at Upton Park! I could not resist taking a picture. The Russians were sitting in the row in front of us, between us and the exit (hence no photo).

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After the match, we walked back through Brompton Cemetery (it is purely coincidental that I am mentioning this right after talking about the Russians). This place is incredibly big, amazingly full, and most of the tombstones are pre-1900. Most of the time it is very quiet, but every two weeks or so, thousands of Chelsea fans stomp through on their way to Kensington. I bet they didn't count on that when they were buried.

Posted by Kirk at 06:02 PM | Comments (0)

Keep coming back!

The site meter says there have been 3,000 visits since I installed it on 14 May. Thanks for reading!

Posted by Kirk at 06:00 PM | Comments (0)

September 24, 2005

One last look at France

It is Saturday and exactly one week after my last full day of holiday in France. That is a bit depressing so I thought I would post a few more pictures to brighten up my day.

These two are of Leigh and Nicky's house - isn't it awesome? On the left is the front of the house - Leigh is standing just to the left of the tree while Nicky is upstairs in the window. On the right is a picture of the patio off the kitchen. We had a lot of meals there. A lot of very good meals. Do not get me started.

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I cannot believe I had to come back...

These last two pictures are taken from the front of the house and show the contrast in weather that we had. I think I have entirely too many pictures with fog in them this summer. As for the other picture, I like the contrast of the sunlit tree and the dark clouds in the background. Makes me feel like a real photographer. Leigh and Nicky just had all of this landscaped and it looks fantastic.

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Posted by Kirk at 08:58 PM | Comments (2)

Finally it is Friday

This has been a long week - probably because I was on holiday last week, but also because I was out late on two nights and I could not really shake off not having enough sleep.

Fortunately, I had a very good lunch, which helped restore my spirits somewhat (but did not make me any more productive). The venue was Pont de la Tour, which is a very nice restaurant in the Shad Thames area just off Tower Bridge. I took this picture on my way over to lunch.

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As you can see, the weather was not the best, but it was warm enough that we could get a table on the terrace. The food was good, although the service was a little overbearing at first. Lucky for us it started to rain and the canopy above us started to fill with water. It did not have any drainage, so the staff had to keep coaxing the water off of it so it would not break. They used chairs, which added an extra element to the entertainment.

I did not have an umbrella and neither did the client. His office was less than ten minutes away, so we decided to chance it and walk back. And, yes, I was soaked. For a city with so much rain, there is a surprising lack of umbrellas for sale. Anyway, the lunch was good.

Posted by Kirk at 05:45 AM | Comments (0)

September 22, 2005

Market day(s) in France

We actually had two market days on this trip. On Friday, we went to the super local market in St. Livrade. In Saturday, we went to Villeneuve-sur-Lot, which is a larger town about 15 minutes away.

If you like vegetables, you should love this picture. It makes me want to cook something. I wish I had a kitchen right now. Of course, that also has a lot to do with being in a hotel in London.

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Here are a few more photos from that morning...chicken on the left, spices on the left. I wish I had taken better pictures when I was there. They had a man selling very fresh chicken. VERY fresh...every so often he would grab one of the birds out of its cage and take it around the corner, presumably to cut its head off. I wonder what the remaining chickens were thinking as their mates were taken away?

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I like this picture - it is just off the main square in Villeneuve. Looks nice, right?
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The weather was much nicer that day...it is hard to take a bad picture in France when the sky is this blue. Here are some other shots. The only thing I bought at the markets was a newspaper. Sad, isn't it?
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That is all I will post on France, I think. Eventually, I hope to put more pictures in the photo album...of course I have to upload the Hokkaido ones first. I need more free time. Maybe I should stop going to work...it takes up too much of my day.

Posted by Kirk at 04:34 AM | Comments (0)

September 20, 2005

Wine tasting and a spectacular lunch

We spent one of our days driving around to the wineries. It helped that the weather was splendid (I promise I will not mention it again). The wine was also good. As I mentioned yesterday, we went to Montbazillac, which is just up the hill from Bergerac.

Our first stop was Chateau de la Jaubertie, which is not only a beautiful place but full of fabulous wine. I liked the white and rose (and the dessert wine - I always like that!), but apparently it is the reds that they are known for. Don't ask me what exactly I had - I drink whatever they put in front of me. Anyway, this is the entrance to the shop>>>
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The frustrating part of the day was that I knew I was not taking any wine home - not the same for Leigh, who bought more than a few bottles. More on that later.

After we had worked up a steady buzz, I mean seriously sampled the local vintages, we headed off to lunch. I cannot remember the name of the restaurant (imagine that!), but I can tell you that the food was good and the view was great (actually I took the picture below from our table). The staff were a bit creepy, however, as they insisted on explaining to you what was on your plate when they put it down. It could have been worse as the owner was chatting to some people at another table and did not leave, even when their courses arrived and they started eating. Mostly he just stared at them, but sometimes he would interject himself into their conversation.
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Afterwards, we went back home. Leigh and I spent the afternoon organising his wine (see the wine cellar below) and then we lit a bonfire to get rid of the boxes, some old tree stumps and other miscellaneous garbage. The fire smoldered for two days and we would go throw more wood on it when we were bored. That was surprisingly fun.
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Next time, I will put up some pictures from our early morning market visits. Can't be bothered now, Arsenal v Everton is starting soon and I want to watch a little of the match.

Posted by Kirk at 03:23 AM | Comments (0)

September 19, 2005

French sport: Agen v Castres

One of the highlights of the holiday was watching local powerhouse Sporting Union Agen take on regional rivals Castres Olympique. Both teams are in the top league in France (Top 14) and have internationals playing for them - this was high quality sport.

The home team won convincingly (Agen 40 Castres 16) despite conceding the first nine points and having one of their high-scoring forwards sent off early in the first half. I tried to find some commentary on the Internet, but this is all I could come up with.

The weather was perfect and we had seats three rows off the pitch at midfield. I could not get over how close we were to the action...the pictures below give you a pretty good idea.

The first picture is the entrance to the ground. To the right is the home team lining up for the opening kick. On the bottom left is one of the lineouts...right in front of us (!). The last picture is the home fans helping the team celebrate.
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Posted by Kirk at 06:04 AM | Comments (0)

France: awesome

Well, I am back from France. It was excellent. Thank you Leigh and Nicky!

I think this is the longest time I have been away from the Internet (and the blog!) since I started writing all these things down, and I am having trouble deciding what to write. Because of that, and because it is Sunday night and I have an early start tomorrow (work - ugh!), I am going to give you a little at a time. And try to stick with pictures as much as possible!

For background: I spent the last five days with Leigh and Nicky at their place in France. It is in Lot-et-Garonne, in between Bourdeaux and Toulouse. The weather was mostly good, although rain threatened the first day and there was some morning fog three of the days (all my fault, as you know if you read about my trips to Hokkaido, Karuizawa and Hayama).
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This next picture is of Chateau Montbazillac. It is impressive from the outside, but after spending eight euros a piece and touring the place, we were less excited. But the region is also well known for its dessert wines (a poor man's Sauternes?!) and we went around and sampled a few, which made up for the disappointment of the chateau. And the weather was fantastic as you can see.
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I will leave it there for now. More pictures coming soon...

Posted by Kirk at 05:50 AM | Comments (0)

September 13, 2005

Some lazy London pictures before I go

I am off to France for the rest of the week. I had a fairly long day yesterday - jet lag had me up at 5am, all the better to get to the office by 7am. A full day at the office, with some major distractions as England and Australia played the fifth and deciding match in the Ashes. And, as usual, too many drinks at the Ship after work.

I realised I have not been prolific at keeping this up and thought a few pictures would be nice. But I am having quality problems and did not get much that is worthwhile. Maybe I needed a coffee?

Anyway, when I left the hotel, I saw these riders go past. By the time I got my camera out and focused they were almost gone. Definitely unexpected! And the other side is The Green Park - nice place to walk in the morning.
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I will not take my laptop to France, so this is likely the last post until Sunday. A true vacation...no Internet!

Posted by Kirk at 04:33 PM | Comments (0)

September 12, 2005

Cold and rainy...must be London

Here I am, back in London. I am staying in Piccadilly, which is a first for me. Every time I get used to a hotel and the surrounding area, my company takes it off the list and I have pick a new one and start the process all over again. Since I am only here for a few days, I guess it is not a big deal.

One benefit of the hotel is that it is right across the street from Hatchards, which is a very good bookstore. So, once I was settled I headed over there and got a few books. After that, I went to the Cafe Nero at St James church and had a latte. It is much cooler than Tokyo and it was nice to sit outside without sweating.

The flight was OK...I slept most of the way and the plane did not crash (Preyash/Glenn: sorry but it looks like I get to keep my plasma TV a bit longer). I flew on BA, which has limited its meal service because of trouble with the company that provides catering at Heathrow. Why that impacts r). I flew on BA, which has limited its meal service because of trouble with the company that provides catering at Heathrow. Why that impacts flights from Tokyo is a good question, I guess, but I did not ask - I am getting used to the sub-standard service and all I wanted to do was sleep. (They did send me an e-mail on Saturday to let me know. I guess they realised if they had sent it earlier in the week, I would have switched flights. To reward their cleverness, I might start flying Virgin every so often)

Anyway - it is 6pm on Sunday night and I have to figure out what I am having for dinner. Thanks to BA, I am starving. And I must be jet-lagged if I am complaining about missing airline food.

Posted by Kirk at 02:05 AM | Comments (1)

September 11, 2005

Sayonara, for now

OK...here we go again. I am off to London and another business trip. I would really REALLY rather stay in Japan this time, but I do no have much choice in the matter.

I had a good final Saturday - I met Satomi for coffee in the afternoon. She was kind enough to come to Akasaka to see me. I am so lazy.

Last night, I met up with Preyash, who is back in Tokyo after "moving away" last month. We joined up with Fred's stag party soon after (they are probably still going....)

Glenn and Preyash were arguing about who would get my plasma screen TV if I die in a plane crash (today being 11 September and all), which is reassuring. For the record, neither of them can have it, or anything else i own for that matter.

Anyway, I took a few pictures of the stag party, but the memories are too fresh (and painful) for me to post them yet. Maybe I need a few days of London weather?

Posted by Kirk at 07:05 AM | Comments (0)

September 10, 2005

Shinjuku neon madness

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This is for me, not you. Sorry about that. I am off to Europe again (more on that later) and figured I would need some very Japanese looking picture on the blog to keep me entertained.

It's funny because this kind of scene was what I expected of Tokyo when I first moved here, but the reality is much different. Having said that, I guess I am perpetuating the myth by publishing this.

Posted by Kirk at 10:48 AM | Comments (1)

September 08, 2005

For English football fans

_40776078_davidhealy203.jpg After losing 1-0 to Northern Ireland, what are your chances against football powers like Austria and Poland? Football365 says fans were chanting "are you Scotland in disguise", which would be funny except for the fact they won 2-0 vs Norway.

I guess all that debate about playing a 4-4-2 or 4-5-1 was meaningless. Now it's time to discuss Sven - should he stay or should he go? Here is the lineup the US used to beat Mexico and qualify for the World Cup. Just in case you need someone to support next year in Germany.

18-Kasey Keller
2-Frankie Hejduk
22-Oguchi Onyewu
3-Gregg Berhalter
7-Eddie Lewis
19-Steve Ralston (23-Santino Quaranta, 81)
10-Claudio Reyna (capt.)
14-Chris Armas
17-DaMarcus Beasley
21-Landon Donovan (25-Pablo Mastroeni, 74)
20-Brian McBride (11-Jeff Cunningham, 90 )
Head Coach: Bruce Arena

0908 003.jpg By the way, Japan came from 0-2 down to beat Honduras 5-4 in their friendly. There were so many goals, my head was spinning! Or was that the football? It was good anyway. Here is one of the girls at the bar and her Japan-supporting dog. The US plays its meaningless WC qualifier in a few hours. Coach Arena has sent many of the regulars back to their teams and will field newcomers to give them some match experience. What a luxury.

Posted by Kirk at 08:21 AM | Comments (0)

September 06, 2005

Typhoon Nabi...yep, another storm

20050906p2a00m0na010000p_size6.jpg It seems like the relentless march of mother nature is...well, relentless. Typhoon Nabi has hit Kyushu and it is a big enough storm to prompt evacuations. There are also casualties. Fortunately, it is nowhere near as big or dangerous as Katrina, but it is still pretty wicked. Good thing it is not headed towards Tokyo. There have been too many earthquakes this year, and it seems like we are in for a second year of unusually numerous typhoons. I guess it makes life interesting...if you like shaking a lot and being wet.

Posted by Kirk at 11:30 PM | Comments (0)

Roppongi Hills at dusk

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I took this picture from my office as night was falling. One of the guys who was leaving had been standing by the window and said to the rest of the group that we should remember to take our umbrellas.

That was much more interesting than what I was working on, so I wandered over and took a few photos. Looking out of a green-tinted window is not the best vantage point, but we are 15 stories up, so it didn't look like I was going outside!

The neon lights mark the main Roppongi district. I hear that some people go there and drink, but I would not know anything about that!

Posted by Kirk at 11:17 PM | Comments (0)

September 05, 2005

How many Americans own a passport?

Surprisingly, no one seems to know for sure. But an educated guess appears to put it at close to 20% or 60m. There seems to be a lot of reasons why this number is so low...these seem to be the most reasonable:

* The US is a big country. There is such a diversity of places, climates, and activities that Americans do not need to leave the country.
* Vacations are too short. Most Americans get two weeks holiday a year, limiting the distances people are willing to travel.
* There is no such thing as a "gap year". Some countries have a tradition of taking a year off between high school and college. Or military service and working. Not in the US!
* Close-by foreign travel is possible without one. One does not need a passport to go to Mexico, Canada or some parts of the Caribbean (at least not yet)

I did not get my first passport until I was 18 and before that, I did not think much of it. Of course, it seems like I have been on airplanes ever since.

If you want to review the entire debate about Americans and their passport situation, you should check out this entry and comments posted by Phil Gyford. At the very least, it is highly entertaining. If you want the hard number...skip the blog and refer back to the first sentence of this entry.

The whole question seems to invite an anti-American bias (Only X% of Americans have a passport, etc), but there is no love lost for the Americans that do travel....unfortunately that could be our own fault. And I am not talking about matching hawaiian shirts, not knowing the difference between carpaccio and pasta, or talking loudly in English in hopes that this will somehow translate into whatever local language is being spoken. Instead, think about iconic movie characters...we gave England James Bond and kept Chevy Chase for ourselves (and don't start moaning that Ian Fleming is not American...we made the movies).

Posted by Kirk at 11:35 PM | Comments (0)

September 04, 2005

Last barbecue of the summer

We had a barbecue last night. Unfortunately, it looks like the last summer fun before I leave Japan on my next business trip. But there was a good turnout (thanks for coming!), tons of food and drink (too much, my refrigerator is full!), and good fun.

On the left is Glenn's daughter Alex and Jeremy and Mina's daughter Calyn. I love that picture. On the right, you can see Ryo, Yoko, Alex and Reiko.
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Here is Glenn, Mario and myself. Leigh had better things to do than turn for the photo (well, maybe we did not tell him) and Alex is off to the right looking happy. That is Yoko and Chiaki on the right...if you read this blog regularly, maybe you are getting to know them.
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This is Kaz with Chihiro and Reiko in front ofthe barbecue. I hope that they were having fun...Kaz looks a bit surprised here. And on the right, Kaz with Chiaki and Kuniko. I should tell you that Kaz did all the barbecuing. I had told myself I should do this, but I kept running around. He did a good job - everyone was happy with the food. Maybe I should let him do that all the time! Let me know if you quit your day job, Kaz.

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I kicked everyone out at 10pm so I could go watch the football, which was rude of me (I apologise), but better on my head this morning. I went with Tom and Tim over to Legends, where we met up with Peter and his parents. Tim kept calling over the Japanese guys to meet Peter's mom. That was pretty funny, although maybe she (and Peter's dad!) did not think so. I (sensibly) left my camera at home, so you will have to trust me on this.

Posted by Kirk at 12:02 PM | Comments (1)

And Yeovil pick up their first win of the season

Wow...good day for sports results. Yeovil also won Saturday, their first in League One. They are still bottom of the table, but only by goal differential. A few more results like this and they should be moving up a few spots.

For more on the game and the trouble of following English football from outside England, I suggest you go here. I imagine Arizona is a football wasteland, but he does an admirable job of keeping everything up to date and interesting.

Posted by Kirk at 11:49 AM | Comments (0)

US secures world cup berth!

capt.ohca10309040121.mexico_us_soccer_ohca103 The US beat Mexico 2-0 to clinch their place in Germany next year. This is the first time since 1934 that the US was the first team in the Central and North America to qualify. What does that mean? Well...nothing really, but it sounds nice, even though Ukraine also secured its world cup finals spot last night, which puts it in context.

Let me be the first person in 2005 to pose the question on whether the US could win the whole thing in Germany. I imagine there will be a lot of that over the next year, just like their was in 2002 when the US beat Portugal to start tongues wagging. I don't think so - they are not playing European teams enough to get the experience they need, although it is good that more Americans are playing overseas. Then again, if Greece can win the European championship...

I will settle for knocking the Germans out to avenge the un-desereved win against the US in 2002. And I am sure English fans would like that too.

Speaking of which, the time zone gap with the US works against us (8am start) and there is not much interest in US football (soccer!) in Japan - so it was not televised. Instead, I watched England play out a miserable match with Wales. Joe Cole banged one in off a defender for the only goal (is it me, or is he looking more like Michael Owen every day? - has anyone ever seen them in the same room together?) There were a few other interesting moments, but all in all, it was 90 minutes and two pints that would have been better spent elsewhere.

In any case, there should be lots of lively debate over the next four days about whether England should be running a 4-4-2 instead of the 4-5-1. Considering they have yet to qualify (like the US! like Ukraine! like Japan!), it is an important subject...

Posted by Kirk at 11:07 AM | Comments (0)

September 03, 2005

FIT for Charity Run in Tokyo

Am I absolutely mad?

Today was the first FIT (Financial Institutions in Tokyo) for Charity Run at the Imperial Palace. The actual event kicked off at 10am, but with over 1,000 participants from a number of banks/brokers everyone met at 9am to ensure no one got lost. I will let you do the math...yep, up at 7am on a Saturday.

Anyway, it was insanely hot and the sun seemed to be particularly intense (thank God I did not have a hangover!), but despite that it was surprisingly good to be out this early. And all for a good cause of course.

Tomoko and Mineka were the organisers for our company and they did a fantastic job. That is them "organising" and again with Chiaki.
fit 007.jpg fit 009.jpg

I was one of the walkers, meaning I was not going to exert myself in 90 degree weather, when I could do a pleasant 5K walk instead. Tom, Jan, Chiaki, Emiko and Michika were my walking partners. Not much else to say about it. Here are some of the pictures we took on the way. Notice the beer truck...we had walked 2-3 kilometres by then and it looked inviting.
fit 019.jpg fit 025.jpg fit 028a.JPG fit 034.jpg

And here are some pictures of the group...notice our cool caps and shirts.
fit 005.jpg fit 004.jpg

Proceeds from the event will be donated to Second Harvest Japan, Special Olympics, FTC Shelter, Japan HIV Center and the Nishiwaki Fund

Posted by Kirk at 12:46 PM | Comments (0)

September 02, 2005

Media bias? You be the judge

I picked this up from the Football365 website's Mediawatch feature...

Non-Football Compare And Contrast Job Of The Day The following are two pictures detailing events in New Orleans.


Now read the captions for both pictures and note the difference in the description of how the white couple obtained their goods and how the black boy did...

Posted by Kirk at 01:15 AM | Comments (0)

September 01, 2005

National Disaster Drill Day

Every year on 1 September, the government runs disaster drills across Japan. This year, over 1 million people took part, spurred in part by the increase in major earthquakes we saw over the summer. Hopefully, its never more than a drill!

Posted by Kirk at 10:05 PM | Comments (1)

More on New Orleans

I should know better...I got home from work and switched on CNN. I do not know what it pissing me off more:

1) social breakdown in New Orleans...never mind the looting, police and national guardsman are being shot!
2) Soledad O'Brien/Miles O'Brien at American Morning...they are asking (I mean telling) everyone they interview who they think is to blame. It's the Federal Government! It's FEMA!

Silly me - I thought it was a natural disaster. Guess that is why I am not a news anchor.

Posted by Kirk at 09:25 PM | Comments (2)

What a disaster

It looks like I spoke too soon about things turning out OK for New Orleans. Instead, things keep getting worse. This is really sad.

I could have went to New Orleans earlier this year on a work-related trip. My first reaction was "New Orleans?! I can do that...wait, what I am supposed to do there?". In the end, I did not go, it was too far from Japan for me to be worthwhile, but I wish I had gone now.

When I first started working in the US, it was one of the first places I went on a business trip and I loved it (did not get much work done, however). As for what I remember about it, I will stop there: there are probably millions of better blog entries by people recounting their favourite stories of the city - you should go read those. Anyway, New Orleans will be back, but it looks like it will take a long time to recover/rebuild. That is a tragedy.

Posted by Kirk at 07:42 AM | Comments (0)