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December 31, 2008

Bye bye 2008

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It is almost 5pm and the sun is setting on 2008 in Japan in spectacular fashion. The sky is orange-red, providing a vivid contrast with the dark outline of the mountains across the bay.

I thought about going out to get a picture for the blog, but I have about one million Zushi Beach sunset shots and one more probably won't matter. More importantly, it is really cold and I spent most of the day outside, so I think I have earned some quality indoor relaxation.

I went surfing this morning...that was really great. When I got to Shichirigahama, I did not know whether I would go in or not. Despite there being few rideable waves, it was super crowded. I am really not very good at surfing, and I need as few distractions as possible - trying to keep myself out of the way of more experienced surfers takes up all my time it seems.

But the surf shop owner said he would drop the rate from 5,000 yen to 2,000 today...and at that price I could go sit in the water for two hours and it would be money well spent, so I did. Even better, the waves picked up a bit and I actually could get a few rides in. Hopefully, I am getting better...

Anyway, I told you it was cold and while I was comfortable in the water, when I got out I was absolutely freezing, which made the walk back to the surf shop seem to take forever. Brrrr!

I also went running for the last time in 2008: five kilometres on the beach. It was really crowded, actually. Not with joggers! But sane people wearing jackets, hats and mittens. Some of them were taking pictures of the sunset. Clever...

I am off to Tokyo later...fortunately the trains run all night, so I can come back when I want after midnight. No difficult decisions on whether that next drink is worth trading a night at home for the dubious pleasure of a capsule hotel.

Posted by Kirk at 03:35 PM | Comments (0)

December 19, 2008

FIFA Club World Cup

The Club World Cup takes place every year in December, usually in Japan. I have always wanted to go, but never took the opportunity until now. Last night's game featured Asian champs Gamba Osaka versus European champs Manchester United at Yokohama International Stadium. (That's right, Preyash...if you still read this...I went and watched your boys at work. And for a change they won while I was watching. You should have been there!)

It was a sort of close game for the first 75 minutes. Then Rooney came in for United and Osaka fell apart. I mean, they just had no answer for him. Osaka had scored to bring themselves within one goal just as Rooney came on, but United reeled off three goals in the next five minutes to put it out of reach. That was pretty amazing. The final score was 5-3 but it was not even that close and it looked like United held back a bit in the last fifteen minutes. That is a lot of goals!! I am American, so I need that to stay interested, ha ha.

The announced attendance was over 67,000. The crowd cheered when that was posted on the scoreboard, but I was crying silent tears as I wondered how I would possibly get back to the station and on a train at a reasonable hour. It only took two and a half hours to get home, so I suppose I was lucky! Despite that, I had a great time and I am glad I went.

Posted by Kirk at 09:36 AM | Comments (0)

December 16, 2008

more surfing...and other stuff

Last time I wrote that I had been surfing for the first time. Well, now I am going every week...so I have been out four times. I am still not very good, but at least I usually manage to stay upright now. I will keep plugging away, even though it is getting colder now.

I almost went to Korea to meet a friend of mine, but my own laziness killed that idea. My friend has the month of December off and decided that he would ride his bike from Seoul to Busan. And he did it! A bit to intense for me, but I did consider popping over to Busan and spending a few days hanging out. Unfortunately, I procrastinated until it was too late to arrange the trip.

That is about it. Christmas is coming...woo hoo.

Posted by Kirk at 09:22 AM | Comments (0)