Japan, Hockey, Baseball, etc.

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    Serious Seibu Scrimmage

    Posted by japanstats on 2009 June 8日 Monday

    The former members of the now defunct Seibu Prince Rabbits (formerly Kokudo and Seibu Railway ice hockey teams) will face off in an apparently all out scrimmage as a final farewell to Higashifushimi, Tokyo, the teams’ long time home ice. 

    Date: Tuesday 9 June 2009

    Time: 10:00 – 11:30

    Where: Dydo Drinco Ice Arena, Higashifushimi, Tokyo

    Admission: Free

    Posted in 02_English, Asia League Ice Hockey, hockey, information, tokyo | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

    Guiel’s ceremonial at bat

    Posted by japanstats on 2009 June 6日 Saturday

    Today, and of course he gets hit by the ceremonial first pitch, very Aaron  😛  He got hit by FC Tokyo striker Sota Hirayama, the Swallows and FC Tokyo have a working agreement.

    guiel

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

    Tokyo Shosha Tournament

    Posted by japanstats on 2009 June 5日 Friday

    A free admission amateur hockey tournament will take place at the Dydo Drinco Higashifushimi this month.

    The participating teams are sogo-shosha (general trading corporations) in Tokyo. All teams belong in the top division (Super League) of Tokyo hockey, so the level of play should be reasonably high.

    The tournament has been going on for 30 years, and this intra-industry rivalry should be exciting.

    Schedule:

    6/13(Sat) 
     Game 1: 14:00-15:20 Itochu v Marubeni (officials: Mitsui) 
     Game 2: 15:35-16:55 Mitsui v Mitsubishi (Marubeni) 
    6/20(Sat) 
     Game 1: 13:45-15:05 Itochu v Mitsubishi (Marubeni) 
     Game 2: 15:20-16:40 Mitsui v Marubeni (Itochu) 
    6/27(Sat) 
     Game 1: 13:45-15:05 Itochu v Mitsui  (Mitsubishi) 
     Game 2: 15:20-16:40 Mitsubishi v Marubeni (Mitsui) 

    Free hockey for those in Tokyo!!

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

    Utada’s US foray, part 2

    Posted by japanstats on 2009 May 26日 Tuesday

    Hikaru Utada (Wiki, the number of languages is impressive) is the most popular singer in Japan, and has sold over 50 million records worldwide (though most of that is in Japan and some in East Asia).

    After a long and successful career in the Japanese and East Asian markets, she has tried to penetrate the biggest pop music market in the world, the US (she’s born and partially raised in NYC so she is a native English speaker).

    Utada_Hikaru_s

    Her US debut album EXODUS in 2004 was a dud, topping the Billboard charts at 160. She has just released her second all English album aimed at the US market, This Is The One. And she has earned a network TV appearance on CBS’s 2nd Cup.

    I gave the album a listen at my local HMV, and unfortunately her second all English offering is very similar in flavour to her debut effort. Her voice is extremely well suited for J-Pop but not the US Top 40. And her naturally bilingual wordplay makes her (especially early) Japanese albums great, but she can’t unleash this aspect in a monolingual album.

    This Is The One has entered the Billboard Album charts at #69, which is an improvement from her debut album, we’ll see if this is the peak or she can gain word of mouth cred and air play to move up the charts. She also violates my sampling rules by heavily sampling Ryuichi Sakamoto’s classic tune Merry Christmas Mr.Lawrence. I’m all for sampling, but not when the new song basically freerides on the coattails of the original (even though this is sort of like a tribute/remix). Unfortunately, for me, her recent Japanese album was rather soppy and lame as well, so she hasn’t produced anything that I really like in a while. Maybe she needs to marry another guy who could be her father?  😛

    Posted in 02_English, culture, information, music, opinion, tokyo | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

    Fukufuji next season

    Posted by japanstats on 2009 May 24日 Sunday

    First ever Japanese NHL player and ECHL Bakersfield Condors goalie Yutaka Fukufuji has hinted on his blog that he’s looking outside America for a team to play next season. With his former Asia League team Kokudo/Seibu team folded, I’m not sure whether he means a return to Japan (the newly formed Tohoku Free Blades? Very unlikely), move to Europe (ECHL goalie would translate to second division in an elite nation?), or maybe he’s just yanking our chain and is looking into Canada 😛

    Posted in 02_English, Asia League Ice Hockey, ECHL, hockey, information, Japan, opinion, tokyo | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

    Shamisen fusion

    Posted by japanstats on 2009 May 23日 Saturday

    More a note to myself than anything but I have a soft spot for genre crossing music… when done right (they can go awry very easily).

