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    Archive for April, 2008

    Early season PL attendance and the Giants

    Posted by japanstats on 2008 April 26日 Saturday

    westbaystars at Japanesebaseball.com does a logical analysis on the early season PL attendance figures.

    Compared to the same time period last year (up to games ending April 24), SoftBank takes the biggest hit, down 10.3% (27,036 per game). But Nippon Ham makes up for that, up 10.2% (23,362). Orix, having moved to Osaka Dome, is up a whopping 45.7% (16,429).

    While the article attributes moving to Osaka as the cause for the rise for Orix, I’ll contend that it was their great start that got people coming out. SoftBank, on the other hand, has had its worst start in years, thus the downturn. I think that when you compare results on the field with results in the seats, that there will be a close correlation – which the press doesn’t seem to get for some reason.

    Yeah, that seems like a way more plausible reason. I’ve only been to 2 games so far this season. A half empty Jingu for a midweek Swallows-BayStars tilt, and a Sunday afternoon Hawks-Fighters game in Sapporo that drew well (just north of 30,000).

    Meanwhile, sports journalists are desperate to write good things about the Giants. Sure having your first 4 game winning streak of the season is a good thing, scoring 6 runs each in the first 3 wins, but that series sweep was against the lowly BayStars, the worst team in Japan, so that’s nothing to write home about. Now, the 3-1 win against the Tigers last night is a good thing for the club, though only getting 3 runs on 10 hits is rather inefficient. The Giants are the least patient team in the league with only 41 walks while Hanshin leads the league and almost doubles that with 78. Hmm…

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    Posted in 02_English, baseball, information, NPB, opinion, tokyo | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

    Chickenless chicken meat

    Posted by japanstats on 2008 April 25日 Friday

    The urban legend:

    Claim: KFC no longer use the word ‘chicken’ to describe its product because it serves meat from genetically engineered animals that the government will no longer permit to be referred to as ‘chickens.’

    Status: False.

    But it looks like it’s going to become true in the near future, through a PETA contest no less:

    It’s no freakier or more far-fetched than what you’ve been hearing from politicians about stem cells and what they can do for people. Scientists aren’t even allowed to try a stem-cell experiment in people till it works in animals. That’s all PETA is asking for: “animal stem cells that would be placed in a medium to grow and reproduce.”
    To put it crudely, if you can grow a hunk of flesh for transplant, you can grow it for food.
    If this idea repels you as a carnivore, imagine how it feels to a vegetarian. PETA co-founder Ingrid Newkirk tells the New York Times that the prize offer caused “a near civil war in our office” and that “we will have members leave us over this.” Newkirk observes, “In any social cause community, there are people who strive for purity.”

    But vegetarians who feel morally superior to the masses have to make silly points like this, which totally puts their intelligence into question:

    Purists see it as a moral surrender. “It’s our job to introduce the philosophy and hammer it home that animals are not ours to eat,” a dissident PETA official tells the Times. Purists also point out that carnivores suffer more obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and other diseases. Getting your meat from stem cells might not change that.

    (Emphasis mine.)

    It’s very difficult to eat vegetarian, let alone vegan, here in Japan because there are meat and fish products and byproducts in virtually every dish. But Japanese population as a whole is much healthier, thinner, and have live longer than Americans. And Japanese people absolutely love fatty meat and fish. Marbled steak and fatty tuna are highly prized, expensive, and very tasty. The difference is that people in Japan eat less than Americans, the difference in portions is immediately noticeable to anyone who has been in both countries for a day. Also, demographically, vegetarians in the States tend to be richer, so duh.

    While I’m on this rant, Anglo-Saxons, probably through their unfortunate traditionally unappetizing diet, don’t seem to enjoy food for their flavour, except for the gourmet minority. When English speaking people discuss food, it’s often about vegetarianism, organic/humane farming practices, price, and volume, but flavour doesn’t seem to top the list as often as in other cultures, especially here in Japan where flavour is paramount. This might partially explain the English speaking gaijins’ amazement about all the TV programs in Japan that are devoted to food. Subtle flavouring also seem to elude those that grew up on blunt flavours, that’s unfortunate. I’m by no means a gourmet, but I appreciate good food when I get a chance to enjoy some, instead of nitpicking over whether there are any animal products in it, how it was farmed, etc.

    Yeah, you can be super-picky, but taste doesn’t matter eh:

    Wil Shipley, a Seattle software developer, uses his iPhone at the Whole Foods fish counter to check websites for updates on which seafood is the most environmentally correct to purchase. He quizzes the staff on where and how a fish was caught. Because he carries the Internet with him, “I can be super-picky,” he said.

    (via Stuff White People Like  😛  )

     

     

    Posted in 02_English, culture, information, Japan, opinion, random | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

    ホッケーユニホーム

    Posted by japanstats on 2008 April 25日 Friday

    カナダが新デザインのユニホームを発表。国技で何出しても売れるからって、これだけ頻繁にユニホームのデザイン変えたり、サードジャージ出したりするのは、やりすぎでしょう。

    アウェイの赤は好きだけど、ホームの白はダサいなぁ、赤い肩だからか…?

    ちなみに今年一番かっこよくなったで賞はディビジョン I A ホスト国のオーストリア、新旧を見比べれば一目瞭然。

    あと、今年のユニでかっこよかったのがアイルランドとニュージーランド。ホッケーではマイナーな国だけど、見た目はシャレてる。

    ]

    日本代表はやっぱりミズノでしょ、凄いかっこいいわけではないけど、あのナイキ製のででんと日の丸はあまりにもイマジネーションが無さすぎ(国旗そのまんまかよ)でダサダサだったから、それよりは全然マシ。

     

     

    Posted in 01_日本語, hockey, International, Japan, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

    Lego Shibuya

    Posted by japanstats on 2008 April 24日 Thursday

    A smaller scale than the Lego stadiums.

    Gotta love the manga style near-miss brand and company names. I mean SAMSWING, classic.

    The 1/20 scale Shibuya in Lego. The article describes a neat trick the “builder” used, the building gets smaller as it rises, giving it a sense of perspective, as if you’re looking up like you would do in most cases when you go to Shibuya.

    You can see 109 in the background, or is that a 103?

    Hachiko, faithful

    The actual models are on display at Nasu Highland Park in Tochigi.

     

    Posted in 02_English, culture, information, random, tokyo | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

    ECHL プレーオフ第1ラウンド修羅場

    Posted by japanstats on 2008 April 23日 Wednesday

    自分が面倒くさすぎて説明しきれなかったECHL のプレーオフ制度を現在Utah Grizzlies所属の高橋一馬選手が説明してくれました、全25チーム中21チームが出場し、西と東のカンファレンスでとてもアンバランスなレギュラーシーズンとプレーオフのスケジュールを組んでいるのには変わらない、分かりづらい制度なのですが(^^;

    ご存知の通りDayton Bombers に所属していた西脇選手はプレーオフミニラウンドに敗退して、先週札幌で行われた世界選手権ディビジョンI の大会に参加して活躍しました。そしてNHL 初の日本人選手となった福藤選手は現在Victoria Salmon Kings と第1ラウンド決戦中(4戦先勝が2-3ですので2連勝する必要があります)。高橋選手のグリズリーズは4-2でシリーズ勝ち取り、なんとBakersfield 対Victoria の勝者待ちです!なんとECHL のプレーオフで日本人対決が実現するかもっ!?福藤選手とコンドルズの活躍を是非期待してます、ビクトリアは強いチームですが、何が起こるかが分からないのがプレーオフ!

    Posted in 01_日本語, ECHL, hockey, information, International, Japan, opinion, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

    2008魔将ウォッチ 4/22

    Posted by japanstats on 2008 April 22日 Tuesday

    1本塁打4打点と静かな週でしたが、今季初死球!を私が見に行った先週火曜の試合で披露してくれました、さすが魔将!

    18試合 74打席 13得点 7本 19打点 .313/.392/.734 (打率/出塁率/長打率)8四球 1死球 12三振

    まだ長打率はダントツでセリーグ1位です。打率も3割以上なのですが、これはさすがに2割6-8分あたりで落ち着くでしょう…

    Posted in 01_日本語, baseball, information, NPB, Sabermetrics, statistics, tokyo | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

    2008.4.22 NPB Power Rankings

    Posted by japanstats on 2008 April 22日 Tuesday

    I’m rather busy at the moment, so I’ll try to keep this short. Previous week’s ranking in brackets.

    1. Hanshin Tigers(1) 15-4 .789

    Continues to roll right along with yet another 4-1 week. 4 of the top 7 in CL OBP with Akahoshi (.451), Arai (.415), Kanemoto (.413), and Toritani (.395) explain their position up top.

    2. Chunichi Dragons(2) 12-6-1 .667

    Can stake a claim for the top spot in the Hanshin series starting tonight.

    3. Saitama Seibu Lions(3) 14-9-1 .609

    Went undefeated in 3 games (2-0-1) in a short 4 game week that got reduced to 3 games by rain. Outslugging the rest of the league with its 26 homeruns, 7 ahead of the nearest competitor.

    4. Tokyo Yakult Swallows(4) 9-9 .500

    Continues to slip with a 2-3 week. Saw the 2-1 win on Tuesday against Yokohama, but that’s not much to write home about. Lim continues to look fantastic, not allowing a run in 7 appearances while only allowing 5 baserunners. He may return to the setup role when/if Igarashi returns from injury, in which case the duo could become the Betancourt-Borowski of Japan, at the very least.

