Notyalcsdrawkcab’s Weblog

September 29, 2008

whale hunting and incest

Filed under: Life in Japan — notyalcsdrawkcab @ 1:38 am

this is an only in japan story … or should i call it a things you won`t see in oz story?

anyways …

turned on the telly and watched some sunday night jap tv.  there is usually a mix of variety shows, cute animals and world focus (like that sbs show global village/world village). 

recently i watched the world focus show and it showed traditional indonesian whaling.  there was this rickety old wooden boat – almost half the size of the whale.  and a wiry, vibrant old indonesian man at the front of the boat with a 3.5 metre wooden spear.  he leaps into the water and spears this shallow swimming huge whale through the heart.  first time.  the whale is dead.  they drag it home.  the happy villagers chop it up for meat and oil.  so i watched one element of indonesian culture / traditional life.  you just won`t see this on aussie tv.  even on sbs.  the aussie world view on whaling means we can`t see anything on tv about this element of other cultures. 

please note that i haven`t mentioned my own personal opinion on whaling.  the for and against has been covered and argued to hell and back.  maybe i will bring it up in another post.  but what i wanted to highlight this time was “here is something you just don`t see back at home”.

on to incest.  popped a dvd into the old ps2 (a jap flick), and got stuck watching the promos.  and one of them was an angsty, teary high school drama about high school love.  the main characters were played by suitably pretty young j-pop singer and a suitably pretty teen tv actress.  then i noticed the word “imoto” in the title of the previewed movie.  that means little sister.  no neighbours actor or aussie pop singer will ever star in a drama or movie about a brother /sister relationship.  ever.  i would even bet money on it (as an avowed non-gambler, that is something). 

nb incest is illegal in japan.  but there does seem to be more fictional material on the subject than in australia.  is the taboo (of discussing the act) weaker?  methinks so.  i don`t know about the taboo surrounding the act itself. 

only in japan?  only not in australia?  its a big old world we live in, and not everyone thinks the same way.  it is easy to forget that.

September 28, 2008

my team won … yay

Filed under: Football — notyalcsdrawkcab @ 9:31 am

yay.  queensland roar went down to melbourne.  beat a very good team.  best team of the comp so far.  goals from two of the roar`s young stars. 

and it feels all so … blegh. 

ummmm.  the coach is persisting with playing an easily knocked over import striker (who is not a centre forward) as a forward.  the guy who should be leading the line is over on the right wing.  the guy who should be on the right wing (kruse) is watching the games rather than playing in them.  charlie miller is being asked to do too much.  that old abused body is gonna break down at some point.  two run around a lot guys are being played through the middle of the park.  and they are running around a lot.  just choose one, mckay or murdocca.  not both.  tahj minniecon is the fastest guy on the team, the most disruptive element we have.  and he gets 20 minutes a game?  right now the roar start with a line up that is a journeyman`s paradise.  a lineup that screams “we are trying to not lose”.       

ummm, what is good atm?  luke de vere in the backline.  we need some speed back there.  the rest of that backline is geriatric … maybe tomorrow i will think of something good. 

not good.

September 27, 2008

blind taste testing – is expensive alcohol wasted on me?

Filed under: Life in Japan — notyalcsdrawkcab @ 11:09 am
been thinking about doing some blind taste testing for a while. finally got around to it.

walked out of the room, then my girlfriend poured two short nips of gin … one was a $9 bottle of “suntory” gin, and the other was a $16 bottle of “bombay sapphire”. (for australia just take the prices and double them …).

which was which? what differences could i notice, and could i tell them apart?

no problem telling them apart. but which one was the “nicer” drink? all i could tell was that one was more “bang!” and the other was “flatter” in terms of flavour. the bang one was more fragrant … but which was which? was the flatter drink the more expensive one? sometimes drinks are more expensive because they are smoother … or was it the bang! one. or was it more bang cos there was more industrial ethanol floating around?

i picked the flatter drink as the expensive drink, and i picked wrong. in hindsight, it was a pretty boring drink. you wouldn`t want to drink a couple for fun. chie, my wonderful assistant, could pick out some extra flavours in the bang! drink … i couldn`t.

stage 2, mixing the gin with tonic. it became hard to tell them apart. chie picked which was which, but acknowledged that they were much closer in taste with tonic. me, i couldn`t separate them. the differences were gone when they were floating around in tonic …

there was still some difference, but was it worth $9? probably. dunno if we will finish off the suntory … the first couple of drinks were ok, but it got boring. we don`t want to drink it. i might flush the remains.

did the same kinda tests with a basic blended scotch ($12) and a fancy blended scotch ($50). a lot more differences in play … the basic was kinda boring, and there weren`t any extra flavours to notice … it was nice to see how much difference there was between the fancy blended scotch and the fancy single that sit on my shelf …

ps.  due to differences in taxation, alcohol in japan is about half the price of alcohol in australia.  i can try much nicer hooch than i would at home. 

kaz patafta is just as important for aussie soccer as matt simon …

Filed under: Football — notyalcsdrawkcab @ 11:03 am

maybe not kaz patafta.  but australia needs for a midget to come along and kick ass at this soccer thing.  otherwise we`ll be stuck with our obsession with tall strong clydesdale type players who can give a kicking and take a kicking, but not produce that magic that can unlock an organised defence.  a nation of mistake free tryers.  we`ll be stuck as a good footballing nation, but never become a great one.  even worse, we`ll be one of those boring, nullifying football nations. 

so how does this come about?   instruct the refs to whistle the thugs out of the game?  maybe not.  there is this school of thought that the game should be altered so that the artistes have the protection, the time and the space to do their merry dances.  that the big bad bullies should be brought into line. 

i don`t buy it.  that feels artificial.  if beautiful football is worthy of attention, it should be capable of winning games without the help of the officials.  and i believe that it can.  the technical player has to show that there football is better than thugball on the pitch.  they need to keep standing, get up when they get kicked down, and win games against physical teams.  the recent history of arsenal vs bolton is an interesting example of this.  the pretty boys from arsenal would be near the top of the league, and pass their way through many teams, but they couldn`t beat their bogey team, bolton.  a bunch of kicking, long ball, park the bus in front of goal relegation avoiders.  but recently, arsenal learnt how to beat them.  and they didn`t have to become bolton to do it.  and they didn`t need the referees to “protect” them to start winning. 

so while patafta is sitting on the newcastle bench, we wait for our beautiful technical football saviour.  could it be his teammate song?  he`s a gun, if he could go up another level, he could be the chosen one.  zullo?  ummm, probably not.  needs to raise his game a couple of levels.  is there a midget currently playing in the a-league capable of the required amounts of awesomeness?  i hope so.

oh well, back to waiting.

September 21, 2008

matt simon is important for australian football

Filed under: Football — notyalcsdrawkcab @ 1:33 am

yup, as weird as it sounds, its true.  he`s no socceroo, but he`s the type of player you need to give depth to your player stocks. 

it would be naive to wish we had more kewell`s and vidukas.  we were lucky to have the two we had.  and we don`t know how we got them.  it probably didn`t have much to do with aussie youth development. 

but the health of the sport relies on the breadth of the playing base underneath the top level.  i wish we had developed more damian moris.  more sasho petrovskis.  you raise the sport by raising the minimum standards.  if we had more strikers like this year`s matt simon … the same holds true for other traditionally weak positions (for us aussies) – topor-stanley trying to be a left-back.  its a joke.  the wing spots. 

looking at the j-league, there is a real problem reaching the uninitiated.  the uninformed non-fan thinks that the foreigners get all the goals.  well, they do.  but the best players in the j-league are japanese.  they crank out midfielders by the dozen.  strikers?  not so much.  is it an asian thing?  china seems to have the same problem.

September 20, 2008

my next videogame

Filed under: Videogames — notyalcsdrawkcab @ 1:40 pm

just finished off a flawed, but enjoyable ghost game.  so what`s next?

i thought about grabbing a copy of “no more heroes” the trashy, unique brawler/adventure.  its on my “to play list” just because the art style is so out there. 

the orange box is another excellent choice.  also on my to play list.  my poor little laptop can just about run it.  and i will definitely be playing portal. 

a couple of new games have come out since these … all were vying for my attention.  but then i realised.  i already have my next game. 

i swapped mario and luigi; superstars in time with my friend jeremy for his copy of phoenix wright 2.  i absolutely loved no. 1, and i had no. 2 just waiting to be played.  it is easy to discount ds games (and psp games too probably).  they are portable.  they are little.  crappy graphics.  its just for the train, or lazing before you go to sleep.  but you would be doing them and disservice, and yourself too.  but if i look back over my best gaming experiences in the last two years.  there is a lot of ds in there.  the zelda ds game. professor layton.  new super mario bros.,  nintendogs, as much as i hate to admit it, ouendan. 

gaming is changing, and there is just as much fun to be had with the portables now as with the home consoles.  sometimes more. 

ps. this comes from a big screen tv freak who has a decent projector and component stereo setup.

they don`t all turn into champions …

Filed under: Football — notyalcsdrawkcab @ 12:26 am

there is this long running thread over at bigsoccer australia, “wonderkids”.

 http://www.bigsoccer.com/forum/showthread.php?t=366461

back at the end of 2005, epl4life started this thread with an overview of the following players – rostyn griffiths, kristian sarkies, cameron watson, kaz patafta, james troisi, dez giraldi, james wesolowski, adam hardy, david williams, scott jamieson and nathan coe. 

none of these guys have had an easy run since then.  hardy retired due to injuries.  giraldi has faded.  watson is in the vpl.  jamieson is trying to get back on track with a run at Adelaide – playing left back (a weak position for oz), so could get noticed quickly.  wesolowski has looked good when not injured.  troisi has flirted with the National team.  pim verbeek sees something the rest of us don`t.  weso is the player with the most solid club career … the others have had to move, or are fighting for their spot, or trying to win a spot. 

injuries, a run of bad form, being played out of position being incapable of playing multiple positions, a new coach, losing your squad spot to a better player … so many things can go wrong. 

but luckily, more players have come out of the woodwork.  there are no “wonderkids” in oz atm, but a couple of solid young players are building their club careers and becoming national team squad members.  i was hoping a talent would come along to turn us into world beaters, but it didn`t happen.  what we do have though is a slightly larger national team

djite, milligan, spiranovic, valeri are the first that come to mind.  topor-stanley, burns, holland and some others have had smaller cameos. 

and out of these players who have stepped forward, somebody will fall to the wayside.  milligan doesn`t have a club.  topor-stanley has received awful advice – because he is left-footed, he has been persuaded to play left back.  he just isn`t one. 

but thats okay, somebody else will pass them if they falter.  somebody COULD continue to develop and win a starting spot in the national team, but that is not a given.  this group will be on centre stage for the next WC campaign (2014). 

the a-league has changed the youth dev scene.  the best still go overseas young, but some stay at home and work their way up through the a-league.  ben holland.  danny vukovic.  ben kantarovski.  kruse, zullo and minniecon.  others have come back from europe to the a-league to try to get their careers back on track – jamieson, nick ward …

i`m not a big believer in the youth league.  it could be another avenue for late bloomers, but the best should be playing in the a-league proper.  kantarovski is 16 and he has started in the a-league.

September 19, 2008

can i have the first 60 minutes i spent watching the roar vs the jets back?

Filed under: Football — notyalcsdrawkcab @ 3:54 pm

hmmmm, dire, dire stuff.  perhaps the disjointedness of the roar`s passing and the consequent deeper position of the roar defence stopped the jets from scoring earlier.  usually the roar do all that pretty passing and commit forward only for the opponent to counter and score.  this time they couldn`t cos they were too busy being crap. 

the game opened up in the final 20.  but then the jets scrambled the ball into the net from a corner put the bal in the net.  and it was 3 points for the jets and 0 for the roar. 

who is looking the goods?  reinaldo.  bearing in mind that if he had a footballing brain, well, he wouldn`t be in the a-league.  zullo.  looked very sharp for mine.  minniecon.  a finished product he ain`t, but how`s that for a turn of speed?  miller.  class.  it is a bit scary relying on someone whose body could break down anytime.  and maybe murdocca.  maybe.

who should be on a bench?  van dyk – he isn`t gonna hit 10 goals in this league.  mackay – just looked an angry little man today.  mckay and murdocca is starting to like an “or” rather than an “and” proposition. 

whats the thinking with minniecon coming on so late?  just get him on the field and let him run at people.  being tired or not tired doesn`t make much difference to a tony popovic`s speed.  he`ll skin him either way.  yeah, he needs to learn how to stay on his feet.  and the ability to change direction (or even a pass or two) would make him more complete.  but, if he had these features, he wouldn`t be in the a-league; he woulda got snatched up much by the euro leagues already.

right now the season is headed for a 5th or 6th place finish.  so why not let the kiddies play?  zullo on the left, kruse on the right, minniecon at inside right – supporting reinaldo at the top.  charlie setting the tempo in the middle.  with tiatto as the holding and murdocca or mckay buzzing around.  they have an unpredictability that might jag a 4th spot.  or at least be more entertaining.   

and all this talk about how roar dominate at home, but lose or draw there … it makes it sound like there is no rational reason for the results.  when in fact, the roar`s finishing is the problem.  or one of the problems, but this is the problem i wanna talk about at the moment.  defence is an important part of the game.  passing is an important part of the game.  so is finishing.  right now it doesn`t matter how many shots the roar take on goal.  the finishing is awful.  by not acknowledging that it is a problem, you avoid fixing it.

September 17, 2008

the day i “got” baseball

Filed under: Life in Japan — notyalcsdrawkcab @ 3:57 am
i`m aussie. we don`t love baseball. we have some okay players. but as a nation. we don`t get it.

but last week. i got it. watched the last 3 innings of a high school game on tv, and it was fantastic.

high school baseball is huge in japan. why is it huge? it is more innocent than pro ball. there is a knockout tournament to decide the national champion. there are stacks of famous manga about the little guy becoming a champion. people love their high schools. so many reasons.

it was naruto versus honjo. N was leading 2 – 1, but something about H just looked liked they were the stronger team. H`s pitcher was kicking arse. 8th inning, he just kept on sending down strikes. then in the 9th inning he made the hit that made the score 3 – 2 to H. then it was N`s turn to bat, and i figured they were finished. they had half as many hits as H, and i figured they had to crumble.

but then H`s star pitcher walked to mound, and just self – destructed. he couldn`t get his radar right. and then when he did put the ball in the strike zone, it was too slow. this pitcher who could do no wrong in the 8th became vulnurable. and i think the turning point was when his coach told him to walk the other teams star batter … then it was game over.

he had run out of gas, and the N batters just belted the ball … the last hit of the match, one of the H outfielders got under the ball, but with all the pressure he fluffed the catch. not that it mattered. there was only one out, and a guy was running through to home base for the win anyway. two teams gave their all. but someone had to lose. and it looked like it really really hurt. victory was sweet. BUT the job isn`t finished, they have a couple more knockout games to win first.

don`t know how much of that made sense. i still don`t know what is going on fully.

but the pressure, the excitement … it was just great tv.

still don`t know if i want to sit through a full match, but for 3 innings, i was a fan.

September 16, 2008

winners are grinners and nobody remembers the losers … or do they?

Filed under: Football — notyalcsdrawkcab @ 12:05 am

just read an interesting phil micallef piece over at the sbs site.  that teams will use ugly football to win, nobody remembers second place, and that ugly football is here to stay.  i`ve already given my thoughts earlier on how most of the style wars debate is illusory and misguided. 

but, for better or for worse.  not all winners are equal.  there are two ways that winners get knocked down. 

the real madrid team that just worked and believed its way to back to back league titles is worthy of respect, but pretty unloveable.  given the financial advantages that they have over most teams in their league, they should be winning titles regularly.  if happiness is the exceeding of expectations, then real madrid fans can`t be happy.  they may actually be disappointed by the workman like nature of these last two titles.  whereas a fan of any other team (excepting barcelona) would give their left nut (or ovary) to have their team “work” their way to back to back titles. 

greece, and to a lesser extent, porto fc.  greece won the euro by packing the midfield, stultifying the game, and somehow finding a goal.  usually off a set piece.  if this is the future of football, count me out.  only a true believer could love this team.  a casual watcher won`t get it.  also, by its one off nature, this win is discounted by many.  a fluke. 

rangers got to last year`s uefa cup final playing a football that noone cared for.  but against the talent and financial clout of their opponents – it was the optimal style for this team.  but if they had won it, only rangers fans would have cared.  and maybe celtic fans.  the rest of the world would have shrugged and moved on. 

and what is “winning”?  the world cup would be pretty boring if it was just about the winners.  especially the last winners.  nothing against italy, but they make the current real madrid team look like a bunch of artists.  i find the world cup has some interesting similarities with “american idol”.  the first rounds are interesting as joke contestants crop up, waiting to be embarressed.  the middle rounds gather the most interest, as interested viewers wait to see what diamonds in the rough have been found.  the final rounds lack a bit of ooomph, as they are more polished.  the business end.  whilst gripping, more joy can be found in the middle rounds.  of both contests. 

our last involvement at the world cup was a “win”.  exceeded expectations, and a style that neutrals could appreciate.  will our next trip be a win?  we need to get away from the idea that not going to the world cup is a failure, nor that being there is enough.

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