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June 26, 2006

Honolulu - dodgy wireless

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This will be short entry, thanks to the dodgy wireless connection here. Argghhh - ten minutes of writing up in smoke.

I am over halfway through the trip now. I left my apartment 24 hours ago and I have about 13-14 hours to go.

I am in Honolulu now - I love Hawaii, I wish I could stay longer. But I do not love flying from Guam to Hawaii. Everyone sitting around me was huge. Except for the baby that kept crying. Needless to say, I did not get much sleep!

Two more hours until my flight and then nine hours in the air and another two hours to mys sister's place in PA.

Anyway, I will upload some lame photos later.

Posted by Kirk at 02:42 PM | Comments (1)

A tour of the Pacific...

I am on my way to the US. Does that seem strange? You would expect me to write “I am going to the US” or “I came to the US”…there is not really much opportunity to update the blog en-route, right?

If you are flying to Newark via Guam and Honolulu, however, there is plenty of time. I could go into to the whole long story (I will later). For now, it is enough to say that I am traveling on a free ticket and sometimes you have to compromise. So, here I am at 3am at the airport in Guam, the surprisingly busy airport in Guam, updating you on my travels.

TOKYO-NAGOYA

I left home at 3pm (Sunday) and headed over to Tokyo Station. After a quick stop at Maruzen (the best bookstore in Tokyo), I caught the 4pm train to Nagoya. Total trip time from my house to Nagoya Airport was just over three hours, including the bookstore. Considering it can take two hours to get to Narita sometimes, this is really not bad at all. And the airport is SO MUCH NICER than Narita. It helps that it is newer. And empty. It would have been nice to have some options for dinner, but then again I could probably do without an extra meal every now and then. In any case, here are some pictures that I took by the gate…8pm on Sunday night and no one around at all.

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An extra bonus: complementary upgrade to first class. My sister said that would happen. She is brilliant. She is also the one that sent me on this mad trek across the Pacific, so it balances out.

GUAM

The flight landed at 1230am and the airport was empty. I think the people in passport control and customs were actually happy to see me as it gave them something to do. I wandered around the public areas for awhile, searching in vain for a newsstand or coffee shop, but there was nothing open. Considering my connecting flight leaves at 6am, this was not a good development. But one of the workers assured me that the shops on the other side of security were open. And they were (are). There are flights leaving all night, so the food court and duty free are all open.

And there are lots of tourists groups moving in and out of the airport. At 1am it was absolutely quiet, but some flights have come in and others are leaving so the place is picking up. As far as I can tell, you can buy a drink anytime (usually bars close at 1-2am in the US and this is a US territory), which is a pleasant surprise. Well, almost pleasant as I told myself I would not have any drinks. It is nice to know I could, however.

I bought a few t-shirts in duty free, more to kill time than anything else. Talk about a captive audience! Here are a couple of pictures from where I have parked myself in the food court. The restaurant I am sitting in front of us is called “Big Nama”, referring to draft beer and kind of a kitschy take off on Japanese drinking bars. Lovely.

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Posted by Kirk at 03:06 AM | Comments (0)

June 23, 2006

USA 1 Ghana 2

Ha....guess why I do not make a living predicting football.

The USA did look stronger in the second half and had a few good chances, including a Brian McBride header that hit the post, but even with the officiating looking much more balanced, they could not find the back of the net. And as much as I want to moan about the dodgy penalty kick at the end of the first half, they would have needed one more anyway. Ghana was the better team on the pitch.

After the US lost 3-0 to the Czech Republic, we had a pretty good idea this was not a team that would not make it through to the final 16...the draw with Italy just prolonged the agony.

There will be a lot of thinking in the US on how to go forward from here. To be a truly world class power, we need more players in Europe, more international matches outside of the Americas, and probably a new coach. Arena had four years to build on the promise from the last world cup and did not get it done. It was a tough draw, but truly competitive teams (Ghana, for example) find ways to win.

By the way, FIFA's so-called #2 and #5 ranked sides both crashed out.

Posted by Kirk at 01:55 AM | Comments (0)

June 22, 2006

Oh, this is difficult

Halftime for Ghana v the USA, with the Africans up 2-1. Ghana scored first on an impressive takeaway (enough to eventually take Reyna out of the game) and follow through. The US equalised just before half time with a nice breakaway by Beasley, who crossed to Dempsey who expertly guided it in. Best US goal of the tournament...anyone want to challenge me on that, heh heh.

