Notyalcsdrawkcab’s Weblog

November 28, 2008

ruminations on australia vs japan february 11 2009, especially about nissan stadium and seating – now with stadium views

Filed under: Football, Life in Japan — notyalcsdrawkcab @ 11:45 pm

heading off to get my tickets tomorrow from a nearby town (100km away) where they have a family mart convenience store (this chain is selling advance tickets, the rest get released a week later). 

but i finally finished my research on the tickets and the stadium.  my kind woman finished researching the tickets and the stadium … and i don`t have any more things to ask her. 

first off – more expensive isn`t always better.  unless you have a car you want to drive to the game, you probably don`t need a premium level ticket.  a premium (16,000 yen) is a category 1 ticket with a car space, a cool blanket, and a bento box (lunch type meal).  cat 1 (8000 yen) is the first level sideline seating.  cat 2 (6000 yen) is the 2nd tier sideline seating.  cat 3 and 4 are the corner seating and behind the goal posts. 

i have decided i want to watch the game from the main stand.  with a sideline view.  but now the only question is, do i go for the first tier, to be closer to the game, but have a worse viewing angle, or do i go to the 2nd tier, and be looking down on the play a bit (should be nicer to watch) but be further away from the action?  either way, you will be away from the action …

yokohama is a great place.  i really like it.  something about the harbour area is pretty.  and the chinatown is a blast to go through.  but i am not liking what i have seen so far about nissan stadium.  its a multipurpose stadium with an athletics track around the edge of the playing field.  i may even think about bring some binoculars.  it looks very well taken care of, and the access to transport looks good, and it seats 72,000 fan in safety and comfort.  but i wish they had chosen to play the game at the biggest football stadium in the area instead …

then i`d probably miss out on tickets cos it only holds 40 or 50 k …

after rambling like this … my gut is saying 2nd floor. 

ps.  if we play like we did against bahrain, i`ll happily cheer for my second team, the blue samurai.  maybe its a cultural thing, but the japanese just get on with their football.  no whinging in public.  i thought they had some very valid complaints after that game against us in germany, but all i heard was “congrats.  good win.” 

pss.  i am one of those terribly modern fans who cares more about the football played than about their team …

psss.  ground views from nissan stadium

my tickets!

other views


November 26, 2008

have now reached complete nerdy foreigner status …

Filed under: Life in Japan — notyalcsdrawkcab @ 11:41 pm

live in japan.  check.  japanese partner. check.  enjoy being an outsider (my family is Aboriginal – so i am used to being an outsider even back home in Oz).  check.  play videogames.  check.  read manga.  check.  watch anime. check.  know who “morning musume” are.  check. 

the only thing missing was being into a martial art.  but now i have been going to an aikido dojo for almost a year.  i now meet every stereotype of the nerdy otaku foreigner living in japan. 

aikido – the hippy`s martial art.  heh, it fits me.  i don`t think i am tough.  don`t particularly want to damage anyone.  and the school is friendly.  i don`t think its the best martial art or anything.  i just knew people who do it, and a lot of foreigners come to shingu to practice (so i guess it must be a good school?) …

i was kinda nervous when i started, and i just started losing that anxiety now.  and getting my head around the moves was really difficult at first – now it seems much simpler to follow and understand others movements.  two central ideas seem to be very good for me, relax your shoulders and move from your centre of gravity; i always felt kind of awkward and top heavy before, so this training seems to be helping my general movement.  i was very surprised at my last soccer match – rainy day on a plastic pitch … i am sure i would have lost my footing before.  this time, no problems. 

now that i have confirmed my general weird foreigner status, i feel more comfortable.  i can start going to akb48 concerts, and maid cafes and stuff … cos i can`t get any uncooler.  feel like wearing a pink panda beanie?  i can just do it.

monkey man

Filed under: Life in Japan — notyalcsdrawkcab @ 11:24 pm
monkey man is, imho, a tres cool rolling stones song off the `let it bleed` album … i don`t think it was a hit, but after playing the album a bit, mainly for `gimme shelter` and `you can`t always get what you want`, it started to grow on me. `love in vain` is just awful, awful proof that the stones were not bluesmen.