    And Tsugaru-jamisen is an awesome traditional Japanese instrument that’s often played up tempo with passion, so it can meld nicely with modern instruments and sounds.

    kobayasi-h19.11

    Itanji (異端侍) – I gotta check these guys out soon in Tokyo

    Musashi (六三四) – I have one of their albums, and should own more, trad-prog-rock done to perfection

    Yoshida Brothers (吉田兄弟) – One of the first big stars in the world of modern Tsugaru-jamisen fusion

    Posted in 02_English, culture, information, music, opinion, tokyo | Tagged: , , , , , | 5 Comments »

    松坂のポスティング費の行方

    Posted by japanstats on 2009 May 3日 Sunday

    な、なんと埼玉西武ライオンズがあの世界のニューヨークタイムズにフィーチャーされました。記事の趣旨は松坂のポスティングによってボストン・レッドソックスがワールドシリーズを勝ちとっただけでなく、西武ドームを改修できてその上に2008年の日本シリーズ(そしてアジアシリーズ)に勝ったので、松坂のポスティングは両球団にとって有利な結果だったという結論を出しています。

    記事の中では特にトイレの改修・増築と日本のウォッシュレットの素晴らしさについて触れています(笑)が、その他にも費用が人工芝の張替え、クラブハウス改修、電光掲示板のリニューアル、フィールドシートとテラスシートの設置、新売店の設置、選手の補強にも使われたと書かれています。

    気になる当時約60億円($51m)のポスティング費の内訳は、なんと40%以上の約26億円が税金で、約28億円が球場の改修、そして約6億円が選手補強にあてられたそうです。

    Read the rest of this entry »

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

    2009 Kanto University Championship

    Posted by japanstats on 2009 May 2日 Saturday

    The 2009 Kanto University Ice Hockey Championships (aka 58th Chichibunomiya Cup) concluded on 29 April with the bronze medal game and the finals held at Dydo Drinco Ice Arena in Higashifushimi, Tokyo.

    sp4290429

    The Rabbits no more at Higashifushimi. But the White Bears junior teams are prominent, and that’s kind of fitting since the Seibu Railway team that occupied Higashifushimi before their merger with Kokudo was the White Bears.

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    This championship is a knockout tournament with placement games.

    The first game was the third place match between Hosei University and Meiji University.

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    Meiji looking funky in their throwback-ish uniform. The game was no contest though, as Hosei took a 2-1 lead into the first intermission, then never looked back on their way to a comfortable 5-2 victory.

    And the feature game of the day was the finals between Waseda University and Toyo University, powerhouse Japanese university teams.

    sp4290447

    Waseda players start to warm up on the ice while Meiji and Hosei players were still on their way off. There was no Zamboni between the previous game and the next game’s practice, as the schedule was pretty tightly packed. The Zamboni came on after the pre-game practice though.

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    Waseda’s #21 Shuhei Kuji who was heads and shoulders above the other players on the ice, as he singlehandedly scored Waseda’s first goal by dancing through the Toyo defence from the blue line before cleanly beating the goalie to score unassisted. Kuji has already played and has scored for the senior national team, and it shows, he’s got quick hands and feet. Hopefully his growth as a player won’t be stunted in the near future.

    Waseda looks like Harvard (no surprise as a self-professed Japanese Ivy) and Toyo’s looking NY Rangers. The standing room only crowd was much larger than at most Asia League games.

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    Kuji also scored Waseda’s only other goal in the game, but as teams Toyo was far superior and the game ended 6-2 for Toyo with an empty netter.

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    Congratulations Toyo University, the 2009 Kanto champions!

    Posted in 02_English, hockey, information, Japan, opinion, tokyo | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

    X-Japan curry bread

    Posted by japanstats on 2009 April 25日 Saturday

    Apparently Don Quixote the downmarket 24 hour everything store is collaborating with X-Japan (the number of languages available in Wikipedia is amazing) the visual-kei rock band in a line of products, but I only spotted this curry bread at the cash register so I decided to pick it up to give it a try. 

    x-japan_curry1

    Turns out, the curry bread was just a normal curry bread despite its “Spicy” name, ah well.

    Posted in 02_English, culture, food, information, music, opinion, tokyo | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

    2009, Homerun Heaven?

    Posted by japanstats on 2009 April 18日 Saturday

    It seems like we’ve seen a lot of homeruns so far in the 2009 NPB season what with all the 3 homer games (with Kanemoto doing it twice in 3 days!). Is the ball livelier this season? And if so why would Japanese baseball go in the opposite direction from international standards?

    Anyways, it’s still early going, but I compared the number of homeruns with last year’s figure and here’s what I got (before today’s games).

    CL 2009: 37 Games 71 HR = 1.92 HR/G

    PL 2009: 37 Games 69 HR = 1.86 HR/G

    CL 2008: 1.69 HR/G

    PL 2008: 1.74 HR/G

    So, CL has seen a whopping 14% increase in homeruns (with the bigger park in Hiroshima to boot!), and PL has seen a 7% increase. 37 games is still too small a sample size, so we may see the homerun rates regress to 2008 levels, but we are definitely seeing more homeruns in early 2009. Are teams ordering more tightly wound balls? Who knows. It’s interesting that more homers were hit in the bigger PL parks last season than the CL with a couple of bandboxes (Hiroshima, Yokohama) and a homer friendly Tokyo Dome. This probably needs deeper digging before making any conclusions.

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