Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Kawasaki Frontare 3, Urawa Reds 1

Urawa Reds vs Kawasaki Frontare
It was a relatively quiet weekend, doing wedding planning and such. Got my hands on a demo iPhone for the first time, and later saw two teammates with their own. It seems demand has remained strong. My friend Doug had to wait in line from 7am until 10am (when the store opened) and then another hour+ inside the store to get his. I saw a sign on the door to a minor Softbank shop in Ikebukuro giving notice that they would receive a shipment of 20 more units the following day, but that no one would be allowed to line up before midnight. Furthermore they weren't taking reservations as they didn't know when the next shipment would arrive. So far Softbank is the only Japanese carrier offering the phones.

I also made a brief visit to Akihabara which was great as always. I went to buy some specific cables for our KVM setup at work, cables that I couldn't find at either of the huge mainstream shops I checked. After getting that taken care of and wishing I had some project in which I could utilize the myriad plastic gears, pulleys, and assorted bits and bobs, I happened upon the new Asus Eee 900 PC. I had been eagerly awaiting its release, and it met my expectations. Weighing less than 1kg it still showed decent speed and the keyboard wasn't unusably small. I also located a kit for replacing the battery in my old iPod, another project in the works. On my way out I also passed by the temporary memorial where people had left offerings to the victims of the deadly attack last month.

On Monday, a holiday (Marine Day) I went with seven teammates to watch the J-League soccer match between the Urawa Reds (top ranked in their division) and the Kawasaki Frontare (ranked 6th). This was the first time I had attended a professional soccer game and definitely enjoyed the experience. Our seats were JPY2,500 each and were located way in the back of the home side. The view still seemed fine. The Reds, who are known for their rowdy (by Japanese standards) fans, dominated the first 15 minutes of the game, capitalizing on a defensive slip by Frontare to score the first goal after a near miss off the crossbar. Frontare stepped up their offense after that and traded possession evenly with the Reds until tying the score at the end of the first half. The second half opened with Frontare dominating the field and scoring two more goals to crush their opponents.

It was good to watch soccer again, something I hadn't done since the last world cup. The temperature was lovely in the open air, half roofed stadium as the game began at 6pm. The highlight for me though was that they let you bring in your own food and drink! I've never heard of a venue like this in the US. The only wrinkle was that beer in cans had to be emptied into paper cups they provided. The also conducted a cursory search of our bags on the way in. I packed in freshly boiled edamame, home popped popcorn, and frozen grapes which were all consumed with gusto by my companions (and me).

After I returned home I discovered Minako freaking out over a large cockroach in our apartment. It has been brutally hot and humid here for the past two weeks, apparently bringing out the bugs. This was the first one I'd seen since moving in a couple months ago. I eradicated it, but managed to sprain the thumb on my throwing hand in the process. Hopefully it'll be less sore by the time pickup rolls around on Wednesday.

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