but thats another story …

there`s a lot of old people who go to the beach where i like to train. at first i liked it when people came up to chat, but now its annoying.

a chance to practice japanese and be friendly now feels like being a circus animal to be prodded and stared at. i expect to be paid when i act like a circus animal. i don`t jump through flaming hoops for free.

yesterday some old guy came up to me, asked how tall i was, and walked off. what?

funny japanese tv

Filed under: Life in Japan — notyalcsdrawkcab @ 11:22 pm
am currently watching a funny as hell jap tv show. as i write this.

ok, its a comedy contest. there are famous comedians and up and comers. they are in front of a live audience. they have to perform in 5 different comedy genres (1 minute each), eg. with props, silently …

5 people in the audience are chosen at random. if the comedian can get 3 of these people to laugh. they pass that genre. for the final stage, they have to make all 5 audience members laugh. the final round prize is $10,000. if you fail at the first stage, you get $1.

2 famous comedians just failed at the $1 stage.

its kinda strange, a suspense builds up, as you not only watch the comedians, but also the 5 random audience members.

very cool. why can`t we do this kind of stuff in oz?

November 19, 2008

a lucky win against bahrain?

Filed under: Football — notyalcsdrawkcab @ 11:50 pm

well, yes.  yes and no.  football is a cold hearted bitch.  be a bit boring if the richer team always won.  or the team with more talent.  we could just turn on football manager and hand out trophies based on that if it was.   

you don`t get points for the number of shots you take.  hitting the post is worth the same as hitting the corner flag.  and the “better”  team doesn`t always win.  but what is “better”?

a year or two back i saw an arsenal vs cska moscow game and had a personal epiphany.  arsenal kept the ball, took 50 shots or something, and lost 1 or 2 nil.  arsenal weren`t the better team.  they were toothless.  absolutely toothless.  about as useful as a ferrari with the brakes taken out.  somebody even missed an open goal from 4 yards out.  cska weren`t lucky.  they were the team who put their chances away.  all 2 of them. 

from what i saw of the highlights, bahrain will be kicking themselves for not taking 3 points.  and for giving us the opportunity to take 3points.  for all that wonderful attack and approach play, they didn`t put the ball in the net.  i think because australians are usually bad finishers, we are more forgiving of teams that “play well” but that don`t put the ball in the net.  BUT “putting the ball in the net” is a part of “playing well”. 

of course, looking ahead, we will want to defend better than we did, keep the ball the ball better than we did, and create more chances than we did.  a more clinical opponent would have won 3 nil.  at least. 

thanks schwarz.  most important socceroo atm?  in games like these he is.

Australia at the 2014 world cup?

Filed under: Football — notyalcsdrawkcab @ 3:56 am

eamonn ran a post awhile ago, positing that are not going to 2014.  possible?  yes.   

i think we`ll get there, but we won`t turn any heads at the big event. 

i see a less talented, but more organised Australia team in the future.  it`ll be just as athletic as now, and more players will have better basic technique.   and more positional smarts.  less exciting, but more composed.  no more heroes – no harry, no dukes, no timmy. 

there are problems though.  too many guys are sitting on benches.  carl valeri got it very right going to grosseto.  spira at nuremberg?  looking good.  adrian leijer?  david williams?  wrong choices.  picking guys like sterjovski and carney for the NT sends a wrong message.  if guys want to play for the NT, they should be playing regularly, whatever level league their team plays in.  i am hoping that the 2014 NT is composed of players who play regularly for their clubs. 

a handful of guys playing regularly in minor euroleagues, some euroleague bench players who get some time in league matches and cup matches,  plus another couple starting regularly in the j-league.  and the rest made up of the best of the a-league … that should get us to the world cup. 

eddy bosnar will probably be joined by travis dodd soon in the j-league … that 4th AFC import spot should see a couple more aussies join up. 

the quality of the a-league is paramount … if it goes up, we have a better talent base, and a better shop window for young talent.   

i think next year`s asian cup campaign (mainly non fifa dates) will give us a good idea of what that less talented, non-magical future looks like.