    5. Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters(6) 13-11 .542

    Another smallballrific week with game scores being 3-3, 2-4, 3-1, 4-2, and 2-4. I saw that last game on Sunday up in Hokkaido, great crowd and a funky dome in the great white north of Japan. Winning record but currently being outscored 69-77. Could they repeat Hanshin’s success last year as a playoff team with a negative run differential? Maybe.

    6. Fukuoka Softbank Hawks(5) 13-13 .500

    Dropped 2 out of 3 against perennial playoff rivals Fighters for a 2-3 week.

    7. Chiba Lotte Marines(8 ) 13-13 .500

    Went 3-2 against the Eagles and the Buffaloes to bring the record up to .500.

    8. Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles(7) 11-13 .458

    A 1-3 week against the Marines and Lions. Iwakuma is in top form as he battles Darvish for the ERA lead with miniscule 0.46.

    9. Hiroshima Toyo Carp(10) 7-10-1 .412

    Won 2 of 3 against the ever slumping Giants as the teams swap spots.

    10. Tokyo Yomiuri Giants(9) 7-12-1 .368

    Lost both series against the Dragons and the Carp, losing both of Uehara’s starts as the ace gave up 10 runs in 9 innings over two starts.

    11. Orix Buffaloes(11) 10-15 .400

    Hitting bombs (19 HR is 2nd in PL) but unable to get hits with any regularity (.219 BA is only 1 point better than league worst Fighters, and probably the worst once adjusted for park factors), and league worst pitching staff sporting 4.10 ERA means the team’s at the bottom of PL.

    12. Yokohama BayStars(12) 4-13 .235

    Going 1-3 this past week actually raised the team’s winning percentage, can’t get much lower than that.

    Aaron Guiel Watch

    Still batting over .300, expect that to come down to his more typical 260-280 range though. A relatively quiet week with 1HR and 4RBI as he gave up his CL lead in the latter category, but earned his first HBP of the season in the game I saw at Jingu last Tuesday.

    18GP 74PA 13R 7HR 19RBI .313/.392/.734 8BB 1HBP 12K

    Pitchers Watch:
    Koji Uehara (Giants) – 2 painful starts giving up 10 total runs
    4GS 25IP 19/8 K/BB 5HR 17RA 6.12ERA
    Kenshin Kawakami (Dragons) – back with the big club yesterday after a short spell in the minors for an unspecified ailment, not scheduled to start in the Tigers series though
    2GS 15.2IP 13/1 K/BB 4HR 8RA 4.60ERA
    Masahiro “Ma-kun” Tanaka (Eagles)
    5GS 41IP 38/15 K/BB 2HR 12RA 2.20ERA
    Shota Ohba (Hawks) – the rookie continues to serve up the long ball
    5GS 30.2IP 35/4 K/BB 8HR 10RA 3.44ERA
    Yu Darvish (Fighters) – yet another CG victory
    5GS 43IP 42/5 K/BB 0HR 3RA 0.46ERA 3CG

    Posted in 02_English, baseball, information, NPB, opinion, Sabermetrics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

    The Super Fan

    Posted by japanstats on 2008 April 21日 Monday

    ここまでやるのかっ!?!

    アナウンサーの、あの子は将来…キッパーのストーカーになるかも、と言ってるのも笑える。

    Overkill? He’s awfully good at mimicking the Kipper’s every move though, maybe he can become a character actor when he grows up… but only in roles as the Kipper  😛 

    Posted in 01_日本語, 02_English, hockey, NHL, random | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

    ハンガリー優勝おめでとう!

    Posted by japanstats on 2008 April 20日 Sunday

    日本戦が延長戦になっていたとしても最低勝ち点13で優勝してましたね。 
    ウクライナはディビジョンI を甘く見すぎてたと思います。今日だって30分くらいまでは、全くやる気を感じられなかった。君たちはもう一年ディビジョンI で修行だ。

    ハンガリー対ウクライナ、そして選手とファンの歓喜! 

    来年も頑張ってトップディビジョンに残っててねハンガリー、日本は来年こそっ!

    Posted in 01_日本語, hockey, information, International, Japan, opinion | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

    Congratulations Hungary!

    Posted by japanstats on 2008 April 20日 Sunday

    A well deserved win and promotion to the top division by Hungary!

    Ukraine decided that they coast through the first half of the game and still win, but no no no, Hungary fought hard for 60 minutes and it was a true team victory for the hard working team. Even had the Japanese goal counted and Hungary only got 1 point in that match, they would still have topped the table, so Hungary is the true champions despite some potentially costly miscues by the refs. Ukraine learned the hard way that Division I is no cake walk.

    Good luck in the top division next year Hungary!

    Posted in 02_English, hockey, information, International, Japan, opinion | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »