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    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 »

    Anyang Halla forfeits a game

    Posted by japanstats on 2008 September 22日 Monday

    The new season has just begun for the Asia League, and already there is already controversy with more potential trouble brewing (maybe).

    The issue is Anyang Halla forfeiting their game against High1 in only the second game of the season after High1 scored an apparently controversial goal late in what must’ve been an entertaining match up to that point. But the Halla coach disputed this goal and refused to continue with the game, thus forfeiting the game. 3 points for a regulation win will be awarded to High1, and all individual records from the game will not be counted. The finalized decision will come from the rules committee of Asia League on a later date. (Loosely translated and added more facts to the last paragraph from this AL press release covering Sunday’s actions which briefly exlains the forfeited game. Looking at the game sheet the 59:59 goal was an empty netter, and Halla coach received a delay of game penalty at 60:00 presumably for not putting his team back on the ice, so it’s anyone’s guess as to what actually transpired, we’ll need some solid firsthand information from the rink.)

    The original brief explanation on the forfeited game in the press release:

    ■「High1 対 アニャンハルラ」 高陽アイスリンク/韓国

    この試合は、試合終了間際のHigh1 のゴールを巡り、ハルラが試合続行を拒否したため、没収試合となりました。

    High1 を勝利扱いとなります。個人記録は全て無効です。

    審議委員会の競技結果等は後日、お知らせいたします。

    Posted in 02_English, 03_Translations (英訳ポートフォリオ), Asia League Ice Hockey, hockey, information, opinion, press releases | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

    Anyang Cup 2008 Day 1

    Posted by japanstats on 2008 September 5日 Friday

    Day 1 (9.3) result:

    ■ ANYANG HALLA – HIGH1 @ANYANG/KOREA
    ANYANG HALLA 4 (0-1,1-2,3-2) 5 HIGH1

    GK
    HALLA : Son, Ho Sung, Kim, Sun Ki
    High1 : Eum, Hyun Seung, Kanamaru

    Scorer ( )=assists
    HALLA : (1)Lee, Yu Won (Kim, Han Sung) (2)Song, Dong Hwan (Kim, Woo Jae)
    (3)Radunske (Fast, Yoon, Kyung Won) (4)Martinec (Song, Dong Hwan, Lee, Kwon Joon)
    High1 : (1)Gauvreau (Allen, Kim, Dong Hwan) (2)Kim, Eun Joon (Gauvreau, Choi, Jung Sik)
    (3)Kuwabara (Hwang, Byung Wook) (4)Osterby (Kuwabara)
    (5)Han, Seung Woong (Allen, Lee, You)

    【High1 Head Coach Kim Hee-woo’s postgame comment】
    I did not expect the team’s system, because our foreign players have joined 2 days ago. Fortunately, our teamwork had grown better period by period. Our first target is to join the playoffs.

    http://www.alhockey.com/news/080904/index.html

    The Korean derby featured the return of Song Dong-Hwan to Halla from 2 year mandatory military service with 1G+1A.
    Japanese-Canadian veteran (doesn’t count against import restrictions with his Japanese passport) also played well for High1 with 1G+1A as well.
    The two players (re-)joining the Korean squads this season started off the preseason well.

    In day 2 action one of the games ended with China Sharks 1 – 5 Oji Eagles in a battle between last season’s bottom dwellers and champions. Don’t have any more details, but the Sharks were losing by double digits last season, so this may be a promising start.

    Teams:

    • Nippon Paper Cranes (JPN)
    • Oji Eagles (JPN)
    • Anyang Halla (KOR)
    • High1 (KOR)
    • China Sharks (CHN)

    Schedule/Results:
    03 Sept.
    19:00 High1 5 – 4 Anyang Halla 
    04 Sept
    16:00 Oji Eagles 5 – 1 China Sharks 
    19:00 Anyang Halla vs Nippon Paper Cranes 
    05 Sept.
    19:00 High1 vs Oji Eagles 
    06 Sept.
    12:00 China Sharks vs Anyang Halla 
    15:00 High1 vs Nippon Paper Cranes 
    07 Sept.
    12:00 Anyang Halla vs Oji Eagles 
    15:00 Nippon Paper Cranes vs China Sharks

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

    2008.8.22 Olympic Baseball Semis (and Bolt, of course)

    Posted by japanstats on 2008 August 23日 Saturday

    Japan lost soundly to Korea, again, this time 2-6, thanks to the team’s inept offence combined with completely mismanagement of the bullpen bringing in struggling Hitoki Iwase into the highest leverage situation (2-2 tie in the 8th) in the game, then following it up not with closer Uehara to stop the bleeding, but somehow bringing back Hideaki Wakui who had pitched 7 innings 3 days earlier, he gave up 2 more runs. Kyuji Fujikawa’s forkball didn’t drop as much and was hit into the outfield to tie the game at 2. The struggling Lee Seung-Yeop was heroic in his 2 run homer off Iwase that brought the lead for the Koreans, reminiscent of struggling Kosuke Fukudome’s pinch hit HR against Korea in the WBC semifinals that won the game for Japan (after losing to the Koreans twice in earlier rounds, history didn’t repeat itself in Beijing). But the star of the game was 20 year old Korean pitcher Kim Kwang-hyun who pitched 8 solid innings, completely shutting down the Japanese offence in the second half of the game. For better accounts of the game, here’re the EWC and NPBTracker takes on the game. Oh, and the US was crushed 10-2 by Cuba in the other regional arch rival semifinals.

    Well, I’m busy tomorrow evening for the finals tomorrow morning to see what Cuba’s got up its sleeve, but I’ll be able to catch the Darvish-Wada show vs the US as Japan hopes to scrape together a bronze.

    But Japan got lucky on the track, to counterbalance the baseball disappointment. With the US and UK relay teams dropping their batons, literally, in the 4x100m relay semifinals, Japan was in line for bronze in the finals. And the relay team brought home the first Japanese track medal in 80 years! Well done, lads. (This was in the shadows of Jamaica’s amazing WR relay and some guy named Bolt’s 3rd WR gold medal.)

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

    Osaka-Toin Wins Summer Koshien!

    Posted by japanstats on 2008 August 19日 Tuesday

    Congratulations to Osaka-Toin who won this summer’s 90th Summer Koshien tournament in a more than dominating 17-0 crushing of Tokoha-Kikugawa of Shizuoka.

    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H
    大阪桐蔭 Osaka-Toin 4 0 1 0 1 6 2 0 3 17 21
    常葉菊川 Tokoha-Kikugawa 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 5

    Kikugawa started their injured ace Togari in a show of support even though he was barely throwing 120km/h (75mph) batting practice softies. It was painful to watch, but on this day, it didn’t matter who was pitching for Kikugawa, look at these ugly lines by each pitcher. Oh, and Toin’s Hagiwara hit homeruns in three straight games including this final, that’s a Koshien first or something as well.

    IP BF H SO BB ER
    回数 打者数 被安打 奪三振 四死球 自責点
    戸狩 聡希 3 18 9 1 1 5 Togari
    野島 大介 2(2/3) 18 7 2 2 2 Nojima
    萩原 大起 2(1/3) 11 4 0 1 2 Hagiwara
    浅川 将輝 0(2/3) 6 1 0 3 1 Asakawa
    戸狩 聡希 0(1/3) 1 0 0 0 0 Togari

    And Kikugawa’s powerful bats were shutout completely by Toin’s ace Fukushima who had pitched the majority of innings in all 6 games it took to win the championship, capping it off with an unnecessary shutout in the final even though he had pitched a complete game the previous day in the semifinal. Hope his arm doesn’t fall off.

    ———-

    And in Olympic baseball action Japan barely defeated Canada 1-0 on the back of Inaba homerun and more than solid pitching by Naruse (7IP 2H 0BB 10K 0R), as the lefty was pitted against the Canadian lineup featuring 8(!) lefties, and Hoshino’s plan worked perfectly as Fujikawa and Uehara shut the door in the last 2 innings with 1-2-3 innings. This is Canada’s 4th straight 1 run loss, and that’s gotta be heartbreaking, but the team has no plate discipline and seems to have serious problems laying off balls (very low number of walks and lots of strikeouts). While Japan’s problems have been the lack of clutch hitting which may or may not just be bad luck. Japan had runners on 2nd and 3rd with no outs late in the Korea game and came away with 0 runs, and the same lack of clutchness was on display against Canada late in the game again with a runner on 3rd and no outs.

    Korea’s had similarly difficult time scoring runs, and Cuba hasn’t been scoring boatloads either (except in the mercy rule win against the Dutch today), so this is a generally low scoring tournament so I guess the Japanese offense is not really an exception, maybe the Olympic baseball stadium is a pitcher’s park? USA and Japan look pretty set to grab the last 2 playoff positions, though Japan can’t cruise through tomorrow’s China game, as the upstarts have taken both the Taiwanese and Koreans to extra innings, beating the former. Taiwan lost a heartbreaker today against Korea as the team came back from an 8 run deficit to tie the game only to have Korea score the winning run in the 7th and shut them out for the rest of the game. Taiwan, and to a lesser degree Canada, being 1-4 at this point in the tournament is probably the biggest shocker, and fittingly these two teams face eachother on the final day of round robin play.

    Cuba 5-0

    Korea 5-0

    USA 3-2

    Japan 3-2

    Canada 1-4

    China 1-4

    Netherlands 1-4

    Taiwan 1-4

    Looking back at how the pitchers have been used, it doesn’t seem like Japan has a rotation set up. Maybe this is intentional, or maybe emergency measures because the team looked close to falling out of contention. Anyways, here were the starting pitchers so far.

    8.13 Darvish v Cuba (L)

    8.14 Wakui v Taiwan (W)

    8.15 Sugiuchi v Netherlands (W)

    8.16 Wada v Korea (L)

    8.17 off

    8.18 Naruse v Canada (W)

    8.19 ??? v China

    8.20 ??? v USA

    8.21 off

    8.22 Darvish(?) in Semifinal

    8.23 ??? in Medal game

    It seems impossible to predict the starting pitchers now, but a TV analyst (hope he had insider info) was saying Darvish in the Semifinal. We’ll see. Maybe we’ll see Darvish on a throw day tomorrow if Japan builds a big enough lead against China (IF that happens, Chinese managed to shut down both Taiwan and Korea, and the Japanese offense is equally anemic), I’m sure Hoshino will want him to face some live batters before the semis.

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

    Koshien Final and more Olympic Baseball

    Posted by japanstats on 2008 August 17日 Sunday

    Well, my team in Koshien, Okinawa’s Urasoe-Sho, got bombed out 9-4 in the semifinals by hard hitting Tokoha-Kikugawa (Shizuoka) based on their 9 run 2nd inning. The team had engineered 10 and 7 run innings to win their previous 2 games as well, showing the Japanese baseball world how big ball can be played and that, yes, you don’t have to always bunt over a runner every time. Kikugawa will face Osaka-Toin (Osaka) who also won comfortably 9-4 over Yokohama (South Kanagawa) in this final-worthy matchup. Toin has looked stronger as the tournament goes on, defeating better opponents with ever more ease. The finals will pit upstart Kikugawa against hometown Toin in what should be a slugfest (but will probably turn into a pitching duel against all expectations, as these things tend to do) at 12:30pm on Monday 18 August.

    Incompetently managed (both on and off the field) Japan also lost to Korea in Olympic baseball action (boxscore). A pretty resounding 5-3 defeat. I don’t even know where to start on this one, but I’ll list some of the shortcomings of Team Japan as managed by Senichi Hoshino (who has never won the Japan Series as manager, and indeed there might be a reason why).

    • Despite the limited 24 man roster (NPB uses an expansive 28 man roster), the team took injury question marks Kawasaki and Murata with them to Beijing. Nishioka’s injury on top of this didn’t help matters, as the team was down to 11 position players at full health for the Korea game (though Murata played).
    • This forced Hoshino’s hand and he started all glove no bat Araki at second and solid hitting catcher Satozaki at DH. These wouldn’t normally be bad decisions except he let Araki hit second even though he is by far the worst hitter on the team (classic old school baseball move). And for some unknown reason he, yet again, let incompetent Abe catch instead of the defensively superior Satozaki catch, and this cost the team a run when Abe’s errant throw to second scored a Korean run.
    • Hoshino also left pitchers in too long in the game, with pretty good relief corps, he should’ve pulled Wada earlier in the inning, and he has admitted to this mistake. And he also left reliever Iwase in for too long even though he is clearly more hittable this year and is not a shutdown reliever like he used to be (or like Fujikawa, who didn’t get to enter the game).

    Good news is that, despite Hoshino’s bumbling management, the team still has a decent chance of making medal rounds due to Canada always coming up just short (tough 1 run losses to Cuba, USA, and Korea), and Taiwan recording their first ever loss to China in pixy dust extra inning rules (China might be onto something though, as they managed to pull Korea into extra innings as well, though this time they lost 1-0). Korea and Cuba are both unbeaten at 4-0, but Cuba looks like the team to beat. Since Japan still has to play Canada, chances of both teams making it into medal rounds is slim to nil, considering that USA now has a relatively easy schedule having already played the 2 undefeated teams.

    Cuba 4-0

    Korea 4-0

    USA 2-2

    Japan 2-2

    Canada 1-3

    China 1-3

    Netherlands 1-3

    Taiwan 1-3

    This Kuricorder Quartet version of the Imperial March might sum up my feelings pretty well at the moment, after waking up with a hangover from an all you can drink birthday party on the day of those defeats.

    Posted in 02_English, baseball, high school, information, olympics, opinion | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

    Japan v Korea! (Olympic Baseball)

    Posted by japanstats on 2008 August 16日 Saturday

    Yesterday’s games featured 2 games decided using the new fairy dust extra innings rule in the early games, and the 2 late games were both shutouts. Get the gory details from EWC for the new superball extra innings that led to Chinese victory over Taiwan and Cuba’s win over the US, and also for Korea and Japan shutting out Canada and the Netherlands, respectively.

    China’s victory over Taiwan was huge (possibly) for Chinese baseball. But this was engineered through having Taiwan play the night before against Japan after a rain delay at 8pm, while the China-Korea game was suspended because of the same rain, then the fatigued Taiwanese had to play the Chinese at 10am the next morning. Coincidence? Likely not.

    US is put in a tough spot with a 1-2 record, but their 2 losses are against the only undefeated teams in the tournament, Cuba and Korea.

    Though, the Korean lineup seems to definitely lack punch, as they were unable to score a run against China, of all teams, in 5 innings before the game was suspended scoreless. Then the lone run against Canada came on a homerun against a pitcher (Mike Johnson) who was below average when he did play in the majors, and that was 7 years ago!

    But Japan, in a seemingly stupid move by stubborn manager Senichi Hoshino (whose knowledge of PL baseball is often put into question), used their best pitcher Toshiya Sugiuchi against an easy opponent in the Dutch (though this does put Sugiuchi on schedule for the final round robin game against the States), and Kenshin Kawakami closed out the game, so the starter of the Korea game is the only unused pitcher in this tournament, Tsuyoshi Wada, who has been very effective the past 3 years, but is having a subpar season by his standards (3.78 ERA, 83/29 K/BB). But seeing how ineffective ace Darvish was against Cuba (though they were very patient), and Wakui succeeding against Taiwan (whose squad may be weaker than usual), who knows how Wada will perform tonight, we may see Hoshino magic(!) after all.

    Canada’s fought valiantly against both the Cubans and the Koreans, losing both games by the smallest margin of 1 run. But they were clearly the inferior team. So, Canada, along with fellow 1-2 record holders Taiwan appear to be out of the running for the medal rounds. The US also has a 1-2 record but they’ll be facing relatively weaker opposition from here on in.

    Standings after day 3 (Korea-China game is suspended and will resume play on the 17th):

    3-0 Cuba

    2-0 Korea

    2-1 Japan

    1-1 China

    1-2 USA

    1-2 Canada

    1-2 Taiwan

    0-3 Netherlands

    Games today (day 4):

    10:30 USA-Canada

    11:30 Cuba-Taiwan

    18:00 China-Netherlands

    19:00 Japan-Korea

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

    Domino’s Korean BBQ Japanese Pizzas

    Posted by japanstats on 2008 July 6日 Sunday

    Domino’s in Japan has just upped the ante on weird pizzas with its new summer menu (the first Japanese pizza post). On it are double layer Korean BBQ pizzas where there is a layer of namul (various seasoned veggies) underneath the Korean BBQ beef and/or pork layer. The popularity of Korean cuisine inspired pizzas in Japan continues to heat up.

    It’s a little difficult to tell with these grainy photos, but you can see the namul layer sitting below the Korean BBQ layer.

    namul:

    Posted in 02_English, culture, food, information, opinion, random, tokyo | 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 »

    Jamie McLennan in Beijing and AL semifinal mini preview

    Posted by japanstats on 2008 February 22日 Friday

    Some interesting observations from Jamie about the Asia League. I’ve seen games in Korea but not in China, so first hand reports like this are neat (from his blog entry at The Hockey News):

    Secondly, in 17 years as a pro hockey player I’d like to claim I’ve had many experiences and would say I’ve seen it all when it came to what this game has to offer. But I broke out laughing in amazement six minutes into the game when I spotted the goal judge behind the net, smoking, with an ashtray on the boards and carrying on like he’s watching the game from his living room couch.

    It was awesome. I’m not condoning the smoking issue, but it was a very unique sight to see someone involved in a sport actively lighting a dart while the play is on. There were plumes of smoke everywhere around him, like he’d actually see a goal if it went in. It was so crazy; I thought it was worth mentioning. It was one of those things that if you didn’t see for yourself, you wouldn’t believe.

    Haha, pretty funny stuff. The level of professionalism really varies throughout the countries in this league. Looks like Jamie was needed in the second game though, as the undermanned Cranes managed to somehow lose to the lowly China Sharks by the score of 6-5 (who only won 3 out of 30 games all season to finish dead last).

    The Cranes just swept Anyang Halla in 3 games (best of 5 series) to advance to the semifiinals of the AL playoffs. But all 3 games were decided by one goal, so it looks like the series could have gone either way (I didn’t get to see any games, but shots on goal were fairly even). Now I’ll get to see McLennan, Nash, and Co. in action against the Seibu Prince Rabbits when they open the semifinals here in Tokyo on 1 March.

    The other semifinal features Oji, who handily swept the underpowered Bucks, against High1, the first non-Japanese team to finigh the regular season with such a good record (2nd). Both Seibu and High1 had byes in the first round, they should be well prepared for the semis. The Cranes fortunes rest on McLennan’s shoulders, as the team’s been inconsistent all season and Seibu is a solid squad with no obvious weaknesses. Oji – High1 should be a very even and interesting series. I’d like to see High1 win and become the first non-Japanese team to make it to the AL final, but this series is a real tough call.

    Posted in 02_English, Asia League Ice Hockey, hockey | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »