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    Posts Tagged ‘Mongolia’

    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 »

    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 »

    May Sumo Tournament Update

    Posted by japanstats on 2008 May 19日 Monday

    Though mired in various sad, terrible, and stupid scandals recently, this Ozumo (pro sumo) May tournament has provided some excitement (though I’ve never seen the Kokugikan arena that empty when I took visitors from Canada there on day 3 on Tuesday).

    Ama, one of the smallest sekitori (top division sumo wrestler) at 1.85 m (6’1″) and 126 kg (280 lb), just had an incredible bout yesterday where he did an amazing reversal “ucchari” against the younger, bigger, and stronger Wakanoho from Russia.

    Though Ama, with his 5-3 record, is not in the thick of the championship (sekitori with the best record after 15 days wins), we are finally seeing a resurgence of Kotooshu, the tall and lanky Bulgarian. He looks very confident, steady, and is finally playing to his strengths of using his long reach again, like when he made his way up to Ozeki (a rank just below Yokozuna, the grand champions). He is looking good so far, going undefeated through 8 days of this tournament so far.

    The other contenders for the tournament title are, reassuringly, the two Yokozunas, Asashoryu and Hakuho. It’s funny how things turned out, with Asashoryu basically taking on the role of the heel and Hakuho being a babyface. Sumo isn’t scripted but different personalities brought us this Mongolian Yokozuna era. Asashoryu is 7-1 and Hakuho is 8-0, as the sekitori are preparing for their 9th day’s bouts as I write. Lone Japanese sekitori in the hunt is Toyonoshima, but he’ll start facing tougher opposition as the tournament enters its second week and I don’t think he’ll be able to remain at just 1 loss.

    Interestingly, about 40% of the sekitori are foreign imports, that’s about the same ratio as the NHL and MLB. And sumo has an import restriction, so the top division would be even more dominated by foreigners without this import limit (1 per training stable, some with multiple imports have been grandfathered in). Since becoming a professional sumo wrestler usually requires joining a training stable after graduating from junior high, and the chances of success are very low (as in most pro sports careers), the profession just isn’t attracting young Japanese talent anymore. Instead, we are seeing an influx of Mongolians (from Mongolian wrestling backgrounds) and Eastern Europeans (from amateur wrestling backgrounds). They certainly add interesting flavours to sumo, both in fighting styles and in general. 

    Posted in 02_English, culture, information, MLB, NHL, opinion, sumo, tokyo | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

    Sumo in LA

    Posted by japanstats on 2008 February 25日 Monday

    Ozumo (the professional sumo circuit) is making an appearance in LA this June after putting on a performance in Hawaii last year, which was the first time in 14 years for the former sumo wrestler producing island.

    Pretty slick site considering how analogue the sumo world is (many sumo-beya training stables now have their own sites and top ranked sekitori wrestlers have their own blogs, so the ancient world is slowly becoming digitized). Introductory video is nicely produced and contains lots of great scenes often not seen by the public, like all the training sessions. But it seems to overuse the Japanese sumo words so people need some prior knowledge of the sport, otherwise they’ll get lost quickly in all the lingo. Then again judo pretty much exclusively uses Japanese terms and it’s an Olympic sport, so that seems to be what sumo’s aiming at.

    One FYI: about 40 wrestlers in the upper ranks of makuuchi make it to these overseas 2-day tournaments, but they always fly in two separate planes. This is to avert a situation where the world’s top sumo wrestlers are all lost in one plane crash.

    PS: There should be a Mongolian tournament in the works as well, as Mongolians currently dominate the sumo world and Ozumo is watched regularly by Mongolians on TV. Sort of like how Japanese watch their major leaguers on TV broadcasts.

    Posted in 02_English, information, sumo | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »