Japan, Hockey, Baseball, etc.

Mostly about Asian ice hockey, Japanese baseball, other sports, and random tidbits

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    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.

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    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 »

    Battleship Island

    Posted by japanstats on 2009 May 23日 Saturday

    Battleship Island ruins photos – now you wouldn’t be able to land as organized tours of one part of the island has officially started recently. (Gunkanjima aka Hashima Island Wiki)

    Posted in 02_English, culture, information, random | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

    Kansai Indepent League Fiasco

    Posted by japanstats on 2009 May 22日 Friday

    The upstart Kansai Independent Baseball League in its inaugural season has been mired with problems of late. The swine flu which hit the Kansai area the hardest so far has postponed games scheduled for 22-24 May, but the league is facing a tougher challenge.

    The expected revenue to be distributed by the league to the 4 teams apparently fell short by 2-oku yen (~$2 million) and the teams were supposed to receive revenue distribution of 3000-man (~$300,000) from the league on 31 March, but that had not materialized. 

    This has put the 4 clubs under financial strain, and the initially guaranteed monthly salary of 20-man (~$2000) for the players may not be paid in full by some teams, and some teams may also cut players (if they’re carrying any extra players above the 20 person roster). The player salary payment plans for the 3 teams other than the Kishu Rangers of Wakayama on hold.

    The Kansai League is, of course, famous for drafting and playing the first ever professional female baseball player in Japan in Eri Yoshida, the Kobe 9 Cruise sidearm knuckleballer reliever who has appeared in one game so far and is rehabilitating from shoulder soreness.

    The 4 teams will form an operating company and take over league operations from the Stella group who started up the league but had defaulted on its revenue distribution payments prompting this dispute. However, the teams will not be taking Stella to court over this issue, and will look for ways to cut costs, delay payments, improve revenue (by recruiting their own sponsors for previously league reserved advertising space on uniforms, etc.), and the full league schedule will be played as the league resumes play after the current swine flu postponement in the schedule. The Kansai League will expand by adding the Mie Three Arrows to the league next season, and has big plans for future expansions that clash with other independent leagues expansion plans, and apparently there’s a plan to start up a Kanto Independent League in 2011 with teams in Tokyo, Chiba, Kanagawa, and Saitama, but who knows in this economic climate.

    Posted in 02_English, baseball, information | 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.

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    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.

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    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. 

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    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 »

    Lotte Fit’s dance contest

    Posted by japanstats on 2009 April 24日 Friday

    Lotte the confectionary company is holding a dance contest on YouTube as part of its Fit’s gum campaign. Here are the original Lotte commercials which hooks you in even if it’s annoying.

    And here’s a real neat contest entry by high school girls (google hits here they come  😛 )

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

    Eri Kiribuchi at the Worlds

    Posted by japanstats on 2009 April 22日 Wednesday

    Goaltender Eri Kiribuchi, born in Japan, learned hockey in the Czech Republic, and now attending Bemidji State University in Minnesota, USA, playing for the Japanese national team for the first time in her career against USA at the 2009 IIHF Women’s World Championship in Finland. She gave up 4 goals against the world champions in half the game in Japan’s 0-8 loss in pool play, she looks to be a key piece for the future of the Japanese national team as she is the only person playing outside of the country and in the de facto women’s elite league that is NCAA Division I.

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

    ニセコで行方不明のオーストラリア人の遺体見つかる

    Posted by japanstats on 2009 April 16日 Thursday

    ニセコで2月20日に人気のバー・ワイルド・ビルズを午前1:30に出た後に行方不明になっていた、オーストラリア・ブリスベン出身のスコット・マッケイさん(27)の遺体が、彼の宿泊施設近辺で見つかりました。ご冥福をお祈りいたします。

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

    Suntory The Straight

    Posted by japanstats on 2009 April 16日 Thursday

    Finally, a new happoshu (the second rate beer imitation) that’s drinkable has returned to the market. After the demise of the original Santory Magnum Dry, I’ve been looking for drinkable happoshu as their price points are about 100 yen cheaper than real beer which usually start at around 220 yen. Suntory The Straight seems to be repackaged Magnum Dry, as it’s crisp and goes down easy. A poor man’s Asahi Super Dry, as you can say in both cases. It’s just that Magnum Dry had disappeared off the shelves in recent months (a year?) so I had been looking for a decent substitute and other happoshu just weren’t doing the job (let alone the sub-happoshu that’s classified as 3rd class “beer” made of soy beans, ugh, nothing half decent in this category, just move along). So, if you’re looking for Asahi Super Dry on the cheap for spring-summer drinking season, I recomment Suntory’s The Straight. Maybe an upcoming post about the hangover effects of this drink, as happoshu tend to give you worse hangovers than beer.

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

    Engrish with a purpose

    Posted by japanstats on 2009 April 14日 Tuesday

    Japanese beverage manufacturer Suntory has a new pop drink out called Lucky Cider. The commercial for the drink is full on Engrish (or Japlish)… but done on purpose for effect, with the Lucky Cider girl Nozomi Sasaki singing katakana-ized lyrics with a heavy Japanese accent. This is a new self-conscious twist on inadvertent Japanese Engrish commercials and advertisements that are still pretty common.

    Here are the lyrics:

    Papa Mama Lucky morning !

    My friend is unlucky !

    Sun is shining for me !

    Handsome guys want me !!

    Big money hit me !!!

    I am a lucky girl !

    Because I drink Lucky Cider !!

    Hi !!!

    Awesomez.

    This commercial is doubly awesome because it was all done in one take… which means it took 26 takes over 5 hours to get it right. (The 3’3″ video on the right is the making of video.)

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