i am also hoping that there is peace between the FFA and the states by 2014, with a cleanup of state level admin (so grassroots is getting value for money), and a geographically smaller second tier national comp (without promotion relegation), that can be a home for old soccer teams left out in the cold currently – strikers, knights, etc etc and more love shown to futsal, and a growing women`s league. 

course, it could all go so very wrong … but this is what i hope for


my metroid prime 3

Filed under: Videogames — notyalcsdrawkcab @ 12:30 am

yes, this game came out years ago … or at least it feels that way. 

but i feel like talking about it.  recently, the wii hasn`t been getting used as much.  i gorged on mario galaxy, and mariokart, play a soccer game every now and then, but team fortress 2 on pc was getting most of my gaming love. 

but then i decided to take another look at metroid prime 3.  i wanted to see how good it looked compared to what my year old laptop can do (for portal and tf2), and i wanted to compare (for myself) keyboard mouse versus wiimote nunchuck. 

i didn`t complete everything first time, but i finished the story.  i am walking through it again, on normal settings with the fastest turning time.  and i remembered some things i had forgotten. 

first, how glad i was when this game came out.  a big, brassy sci-fi game on Wii?  a hobbyist game?  yes please.  i`d just finished with chocobo tales, which was fun, but very lightweight … beautiful art, interesting story (eh, kinda)… unfortunately it also has some cheap respawning and lightweight attempts at tension (the base is falling apart etc, but i know nothing will happen till the i press the big red button or whatever) …

did i mention the beautiful artdesign and the fact that it is a hobbyist(for gamers) game?  loved it first time, still loving it.  i chose to play through on normal (easy) rather than on hard, maybe cos i am not that kind of player.  i felt like just strolling through the game world, rather than dieing 10 times in every boss fight. 

loving it.

ummm, the controls.  both feel fine for me, keyboard mouse or wiimote nunchuck.  both are a notch above twin analogue sticks for me … (a while back i played “black” on ps2, just after playing resi 4 on wii, and i didn`t want to fiddle with twin sticks anymore.  i would buy black on wii pretty quickly if they made it). 

a curious question is why they didn`t make more shooters on wii.  metroid isn`t a true shooter, its a puzzle adventure wrapped up in a shooter.  the next thing on wii is the conduit, or red steel 2.  that is a long time between shooters … did they not make a metroid multiplayer because it wasn`t fun?  what`S going on here?  if someone made a wiimote nunchuk combo for 360 or ps3 that worked with any game (resistance, halo etc) i would jump on that methinks.  but are they not doing it because it actually isn`t fun?  hmmmmm…. curious.

i didn`t get curious about medal of honour wii, even if it has online multiplayer.  nintendo doesn`t really get the internet yet.  i use steam for some tf2, i can see servers, number of players, ping times … i can join groups, add friends, use voice … this is what i want.  they may eventually get up to scratch … but they aren`t there yet.

November 17, 2008

if i was frank farina …

Filed under: Football — notyalcsdrawkcab @ 3:44 am

hahaha, but i`m not.  just another football manager 2009 wanabee who doesn`t know jack. 

but after reading a cool article over at the roar deal, i started imagining …

i kinda wonder whether it is worth perservering with either of dodd or grossman as the anchor, cos danny tiatto just flies off the handle too much for my liking.  wonderful footballer, which just makes it even more of a pity.  i see danny on the pitch, i see a red card just waiting to happen.

a couple of tweaks and i think the team looks pretty nice.  some nice changes have already been made.  mass playing wider on the right.  mundy at right back (despite being a centreback, he`s added value there.  for mine, de vere has to play.  good value. 

add zullo at wide left and you have a nice stretched out field.  tahj in behind smits.  smits is out of his depth, but matt simon was too in his first year.  lacking in power and confidence, but in the melbourne game, muscat tried to knock him off the ball and came off second best once or twice.  and he stays around the box.  he could turn useful later.  zullo and tahj would definitely add to the goal scoring threat. 

course, i would love to see even more radical change … mundy, de vere and mcloughan/moore (best wishes craig) in a back three, mass and zullo as wingbacks with the run of the whole flank.  smits and tahj up front, then miller, mckay and dodds/griffin/nichols/seoorsomebody else in the middle of the park.  don`t really want to see packer or seo on the pitch any more (at least not seo as a fullback).  yeah, its all a bit of nooby fanboy fantasy, but that`s what the internet is for, isn`t it?



Filed under: Football, Life in Japan — notyalcsdrawkcab @ 1:09 am

yesterday, got my first goal in a real match. 

its been a long time coming.  started about a year ago, on and off with a social team.  they don`t play in a league, but they do matches twice a month against other local teams.  i don`t really have much to compare it to, having not played at home.  but they seem pretty good.  we keep the ball.  short, simple passes.  lots of small, fit, quick players who don`t stop moving.  and everyone seems to have a good touch and  good technique.  a backline that stays pretty high, with the ball and without it.  and its social.  there is room for everyone.  your`e not that good?  come have a run anyway.  a couple of the guys ain`t great, but they play within their skills and contribute to the team despite that.  and we need everyone.  we play 3 or 4 sets of 40 minute games, so the subs are needed.  a couple of the guys bring their sons.  one is 13 and another 15 i think.  they get a run. 

as a complete noob, i was definitely one of the guys getting carried when i was on the field.  but i have a bit of speed, and that was useful sometimes.  now, i have left that group, kinda, and am between them and our top players (in terms of usefulness).   

the facilities we use are excellent, an indoor half field with artificial grass, and a full field with artificial grass.  yesterday it rained all night, and was raining when we played, but it all just drains away.  played rugby on grass, and yes, a beautiful grass pitch is better.  but you don`t need to water the plastic, and you don`t need the groundsman to do so much upkeep, and you don`t damage it playing in the wet.  last year we used a dirt field (no grass, just a patch of dirt), which was actually pretty nice, but any rain and you can`t play.

i started playing left midfield, more because there is less defensive responsibility than anything i think.  then once they were comfortable i went to right back, where i could help out with covering.  and depending on who the centre backs were each week, i would play right back or right mid.  the less vocal centrebacks liked to use the regular right winger at right back, cos he`s more experienced and they don`t have to talk to him so much.  this guy rocks.  he`s my senpai (like senior/big brother? kinda).  back when i started playing i spent a lot of time on the bench, and he would go up to the coach and say like “hey, is clayton playing the next half, he`s starting, isn`t he?”.  and he explained a lot of things about the game to me, both on the field and off it. 

ok, this week.  i started at left back.  we took on a very smooth, very slick team on a wet pitch.  we usually don`t get outpassed/outskilled.  but they made us look pretty bad in the first 20 minutes.  we couldn`t keep the ball, usually on the backfoot.  and they made 2 really easy goals.  1st one was my fault (yay!)  i shoulda been helping my closest centreback with his striker, but i was in line with their winger (who was gonna overlap, but was pretty deep at the time).  it wasn`t all bad though.  i helped cover a couple of their counters.  brought the ball into attack a couple of times.  i started our best attack of the first 20 minutes (i thought).  came in from the left with the ball, passed it to the attacking mid, and he set up one of the strikers for a decent shot.  it felt cool cos i kinda put the ball in the best spot for the attacking mid, he could turn and take the ball at speed, and then he did the same thing for the striker.  i think it was our best movement; at the break, the coach said “what`s going on? simple passes.  make simple passes.  this is too fancy.  ok, that movement from clayton to (i forgot his name) to ken was good, but don`t be fancy all the time.” 

aaargh!  i have this fixation with playing on the left.  i want to be 2 footed.  in basketball i can dribble with either, so i want to have the same skills in soccer.  but as a leftback, i continually cut in.  i never once attacked the line.  part of it is my rightfootedness, but also there was a huge space to the right.  it was a vacuum just waiting to be filled.  in training, i can attack the sideline, playing left of right wide.  but in a game, its “go right”.  still trying to get my hardwiring sorted i guess. 

i was benched for the next 20min (only a couple of people don`t rest).  i came on for the next though, and, to my surprise, i was up top.  i think the captain decided to give me a crack there because i was bringing the ball up well from left back, and most of my passes were useful.  i think my work up top was more useful than everyone was expecting.  i backheeled the ball into the net in a goal mouth scramble (but the ball had just crossed the byline before the guy cut it in … grrrr, a backheel as a first goal would have been pretty cool).  umm, i hassled the other team into an own goal.  i got past my marker, but he eventually caught me and got the ball.  but i stayed on my feet and hassled him.  then he made a poor pass to another defender, and i was getting close and that guy backpassed to where he thought his goalkeeper was.  and it slowly rolled into the net.  it was a bit embarressing really.  golden retriever play.  but i guess a goal is a goal.  then we got into the match.  now, my goal.  a cross at speed from the right back (my senpai) and i just had to jump forward and stick my leg out.  the keeper is coming, but he is too slow.  the ball boings off my leg.  goal.  everyone was happy for me, to get my first.  what else was useful … hmmm, post passes to my midfielders, that seemed pretty effective.  they lost their markers pretty much everytime using that one.  eventually i started asking for the ball behind the defenders.  that was dangerous.  and just taking up space in the middle when we were attacking.  my size gives the defenders another thing to think about (dunno how to use it yet, but they don`t know that), and gives my teammates a target.  ummm, the misses.  sidefooted a shot into a defenders leg.  another time i passed when i should have shot.  and the pass got intercepted.  and a couple of times i was a couple of feet from where the ball bobbled to. 

some of the forward work reminded me of netball.  and that is not an insult.  you drift towards your marker, get moving, tell your midfield where you want the ball.  then attack that space.  and the post play also felt similar. 

i am really happy that i have found such a great environment (good style of play, friendly people) to learn how to play the world game.  some time next year, me and my girlfriend will leave the countryside and move closer to tokyo or osaka.  i will miss some things about the countryside, but i am looking forward to week in, week out soccer.

November 11, 2008

why i teach english in japan

Filed under: Football — notyalcsdrawkcab @ 11:28 am

sometimes family or friends or students ask me what i am doing over here in japan, working in a children focused conversation school.  sometimes i wonder myself. 

i don`t need to be here.  6 years of government policy and contracting experience in canberra and brisbane, a law degree, a law school degree and a masters of law … some of my friends are now associates in law firms, mid level managers in the public service, engineers. 

and i can do the hokey pokey really really well. 

i teach english because … hmmm, because i wanted to live in japan, but also because i wasn`t happy with my public service career. 

first, living in japan.  cheaper living, with better food, on part time work (with several free mornings).  less aggro on the streets at nighttime.  really beautiful countryside where i live.  being close to one cool city (osaka) and one truly international city (tokyo), building up language skills, having access to so many interesting comics, anime, videogames … girlfriend is from here. 

my public service career, 2 years working in the queensland public service, bouncing between contracts, not getting the permanent position i craved, not finding many positions that interested me … couldn`t think of a reason to stay. 

one interesting comparison between the teaching work i do now and the government stuff i did before.  my current work is much simpler, but i have greater autonomy.  i make the lessons.  i manage the class.  i decide how to run it, and what to study.  if i feel like yelling.  i do.  hell, i have even hit the table.  told kids to leave the room.  its pretty rare, but i have done it.  whereas in government, i was always the most junior member of the team.  always changing things to suit my manager, then to suit his manager … and managing upwards.  coaxing managers to my position, or giving up my positions when i had to.  i got to work on some really interesting stuff though – foreign aid, indigenous policy in queensland, economic policy …

eventually though, i figure i will have to go back home.  but i don`t want to leave quickly.  i like my current lifestyle too much.  teaching is kinda tenuous.  you don`t see too many older language teachers around.  and you don`t earn super, so either i go without a pension or I self-fund out of my salary … i want my super, and i want a job where you can grow old.  i figure i can stay for another 2 years.  maybe 3.   

but friday morning i will be out on the road on my bicycle, and i will head up the sleepy mountain road where i have seen monkeys and deer, and i will look down on this amazing view.  and everything will be right with the world.

+p.s. teaching english in japan is an entertainment industry as well as an educational one.  i am getting paid to be an entertainer?  love it.  some days i laugh my head off, and so do my students.

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