But Ghana won a dubious penalty in injury time and converted to regain the lead. The US cannot get a break. It was a fair clearance by the defender, but Markus Merk seems determined to send the US home. If the US is to earn a place in the next round, they need to overcome dodgy descisions like this. It still hurts.

Meanwhile, Italy are up 1-0 and have a man advantage over the Czechs, who had a man sent off just before the break. They look like they are on their way out. Just the result the US would like to see...if they were winning. But, unlike the Czech game, I believe the US has the potential to pull this one out.

Posted by Kirk at 11:53 PM | Comments (0)

June 19, 2006

20,000 visits! Thank you!!!

I just noticed that the blog counter at the bottom of the page has ticked over 20,000. Wow - not bad for thirteen months.

As always, thank you for visiting and please keep coming back!

Posted by Kirk at 08:42 PM | Comments (0)

Japan 0 Croatia 0

A bit frustrating...

Japan played very well in most respects - certainly they were a stronger team than the one that faced Australia. But they needed a win, and they did not get it.

The highpoint of the game has to be Kawaguchi's save of the penalty kick. The foul seemed dubious (sorry - hometeam bias), but they were not hurt by it. Although the momentum changed, it was not enough.

Japan needs a real striker. I wonder if Jico, I mean Zico, is re-thinking his decision to leave Kubo in Japan. They looked most dangerous when shooting from outside the box, but whenever Japan had anyone crossing in there was not much to get excited about.

Yanasigawa could have been the hero for Japan, but at one point he tapped a weak roller to the keeper when ANYTHING further left (maybe ten metres of open goal (is there that much? it seemed like it-)) would have hit the back of the net. Like I said - where were the real strikers?

Having said all that, it WAS an exciting match and well worth watching.

As for venues - we ended up at Amaris in the basement of the Roi Building. Y2,000 cover (includes one drink) and it was really good - plenty of TVs and plenty of seats - they seem to have the formula worked out - it was crowded, but not over the top.

We started at Paddy Foley's next door, but it was a magnet for anyone walking by and there were a surprising amount of tall people that either stood between me and the TV or me and the beer line. Where did they come from and why do they only come out during the world cup???

Hobgoblin gets a big thumbs down for saying the Akasaka branch would be open tonight. It is on their super fancy (and, apparently, super unreliable) schedule that Akasaka would be open for the Japan match, so I thought it would be OK. I even called the Roppongi bar this afternoon to confirm and they said yes (daijobou). But we went by at 830pm and it was closed. Maybe they figured it would be a draw anyway?

Good night out, disapponting result.

Brazil v Australia starts now. A lot less pressure on the latter now.

Posted by Kirk at 12:43 AM | Comments (1)

June 18, 2006

Italy 1 USA 1

This team was more like the one we saw in 2002.

Despite having two players sent off, Team USA managed to hold on for a draw against Italy. And Ghana's surprising win against the Czech Republic means the US is still not out.

Of course, they will have to win their next match against Ghana, which looks much harder than it did yesterday, and hope Italy can rebound from their frustrating performance to knock the Czechs out of the finals. They could also advance if Italy and Czech draw and they manage to win by four goals, but that is hard to imagine. In their favour, Ghana's two goal scorers are out for the last match after receiving two yellow cards.

The US has managed to get back some of the respect they gave away after losing to the Czech Republic in the first round. Nice. They have a massive uphill battle to get out of the group and even if they did that, Brazil remains their likely opponent in the last 16. But a place in the last 16 would be more than most people expected.

Posted by Kirk at 09:27 AM | Comments (0)

June 14, 2006

America's chances to advance

Stop laughing...no team can be eliminated after one match (m

June 14, 2006

America's chances to advance

Stop laughing...no team can be eliminated after one match (mathematically, at least). So, can the US still advance? Of course, it is possible.

I am sure you have already heard the statistic that only one team in the last two world cups has advanced to the round of 16 after losing their first two matches (Turkey in 2002). That indicates how tough it will be.

Coach Arena said before the match that a first match loss means you need at least four points from the last two matches. With the loss to the Czech Republic being the most lopsided score in the tournament to date, they probably need to win both matches since being level on points is unlikely to be enough.

Two wins could still do it. The US is three points behind Italy and the Czechs, but they cannot exert any influence over the latter as they have already played. But a US win against Italy both levels the points between them and narrows the goal differential.

Following that up with a win against Ghana means Italy would have to win its later match against the Czech Republic to keep the US out. Even then, goal differential could be an issue.

So, it is possible. But is it probable?

The US has never won a world cup match in Europe. They have been roughed up in their first match and doubts remain on whether they are a competitive side for European teams.

They are taking one of the weakest attacking sides in the World Cup to play Italy, known for a national style of play that is firmly centered on not conceding goals (insert your own "f***ing boring football" comment here). With Italy five points ahead on goal differential ( 2 v -3), a US victory by one goal, amazing as that would be, may not be enough.

Assuming an improbable one-goal win, even then a draw with Ghana is only sufficient if Italy loses to the Czech Republic in its final match. There are other ways the US could advance...the Czech Republic could loss its next two matchs while the US wins its next two. The Czechs could beat Italy as badly as they did the US. The Czechs could beat Ghana and lose to Italy...etc

But the likely scenario would have to be two US victories. I would love to see that and I am hoping it happens. But I am not putting money on it. If they beat Italy next week, we can revisit the issue.

Posted by Kirk at 02:24 PM | Comments (1)

June 13, 2006

With some perspective

I should have said congratulations to the Aussies up front. Their first world cup win and they came from a goal down to to do it. I am certainly hoping to see them surprise Brazil, and you have to fancy their chances to advance to the round of 16. Does anyone know if the various schemes would eventually put them up against England? That would be an interesting match. Is the World Cup full of ashes?

And I am sorry for calling the guy that danced in front of the screen a muppet. In hindsight, if the US had scored I would have done the same thing. Of course, I was at home for that game.

Speaking of the US, a massive downsizing in expectations is going on. I re-watched some of the match today - it is not that they were hopelessly lost, but there was absolutely NOTHING going on upfront. Reyna was amazing, but there did not really seem to be anyone else on the pitch that would step up. I criticized Japan not being able to finish, but at least they were shooting. I read somewhere that Coach Arena went with a 3-5-2 formation, but it does not matter how many strikers you have if none of them are focused on the goal.

Anyway, I mentioned a downsizing of expectations. Instead of a quarterfinal run, let's see if they can win a world cup match in Europe. They face Italy and Ghana in the next ten days, so it may be tough.

Posted by Kirk at 03:42 PM | Comments (1)

One of those days

The Czechs have just got their second goal - a beautiful shot, but not what I wanted to see. This could be setting the stage for a miraculous comeback for the US.

One thing is for sure, I will miss it. It is 140am and I can watch the miracle when it is rebroadcast tomorrow. I am half asleep and waking up because the Japanese commentators are screaming the Czech Republic have scored again is not pleasant.

Will save the strategic commentary for tomorrow. It is one of those days - Japan was thoroughly outclassed, but led most of the match. This game seems much more even-handed, but the US are down by two. Early lessons? Finishing is important. It also helps to be lucky.

Posted by Kirk at 01:35 AM | Comments (0)

Arrrgghhhh - almost got it back

Ohhhh...USA takes it to the Czechs against the run of play. Reyna slots through the midfield and catches the back four off guard. Beautiful shot, but it hits the post. I hope it is not going to be one of those days (nights).

Posted by Kirk at 01:22 AM | Comments (0)

Oh crap...

Well, the US has picked up its first yellow card and conceded a goal, all in the first five minutes. That is annoying...In 2002, England and the US went out on the same day. This feels a lot like that. Do I really want to watch the full 90 minutes. And drinking water as I have to get up early tomorrow?

US has its first corner...let's see what happens.

Nothing.

Maybe I better have a drink after all.

Posted by Kirk at 01:07 AM | Comments (0)

Australia 3 Japan 1

Hmmmm - you cannot be happy if you are supporting Japan (which I am). Nevermind the pain of losing...having it happen in such a dramatic fashion in the last ten minutes has to really hurt.

But Japan did not deserve to win. They were thouroughly outplayed by Australia. Their opening goal was one of the dodgiest I have seen. It reminded me of Ronaldinho's goal against England in 2002...did he really hit it expecting it would go in?

Japan's problem is that they cannot score. They left their best striker in Japan and their best midfielder on the bench for the first 80 minutes. Maybe Japan's problem is Jico. I mean Zico. Not that it matters now...this was a must-win game. Japan has two matches left and little chance to win. Considering how quickly they deflated after conceding the first goal, there is no realistic chance they will advance.

Not that Australia is covered in glory. There was some pre-match controversy over comments from the Japan Football Association that the Australians were playing dirty football. Whilst they played well enough to win, it was ugly: Australia committed 23 fouls comapred to 11 for Japan...an idea reinforced by the muppet at the bar that chose to dance in front of the screen when Australia scored. I doubt he will dancing when they face Brazil.

To be fair, this was the most exciting match of the tournament so far. Both teams (alright...Australia) played a full 90 minutes in contrast to England (four minutes) and Holland (18 minutes?).

Next up is the USA vs Czech Republic...1am start. It is 12:21 now and I am absolutely exhausted. What to do...

Posted by Kirk at 12:05 AM | Comments (1)

June 11, 2006

Good vegetarian place in Shinjuku

Did I just write that? Unbelievable!

Anyway, it is true. The restaurant is called Piman (ぴーまん) and it is right in front of Shinjuku-gyoen. That is the restaurant on the left...the other picture is Shinjuku-gyoen from the restaurant.

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I was talking to Satomi this weekend and mentioned to her that I was trying to eat healthier, including more vegetables. She recommended this restaurant, so we headed over there today.

The restaurant takes nutrition seriously, well, as far as I could tell with my limited Japanese. There is a wide range of vegetarian dishes and an incredible number of fruit and vegetable drinks/yogurts. The menu is designed so that you can order a drink that addresses various health issues. I ordered the one for people that smoke.

I usually do not write about restaurants here, but this one really stood out. I hope to go back regularly.

Preyash, if you are reading this...sorry I did not know about this when you lived here. It is much healthier that an order of chips at the pub.

Posted by Kirk at 09:52 PM | Comments (0)

Paraguay 0 England 1

Well, that is a relief! England took a big step towards advancing out of the group with a 1-0 win over Paraguay.

As for the football - I think England will have to raise their game if they move onto the final stages, but they did what they needed to. I wonder if any team has ever advanced from the group stages without scoring?

These are my observations:
* Peter Crouch was better than I expected. That is coming off low expectations, however, so do not read too much into it.
* England got the short end of the stick from the referees. It was a physical game on both sides, but usually the free kicks were going the other way.
* Sven Goran Ericsson looks like he is about 70 years old now. Never mind that he looks like that old bloke on the Simpsons...how on earth did he ever score with that FA secretary?
* And someone tell me what the substitutions were all about? Downing and Hargreaves? Maybe he is 70 years old.

It doesn't matter, England won.

As for the experience...I could have done without it. I tried Hobgoblin Roppongi, but it was already full 90 minutes before kick off so I went to Legends, which was not much better. If I never watch another football match there I will be happy. This is where the "I do not usually watch football, but I watch the world cup" fans went. And the American stockbrokers. Match that with crap TVs and shoddy service and you get the idea.

My big dilemma now is where to watch the football Monday night...any suggestions are welcome.

Posted by Kirk at 12:13 AM | Comments (1)

June 09, 2006

The guide to the World Cup in Japan

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Instead of heading out at 6pm on a Friday night for a few drinks, I am at home. But not for long! With the opening match of the 2006 World Cup starting at 1am (2500), I figured I could wait a bit before getting some drinks in. And it gives me some time to put together this entry. A lot of the credit should go to Nick Carter (whoever you are!) who did the hard work of figuring out the broadcast schedule for games in Japan and then sharing that information with everyone ( I received the e-mail at least three times)! If you have not seen it, you can find the relevant information by clicking on the last link in this post.

Also, I will keep this entry on top for the next month and update it as I get more information. Comments and suggestions are welcome.

Your daily reading

Worldcup365 - This is run by the people at Football365 and a must read EVERY DAY, especially if you are an England fan. Mediawatch is highly recommended.
Official FIFA World Cup site - Good for the official spin and updates on team news (injuries etc)
The Guardian World Cup site - If you aren't reading this, what are you doing?

Where to go out and watch

Despite the time difference, there are plenty of choices for going out...finding a place that is comfortable is a different story altogther. Expect these places to be busy, especially for England and Japan matches.

* Hobgoblin and Legends (World Cup schedule here)
* Paddy's - They have apparently put in a few more TVs, so could be a good place to go.
* Tokyo Sports Cafe - the event schedule is here.
* Footnik - It looks like they are on a limited reservation system. I do not usually go here, so I was not paying attention.
* Meguro Tavern is working on a reservation system...the web site does not have any information, but you can click here to access it.
* Newcomer Baron in Nishi-Azabu will also have near-full coverage, but you will have to trust me on that as their web site is also lacking in details.

I imagine for major matches, ie anything with England or Japan, you will need to go early to stake out your territory.

If anyplace particularly stands out, I will let you know.

As for tonight, I am headed to Hobgoblin Roppongi or Legends for the Gernmany v Costa Rica match.

Surviving at home

In contrast to four years ago, Japan is not an ideal place to be for the World Cup. The time difference with Germany means that match times are 10pm, 1am (25.00) and 4am (28.00). The early games are bearable, the late matches almost impossible if you have anything to do at all the next day.

One small consolation is that Japan's world cup coverage is on terrestrial and free satellite TV, meaning late night trips to the bar are not always necessary. If you expand this entry, there is a listing of matches, including date, time and TV channel.

9 June (Friday)
25.00 Group A Germany v Costa Rica TBS, BS1, Bs-hi
28.00 Group A Poland v Ecuador BS1, Bs-hi

10 June (Saturday)
22.00 Group B Englandv Paraguay Fuji-TV, BS1, Bs-hi
25.00 Group B T&T v Sweden NHK-G Bs1, Bs-hi
28.00 Group C Argentina v Ivory Coast BS1, Bs-hi

11 June (Sunday)
22.00 Group C Serbia and Montenegro v Netherlands NHK-G, BS1
25.00 Group D Mexico v Iran TV Asahi, BS1, Bs-hi
28.00 Group D Angola v Portugal BS1, Bs-hi

12 June (Monday)
22.00 Group F Australia v Japan NHK-G, BS1,Bs-hi
25.00 Group E USA v Czech Republic NHK-G, BS1

28.00 Group E Italy v Ghana BS1, BS-hi

13 June (Tuesday)
22.00 Group G South-Korea v Togo NHK-G, BS1
25.00 Group G France v Switzerland TV Tokyo, BS1, BS-hi
28.00 Group F Brazil v Croatia TV Tokyo, BS1, BS-hi

14 June (Wednesday)
22.00 Group H Spain v Ukraine NHK-G, BS1
25.00 Group H Tunisia v Saudi-Arabia BS1, Bs-hi
28.00 Group A Germnyn v Poland BS1, Bs-hi

15 June (Thursday)
22.00 Group A Ecuador v Costa Rica NHK, BS1
25.00 Group B England v Trinidad and Tobago NHK-G, BS1
28.00 Group B Sweden v Paraguay BS1, Bs-hi

16 June (Friday)
22.00 Group C Argentina v Serbia and Montenegro NTV, BS1, Bs-hi
25.00 Group C Holland v Ivory Coast NTV, BS1, Bs-hi
28.00 Group D Mexico v Angola BS1, Bs-hi

17 June (Saturday)
22.00 Group D Portugal v Iran Fuji-TV, BS1, Bs-hi
25.00 Group E Czech v Ghana NHK-G, BS1
28.00 Group E Italy v USA BS1, Bs-hi

18 June (Sunday)
22.00 Group F Japan v Croatia TV-Asahi, BS1, Bs-hi
25.00 Group F Brazil v Australia Fuji-TV, BS1, Bs-hi
28.00 Group G France v South-Korea BS1, Bs-hi

19 June (Monday)
22.00 Group G Togo v Switzerland TBS, BS1, Bs-hi
25.00 Group H Saudi-Arabia v Ukraine NHK-G, BS1, Bs-hi
28.00 Group H Spain v Tunisia BS1, Bs-hi

20 June (Tuesday)
23.00 Group A Ecuador v Germany NHK-G, BS1, Bs-hi
23.00 Group A Costa Rica v Poland BS1
28.00 Group B Sweden v England BS1 (ONLY!!!)
28.00 Group B Paraguay v Trinidad and Tobago Bs-hi

21 June (Wednesday)
23.00 Group D Portugal v Mexico NHK, BS1, Bs1-hi
23.00 Group D Iran v Angola BS1
28.00 Group C Holland v Argentina BS1
28.00 Group C Ivory Coast v Serbia and Montenegro BS-hi

22 June (Thursday)
23.00 Group E Czech v Italy Fuji-TV, Bs-hi
23.00 Group E Ghana v USA BS1
28.00 Group F Croatia v Australia BS1
28.00 Group F Japan v Brazil NHK-G, Bs-hi

23 June (Friday)
23.00 Group H Saudi-Arabia v Spain NTV, Bs-hi
23.00 Group H Ukraine v Tunisia BS1
28.00 Group G Switzerland v South-Korea Bs-hi
28.00 Group G Togo v France BS1

24 June (Saturday)
24.00 1/8 Final 1 Winner A v Second B NTV, Bs-hi
28.00 1/8 Final 2 Winner C v Second D NHK-G, BS1

25 June (Sunday)
24.00 1/8 Final 3 Winner B v Second A NHK-G, BS1
28.00 1/8 Final 4 Winner D v Second C BS1, Bs-hi

26 June (Monday)
24.00 1/8 Final 5 Winner E v Second F TBS, BS1
28.00 1/8 Final 6 Winner G v Second H NHK-G, BS1

27 June (Tuesday)
24.00 1/8 Final 7 Winner F v Second E TBS, BS1
28.00 1/8 Final 8 Winner H v Second G BS1, Bs1-hi

30 June (Friday)
24.00 Quarterfinal 1 NHK-G, BS1
28.00 Quarterfinal 2 TV-Asahi, BS-hi

1 July (Saturday)
24.00 Quarterfinal 3 NTV, BS1
28.00 Quarterfinal 4 NHK-G, BS1

4 July (Tuesday)
28.00 Semifinal 1 NHK-G, BS1

5 July (Wednesday)
28.00 Semifinal 2 TV-Tokyo, BS1, Bs-hi

8 July
28.00 3rd/4th play-off NHK-G, BS1

9 July
27.00 Final TV-Tokyo, BS1, Bs-hi

Posted by Kirk at 07:46 PM | Comments (1)

June 06, 2006

Drinking with the monkeys

How cool is this? Yoko sent me this link...there is a beer garden at Takao-san, which is where the monkey park that inspired the name of this website is.

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Takao-san Beer Garden

Takao-san is almost an hour away by train and in the mountains (well, the beginning of the mountains...foothills). Despite that, it is actually in Tokyo and this beer garden can claim to be the highest one in the city. Pretty impressive?

I think so - please check it out. I will.

Posted by Kirk at 07:46 AM | Comments (1)

June 04, 2006

I hate crows

crow.jpg Why can't crows take Sunday off? I do not like them. They are big, ugly and make a mess by tearing open garbage bags on the street. Did I mention they are loud? Despite all that, I usually do not pay them much attention other than a silent curse when I see them.

I was out for a walk this morning when a crow swooped down on a girl walking in front of me. I had almost reached her so when it flew by I also ducked. She must have thought I was a bit strange for about a second, but she rightly hurried off.

My initial reaction was that the crow must have its nest nearby, because they have been known to attack people when the think the nest is threatened. Then I thought if that is true I should see where that crow went because it might attack again.

Because it was first thing in the morning all that thinking took longer than it should, which is annoying as the damn thing did swoop down on me me next. No contact, but it did wake me up a bit.

I hate crows.

Picture from Japundit.com

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

June 02, 2006

Canal Cafe - Iidabashi

水曜日はクリスチんさんとフルバさんと会ってカナルカフェへ飲みに行きました。知っていますか。これは飯田橋で神楽坂下のもく側で飯田橋駅のとなりにです。

東京で外で飲む場所は少ししかないです。それだから人気があります。

とにかく木曜日に日本語の文法テストがあるから、午後でたくさん勉強しました。それから気楽なところでビールを飲みたかったです。カナルカフェは完璧だった。

左の写真はクリスチんさんとフルバさんです。右はカフェです。

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5時から11時まで日本語を勉強しながら飲みました。その時いい考えそだた!でも木曜日でテストの前にあまりよっかない考えだと思いました。

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楽しました。今度は週末で飲みに行きます。平日だったら、コーヒーを飲みます。

Posted by Kirk at 07:00 PM | Comments (1)

Kusunoki Masashige statue

Last weekend, I met Christine and we walked around the area near Tokyo Station. At one point, we saw this. It is a statue of Kusunoki Masashige and you can find it in Kokyo-gaien between the Imperial Palace and Tokyo Station. This is one of the first places I went when I came to Japan six years ago, so it has some personal significance. For a long time, I had a similar picture in my cubicle at work. I am not sure where it is now.

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Kusunoki Masashige (楠正成) was a 14th-century samurai that fought for the emperor against the Kamakura shogunate. He is one of the great heroes of Japanese history, with a reputation for great cunning and bravery matched by unswerving loyalty to the emperor, even in the face of certain death. There is all you could ever want to know on this website. And the statue is very cool.

I know there is a rule about statues that has something to do with the horse. If one leg is up in the air, the person died in battle or something like that. If anyone remembers, let me know. And probably you should do it quick before I forget that there is a rule in the first place. I wish my brain was bigger so I could remember more.

Posted by Kirk at 06:29 PM | Comments (0)