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    Posts Tagged ‘asia’

    UAE wins 2009 Challenge Cup of Asia

    Posted by japanstats on 2009 March 30日 Monday

    acc_uae_win2

    ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates – After last year’s inaugural tournament in Hong Kong, the 2009 IIHF Challenge Cup of Asia was hosted and won by the United Arab Emirates.
    The United Arab Emirates was eager to host the tournament in their capital where it was up to 38°C (100°F) outside and made it a successful event for the Asian teams that do not compete in the World Championship program.

    The last two games for gold and bronze were broadcast live and one of the highest Sheikhs – the National Security Advisor and the Chairman of Abu Dhabi Sports Council, His Highness Sheikh Hazza Bin Zayed Al Nahyan – was in attendance for the Emirate’s gold medal win.

    The United Arab Emirates, coached by Serb Marko Zidarevic, won its group by beating Macau (7-0), Singapore (4-2) and Hong Kong (5-1) before downing Malaysia 3-1 in the semi-final.

    Thailand was undefeated in its group against India (14-0), Malaysia (8-2) and Mongolia (5-3), and also won its semi-final game, 6-4 against Hong Kong.

    It all came down to the group winners. After a scoreless beginning, Arthit Thamwongsin opened the scoring for Thailand in the second period but it finished with a 3-2 lead for the Emirates. Thailand equalized in the last stanza but the Emirates scored two more times to win the game 5-3. Juma Mohamed al Dhaheri was their hero with a hat trick, his second of the tournament.

    http://www.iihf.com/home-of-hockey/news/news-singleview/hash/2087f58310/article/uae-wins-challenge-cup-of-asia/955.html

    Didn’t think the hosts had it in them to pull it off against both Thailand and Malaysia, and a great job in hosting the tournament as well! Hopefully the competition will expand in the future with Taiwan rejoining the fray and new entrants from the Middle East as well. Here’s also an interesting blog by a Malaysian player who participated in the tournament.

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    Posted in 02_English, hockey, information, International, opinion | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

    アジア・チャレンジ・カップ準決勝

    Posted by japanstats on 2009 March 20日 Friday

    5位決定戦準決勝

    India 0 – 5 Singapore 

    Mongolia 4 – 1 Macau 

    順当に5位決定戦はシンガポール対モンゴルで、7位決定戦はインド対マカオ。がんばれ。

    準決勝

    Thailand 6 – 4 Hong Kong

    UAE 3 – 1 Malaysia

    決勝には見事ホスト国のアラブ首長国連邦と下馬評の高かったタイが勝ち進みました。香港とマレーシアは3位決定戦へ。

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

    Korea 9 – 0 Taiwan

    Posted by japanstats on 2009 March 7日 Saturday

    The non-story in the WBC today was Korea thrashing Taiwan 9-0. Well, the Taiwanese starter could not find the strike zone. Taiwan starter C. Lee had one of the wildest outings I’ve ever seen with a 0.1IP 2H 6ER 3BB 1HBP 1GrandSlam (and he seemed to only hit the strike zone about 10-20% of the time).

    Game 2 of the Asia Round determines the winners and losers brackets. Saturday, Japan will face Korea in the nightcap in the Japan/East Sea rivalry and depleted Taiwan will attempt to avenge their Beijing Olympics loss to China in the day game in the battle of the Taiwan strait. 

    The announced crowd was a little north of 12,000, I should’ve set the over/under at 15,000 instead of 20,000, but I got it right nonetheless  😛

    Both the Korean and Taiwanese crowds were small in number but pretty loud, creating decent atmosphere. Attendance for non-Japanese games seems to be better than the Asia Series. Must be the marketing and the national teams factor.

    There seemed to be a couple of nationalistic incidents where both Korean and Taiwanese fans displayed large banners and were told by security to withdraw them. The Taiwan banner (we were sitting in the Taiwan section) clearly spelled out “Taiwan” (台湾) in Chinese characters (hanzi), so this may have had something to do with the no politics in the WBC policy.

    Photos after this break:

    Read the rest of this entry »

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

    WBC Opens

    Posted by japanstats on 2009 March 6日 Friday

    But Japan only beats China 4-0 (Japan Times) (box score).

    murata

    Some thoughts:

    • China’s definitely improving, their pitchers seemed much less like batting practice pitchers this time around, but their play on the field was still sloppy from time to time. Japanese baserunning was sloppy too though.
    • Darvish was pulled with less than 50 pitches so he’s eligible to pitch again in the Asia Round.. but unless he manages to gain command of some of his breaking pitches with the WBC ball, he’s not going to be too useful just with his fastball.
    • Murata bashed a homerun, and he’ll be useful in the Asia Round in the friendly confines of the Tokyo Dome, but his big swings aren’t gonna become homeruns in Petco Park and Dodger Stadium which are pitcher’s parks. Ideally I’d like to see Hara try Uchikawa at first and Ogasawara at third, but this probably won’t happen unless Murata is a total disaster, and with this homerun he’s secured third base for himself even if he’s useless once the team travels across the Pacific.
    • Nakajima and Fukudome showed great plate discipline, but they needed guys behind them to drive them in. Super free swinger Johjima also managed to draw a walk. Japan left 24(!) runners on base, so even though they had the same number of hits as the Chinese, the game wasn’t as close as the score indicated.
    • Ichiro went 0 for 5 and looked horrible at the plate. But then again he didn’t start hitting in 2006 until the games moved to the States, and he’s a notorious slow starter even in regular MLB seasons (he seems to really start hitting in June).
    • Kyuji Fujikawa closed out the game, but his fastball wasn’t up to his usual velocity. If he doesn’t gain velocity, he’ll be an easy target for the sluggers from the Americas (but not A-Rod).
    • Japan now awaits the winner of the Taiwan-Korea game tonight. Taiwan has a depleted roster with major leaguers and half the CPBL players missing (2 of 4 teams didn’t release the players). So, it should be Korea pulling through, but stranger things have happened in baseball (China pulling a fairy dust extra innings upset over Taiwan at the Beijing Olympics, for one).
    • Koreans are going to get to see WBC games on free TV thanks to a last minute deal between the rights holder and TV stations. Korea seems to take a similar approach to big ticket sporting events where multiple TV stations share broadcasting rights. This time around TV Asahi has exclusive rights for the Tokyo Round, and TBS has exclusive rights from round 2 to the finals (though pay sports channel J Sports will show all WBC games). In 2006, NTV was also in the mix, and it’s surprising that they’re not this time around considering that Yomiuri is a sponsor for the event and a group company.
    • If the over/under for tonight’s Korea-Taiwan attendance is 20,000, I’ll take under  😛

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

    Eating in Asia

    Posted by japanstats on 2008 September 26日 Friday

    When you live in Asia, you naturally come across many food stuffs that are considered inedible in North America (European cuisines are more inclusive). Then there’s of course the old adage about how the Chinese will eat anything on four legs except for tables and chairs. But this story from Mongolia tops a lot of what I’ve read or heard before.

    Anyways, let’s go through a check list, partially supplied by the article:

    • Live octopus tentacles – No
    • Baby octopii – Yes
    • Duck brain – No
    • Fresh sashimi of fish just knocked unconscious (ikizukuri) – Yes
    • Snake blood – No
    • Fried scorpions – Yes (Chinese restaurant in Tokyo, crunchy and salty)
    • Horse, yak, or camel milk – No
    • Horse sashimi (raw) – Yes (tasty, with ginger)
    • Whale meat – Yes
    • Stinky tofu – Yes (Taipei night market, foul smelling, tastes great)
    • Mongolian “cheese” – No
    • Vodka with beetles – No
    • Bright blue and red tropical fishies – Yes (Okinawa, silver fish taste better) 
    • Awamori (Okinawan distilled liquor) with habu snake – Not yet
    • Dog meat – No (it’s a check list after all)
    • Cow innards – Yes (quite popular here, actually, and tasty at the right restaurants, like many other ingredients)
    • Chicken innards – Yes (also quite popular, on skewers)
    • Chicken sashimi (raw) – Yes (no salmonella concerns in Japan, of course law doesn’t require sashimi/sushi to be frozen before serving, and chefs don’t need to wear plastic gloves either)
    • Entire sheep innards for breakfast – umm, Not even close
    • Sheep head – No
    • Fish head – Yes (some of the tastiest part of certain fish are around the eyes)
    • Fish eyes – Yes
    • Entire fish, head to tail fin (at most middle finger sized) – Yes 
    • Fried larvae (small) – Yes (Thai restaurant in Tokyo, crispy like kappa-ebisen)
    • Boiled larvae (medium) – Yes (Korean restaurant in Tokyo, squishy, me no like)
    • Arctic char (fish, semi-jerkey?) – Yes (up in Nunavut, it’s a whole different country up there)
    • Caribou – Yes (very gamey, also in Nunavut)
    • Poutine – Yes! (the real artery-clogging fries-cheese curds-gravy beauty in Montreal. A special entry, just because, for the Canadian content(?) There’s actually fake poutine available at the Becker’s burger-coffee joint, it kinda does the job when the craving hits)
    Not a very impressive list at all because I tend to stay away from slimy things, but anyways, here’s the good part of the story:

    On our very last morning on the road, the mutton problem became a crisis. At fault was our dear driver, Bimba, who decided it was time to celebrate the trip by buying a whole sheep and slaughtering it. As we went into a local ger to eat breakfast, I noticed that the sheep’s head had been removed, and the internal organs were being poured into a giant pot, the same way you might empty a can of beans.

    Surely this was to feed the dogs, I thought. No one really wants to eat the lungs, stomach, and intestines of an aged sheep.

    Au contraire. I’m sorry to say that we had to watch the whole mess boiling for a while on the dung fire, yielding bubbles of brownish-gray scum. Afterward, a giant steaming bowl of internal organs was placed before us with some ceremony. Out came knives and a mixture of anatomy lesson and breakfast as we sampled one organ after another. I must stress the degree to which our dear friend Bimba considered this the way to cement our friendship. There was no backing away from trying each and every organ and making a good go of the whole thing. Even fearless Miki looked a little pale.

    Anyways, I enjoy Slate’s Well-Traveled series as they tend to go to far flung places where regular people can’t/won’t go for budgetary/time/safety constraints/concerns, but the travelogues aren’t amateur drivel of random traveblogs.

    Posted in 02_English, culture, food, opinion, random, tokyo | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

    MLB in Japan

    Posted by japanstats on 2008 June 2日 Monday

    This is not news, since the ESPN Jim Caple story was posted a few days ago (following his great piece on Yu Darvish), EWC covered it, and Michael Westbay of Japanese Baseball had a conversation about it a few weeks ago with Jim Allen and Robert Whiting, both extremely knowledgeable veterans covering Japanese baseball (would’ve loved to have been a fly on the wall there).

    All the ideas that are bandied about are still pure speculation, but it’s interesting that the ideas of MLB putting team(s) in Japan or MLB absorbing NPB have gained more traction with the coming of the new NPB commissioner Ryozo Kato who is a former diplomat to the US, and absolutely loves MLB. The thought of him being a great improvement over bumbling Negoro was my initial reaction, but Kato’s US ties does bring up interesting MLB possibilities.

    Caple’s comparisons with the Dodgers and Giants moving to the west coast is interesting. Having Yomiuri (who, let by grumpy old former “owner” Watanabe, threaten to leave NPB to form their own league from time to time) and Hanshin (the 2 reliably profitable NPB teams with some financial clout), and maybe 1-2 teams from Korea and Taiwan who are similarly financially stable form the “Asia Division” of MLB might be an interesting and possibly feasible idea that hasn’t been mentioned yet. Yomiuri Newspaper did sponsor the MLB season opener which clashed with the Pacific League season which had already opened, so there’s another jab.

    Then again, neither the owners or players in the States will ever let something like this happen. Jet travel has become more accessible than back when the teams relocated to SF and LA, but it hasn’t shrunken travel time across the Pacific enough to seriously merit this idea… until a new generation of supersonic airliners are developed  😛  Even then, the time difference and jet lag will be balked at, as TV money is key in the States, and major leaguers are more delicate than normal human beings who regularly cross the Pacific and go to work the next day.

    Another pie in the sky scenario that I’ve always envisioned is the Asian Baseball League. We can include all existing NPB, KBO, and CPBL teams here, that’ll be 12, 8, and 6 for a total of 26 teams. Not bad. The problem here is that NPB (and KBO and CPBL) depend on gate receipts, and the country is small enough that teams usually count on visiting fans to boost attendance (especially in the more geographically compact Central League). Then again, up in Hokkaido and down in Fukuoka, the Fighters and Hawks seem to do pretty well drawing fans despite their geographic isolation from the Japanese mainland of Honshu, but overall the economic situation of NPB teams are much unhealthier than their MLB counterparts where they work together to promote MLB as a whole instead of NPB where the owners bicker with each other and only look after their own team’s interests, but NPB teams tend to be advertising arms of corporations so being in red ink isn’t seen as being too much of a big deal (though obviously it would be better to be a profitable entity on its own, like the Giants and Tigers).

    Incidentally, I thought the more progressive Pacific League forming an Asian League with KBO and CPBL while leaving the staunch Central League in the dust would’ve been interesting, this popped up a few years ago before CL relented to interleague play. But this still faces the same attendance problem. Asia League Ice Hockey (4 teams in Japan, 2 in Korea, 1 in China) games have much lower attendance figures for international matches than domestic matches, again because of fans of the visiting teams tend not to travel overseas (even though it’s now affordable in this region). And another thought that crossed my mind was that if Yomiuri and Hanshin tried to join MLB on their own, that move sort of mirrors the Rangers and Celtic trying to join the English Premiership from their Scottish Premier League, leaving aside obvious geographical differences, this is the big fish in small pond thing, at least financially.

    Now I’m just rambling, so I’ll stop here. Nothing will change in the short term, but the increased mainstream media attention and the new NPB commissioner does bring an interesting twist to this MLB in Japan story that reanimates itself every now and then. But for Asian baseball development, an expanded Konami Cup/Asia Series or some interlocking scheduling between NPB, KBO, and CPBL would be more beneficial than MLB rolling in as an 800 pound gorilla.

    Posted in 02_English, Asia League Ice Hockey, baseball, culture, football, hockey, information, MLB, NPB, opinion, soccer | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

    Problems faced by Japanese and Asian hockey

    Posted by japanstats on 2008 April 15日 Tuesday

    Just an excerpt from my exchange at International Hockey Forum regarding the development of Japanese and Asian hockey.

    Originally Posted by leksandstars
    I saw a funny thing about Japanese hockey. they got almost 80% more Senior players then Sweden have almost as much players as Switzerland, Germany and Austria have registered together, and still they are not so good,. It must have to do on the lack of interest from sponsors etc, if u play hockey and wanna be better u need to put away almost 100% focus for only hockey and with no pay checks if they not have in Japanese league that isnt possible, they need to bring home food to their childrens, am i right?? I think its money that is the difference, Asian player got good technique are very sppedy maybe not the roughest and stabile team japenese have a overall lenght in their country that is kindda tall^^

    Yup, you’ve hit the nail on the head.
    The lack of sponsors means, lack of pro teams, which means lack of players who can continue their career as pros and maybe become late bloomers. Instead many promising players are dropped from the system if they do not blossom early enough in their careers to get noticed by the 4 Japanese pro teams in the AL.

    Theoretically AL teams can sign any Japanese, Korean, or Chinese player to their team and not have them count as an import. So, the 7 team AL should offer more opportunities for all players from these countries to continue playing pro, but in practice this option is rarely being used. Not having a second tier pro league beneath the AL doesn’t help either.

    So, lots of registered players, but they’re almost all on amateur club teams holding down regular jobs and can’t concentrate on hockey.

    The new rules is more advantageous to fast and skilled players, so this helps Asian nations, rather than the trapping styles where physical size and strength is more important. But Asian teams also need better team work and hockey sense, and this can only come with playing more high calibre games, which there aren’t enough opportunities to do so in Asia at the moment (so some Asian players are making their way over to NA and Europe, which helps, but more players need to go play overseas).

    Originally Posted by KazakhEagles
    And then, as quite a few countries have experienced including Japan, those players aren’t available to the national team as their clubs continue their seasons, compounding the difficulty in promoting and using their elite division status to showcase themselves and the sport to sponsors in the country. The players also miss out on sharing their overseas experience to their teammates to speed the overall program’s learning.

    Yeah, good point.

    I’m not sure what can be done to rectify that situation, other than a more unified calendar. A totally unified calendar is impossible, but it might be possible to align various national leagues schedules a little more. Then again, I guess the IIHF doesn’t want all levels of IHWC tournaments going on at once (and we wouldn’t either, as keeping up with all the different tournaments going on at the same time now is difficult enough), so we end up with the current situation.

    Posted in 02_English, Asia League Ice Hockey, hockey, International, Japan, opinion | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »