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  • Posts Tagged ‘USA’

    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 »

    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 »

    WBC uniform watch

    Posted by japanstats on 2009 April 3日 Friday

    I’m sure many people noticed this, but some WBC uniforms are alarmingly similar to MLB uniforms. Guess that’s template at work (and lack of creative colour schemes due to flag colours, though not every nation adheres to their flag stripes). Anyways, without further ado, here they are:

    Australia

    wbc_australia_h

    South Africa

    wbc_sa_h

    It was difficult to tell them apart on quick glance, especially since they played in the same pool in Mexico City.

    wbc_sa_v

    Oakland Athletics

    mlb_oak_h

    mlb_oak_v2

    Different font, obviously, but pretty similar otherwise.

    Canada (home)

    wbc_canada_h1

    LAnaheim Angels

    mlb_laa_h

    Canada has the faux vest thing going.

    Canada (away)

    wbc_canada_v

    Arizona Diamondbacks

    Cardinals Diamondbacks Baseball

    Reverse the font colouring, and you’re basically there.

    Dominican Republic

    wbc_dr_h

    wbc_dr_v

    Future Hall of Famer Pedro Martinez pitching for his homeland, earning a job with the Mets in the process.

    Texas Rangers

    mlb_tx_h3

    mlb_tx_v

    There’s that annoying underarm panel in many WBC jerseys, and the helmet bill’s different colour, but otherwise…

    Italy

    wbc_italy_v2

    LA Dodgers

    mlb_dodg_v3

    (Immortal Manny at work)

    Obviously. Was this done because of the Piazza-Lasorda connection from the first WBC?

    Netherlands (the Cinderella!)

    wbc_ned_h

    Baltimore Orioles

    mlb_bal_h

    Cap colours need to be reversed, and MLB teams seem to be fond of cursive fonts while WBC unis tend to use block fonts.

    Now for the more far fetched connections after this jump

    Read the rest of this entry »

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

    Darvish, Matsuzaka, and Iwakuma

    Posted by japanstats on 2009 March 21日 Saturday

    WBC 2009, Daisuke Matsuzaka (Boston Red Sox) will start in the semifinals at Dodger Stadium against Roy Oswalt (Houston Astros) of the USA. Hisashi Iwakuma (Tohoku Rakuten Eagles), the groundball machine, who pitched 6 shutout innings against Cuba in Round 2 will start the finals if Japan makes it there. The most sought after Japanese pitcher Yu Darvish (Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters), who pitched 1 poor inning and 4 great ones against Korea in Round 2, will be used out of the bullpen for the semifinals and/or finals.

    http://sportsnavi.yahoo.co.jp/baseball/jpn/headlines/20090321-00000017-kyodo_sp-spo.html

    Posted in 02_English, baseball, information, MLB, NPB | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

    The Big Three

    Posted by japanstats on 2008 December 11日 Thursday

    bigthree

    Posted in 02_English, random | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

    Sarah Palin’s accent

    Posted by japanstats on 2008 October 2日 Thursday

    Sarah Palin’s accent is apparently causing some debate (well, any detail about the candidates in the US election seems to cause debate in the uber-fishbowl media coverage). Anyways, I found this interesting. Geographically, the some Canadian influence seems natural enough. But with Alaska having being settled by people from various parts of the States, it wouldn’t be surprising if it compared similarly to Hokkaido Japanese, a northern island that was settled fairly recently in Japanese history. The hockey mom thing about Palin’s kinda fun too, but with the realistic chance of McCain croaking while in the Oval Office, the creation of ultra-inexperienced President Palin is a very real threat that, I’m sure, no one outside of GOP wants to see. 

    Many Alaska residents came from the Pacific Northwest or Western Canada, and features of the dialects of these regions are the most prominent in Alaskan English. Alaskan English even has a certain amount of “Canadian raising,” the sound change that makes a Canadian about sound something like a boot. There are also a significant number of immigrants from the Midwest in Alaska, and they have contributed different elements to Alaskan speech. And in parts of Alaska, there is influence from Eskimo and Indian languages, though this is typically found only in people raised in native villages, and this speech is popularly associated with remote regions.

     

    Posted in 02_English, culture, hockey, information, opinion, random | 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 »

    IIHF Top 100 Stories of the Century

    Posted by japanstats on 2008 May 18日 Sunday

    Ahead of the Centennial Ice Hockey World Championship final to be played later today, the 1980 Miracle on Ice was announced as the #1 story on their international hockey stories of the century list.

    The win didn’t change the landscape of the game right away. It was a shocking and unexpected victory, but more importantly, it inspired a generation of American kids to play the game. When USA won its next important international event, the 1996 World Cup of Hockey, almost every player on that team pointed to the Miracle on Ice game as their inspiration for wanting to play hockey.

    In time, the win also assured the international community that America would be part of the top nations. In the 1976 Canada Cup, for instance, the roster was a who’s who of minor leaguers and collegians. Soon after 1980, that never happened again. 

    This game was and remains the greatest moment in international hockey because of its impact at the time and its continued impact over time. For 20 college players to defeat a team that trained year round and won virtually every game it played before and after truly is, in a sporting sense, a miracle. There is no other word for it. 

    That this miracle became something lasting and enduring makes it all the more significant. The greater miracle is that it took a nation with nothing more than a mild interest in the game and made it into a world powerhouse that can today beat any other great nation on any given day. There have been greater teams which have accomplished greater feats over greater periods of time in international hockey, but there is only one game, one team, one moment, that can truly be called a miracle. And nothing can outclass a miracle. Nothing.

    And the IIHF also announced the Centennial All-Star Team. The list is Soviet heavy with Tretiak, Fetisov, Salming, Kharlamov, Makarov, and Gretzky. Methinks the voters were weighed towards Europeans, but then again this is an All-Star team for international hockey, and the Soviets dominated international play, so maybe it’s right. It’s interesting that Gretzky’s contributions in the Canada Cup is counted considering it was not an IIHF sanctioned event. But then again, IIHF was not obtuse enough to ignore the great impact the Summit Series and the Canada Cups had on international hockey, even if they were not officially sanctioned events.

    The six members of the All-Star Team are:

    Goaltender: Vladislav Tretiak (Russia)
    First Defenceman: Vyacheslav Fetisov (Russia)
    Second Defenceman: Borje Salming (Sweden)
    First Winger: Valeri Kharlamov (Russia)
    Second Winger: Sergei Makarov (Russia)
    Centre: Wayne Gretzky (Canada)

    The panel comprised 56 ice hockey experts from 16 countries representing a balance between North American and European countries, and included people who have worked in the game for an extended period and whose opinions are universally respected. One of the 56 votes represented the collective opinion of the staff of The Hockey News.

    Tretiak received 30 votes, Fetisov 54, Salming 17, Kharlamov 21, Makarov 18, and Gretzky 38.

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

    Quarterfinals set for 2008 Worlds

    Posted by japanstats on 2008 May 14日 Wednesday

    The quarterfinals for the 2008 World Championship in Halifax and Quebec City has been set. With the disappointing performance (combined with the ineligible German player controversy) sent Slovakia down to a relegation series against Slovenia, which it won (France, with Huet being the difference maker, won the other relegation battle against Italy.)

    Quarterfinals on 14 May are:

    Czech Republic – Sweden

    Norway – Canada

    Russia – Switzerland

    USA – Finland

    The CZE-SWE and RUS-FIN matches will be great clashes of titans, and the Swiss are always strong and can easily give the talented Russian squad a run for its money. Canada has the easiest draw, but the team only won 2-1 over Norway thanks to a last minute Nash goal, so we’ll see if Grotnes can pull off the supergoalie gig yet again. 

    Some great quotes from the Norwegians  🙂

    Even getting this far is an amazing triumph for the Norwegian national hockey program, which operates on an annual budget of less than $1-million. Heatley alone operates on an annual budget 10 times that.

    It is a team that boasts a former NHL player, 32-year-old Anders Myrvold, who last played for the Detroit Red Wings in 2004, and a collection of European professionals, semi-pros and amateurs.

    But they have, Myrvold said, a secret weapon.

    “We have Viking blood,” he said. “You know Viking blood? It doesn’t exist in Canada.”

    The players are salesmen and teachers – one for kindergarten – but mostly they are in building trades, carpenters like Grotnes, electricians and plumbers.

    “If you need anything, just give us a call,” Myrvold said with a laugh. “You can’t call the Canadian team. All they can do is play hockey.”

    Hahaha.

    Surprisingly, attendance has been disappointing, especially in Halifax where all Canada games have been held so far.

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

    IIHF Uniform Watch

    Posted by japanstats on 2008 May 10日 Saturday

    The great, the good, and the ugly

    Canada, of course, in a money grub move have new sweaters for this IIHF 100th anniversary tournament they’re hosting at home. Other teams all have the same Nike template uniforms, which are all boring except for a couple of them. Luckily, all teams wore throwback jerseys from various eras, and they were mostly good.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in 02_English, culture, hockey, information, International, NHL, opinion | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »