Friday, December 08, 2006


How to win football tournaments

Well, we won the Awaji football tournament for the third time on the bounce; here's my condensed report. It wasn't always a triumph for football, though...

Having managed the team to a breath-taking victory in June with a heady combination of derring-do and negligence, I was back amongst the rank and file for this one. Better still, I went out on the Friday night, for a couple of drinks with the other members of the New Year Korea expedition. A couple became a deluge, two of us bounced to another bar, Korean plans were left scarcely any further forward than they'd been at the beginning of the evening and the 50-odd pairs of chopsticks I stole from the bar (plus the service bell) left me with scant consolation on Saturday morning when I awoke to the realisation that I'd only had three hours of sleep ahead of the football tournament that I'd been in the gym a couple of times a week for the past three months preparing for.

Not the most auspicious of starts.

Now no longer the manager, I still retained my position as janken counselor to the team captain, Gamble. To elucidate this, it's worth mentioning that we have to play "paper, scissors, stone" (or janken to those of us familiar with vintage Sega game, Alex Kidd in Miracle World) before every game in lieu of the coin toss favoured in England.

This is one of the primary reasons we've been so successful in recent years: thanks to a brief scrutiny and psychoanalytical evaluation of the opposition (based on choice of kit colour, history of results between our teams, demeanour and attitude, etc), I can usually come up with a winning janken strategy around 70% of the time.

And here, my dear readers, I bequeath my wisdom unto you, to do with it as you will.

Dan's basic guide to janken mentality, sponsored by Watami and Aquarius Sports Drink:

Opponent who is likely to choose stone

Often macho, but unintelligent. May suffer from abandonment issues, leaving them with a driving urge to prove themselves. If your opponent is born under the sign of Aries, you've got a pretty good chance. Unfortunately, it's pretty difficult to ascertain your opponent's star sign without putting him on his guard.

Opponent who is likely to choose paper

Quite the reverse of the above: Whilst stoners will often have regulation short hair and a dark kit, these guys will generally play in lighter kit and, whilst the above will do a rigorous warm up, more for the sake of intimidating the opposition than anything else, paper users will appear much more diffident, relaxed and jokey. If we look at academic background, paper users are far more likely to have an arts-related degree or a language than stoners, who generally studied something manly like engineering in the vain Oedipal hope of supplanting their father in their mother's affections.

Opponent who is likely to choose scissors

A bit of a sod to pick. Basically, they form the third point of a human triangle, of which the other two points have already been described above. Basic weakness is vanity. If you get the impression that your opponent feels too manly for paper but is too much of an intellectual snob to bother with stone, you may well have found a scissor hands.

Of course, whilst the guidelines above will take you into the foothills of janken eminence, if you want to scale the lofty peak of true janken mastery, there are also times when you either have to Gamble on luck, ahahahaha, or just be a bit of a bastard.

Prior to kick off, Mr Craig Gamble, captain of Real Osaka, jogs over to where Dan is hawkishly scanning the opposition

GAMBLE: What are we going here?

DAN: I'm having a bit of a hard time reading this lot, so here's what I want you to do: just as you pull your hand up before the final blow, I want you to open it up suddenly to paper, then close it to stone again as you bring it down.

Gamble looks suitably awed at my devious nature. 30 seconds later, our team is crossing over the halfway line to play the first half with a gale-force wind at our backs.

DAN: It worked then?


Sadly, Gamble chose to resign his captaincy after the first game of the second day, citing (somewhat vocally) footballing differences with our manager, Tricky, who can best be described in team management terms as a bit of a latter-day Oliver Cromwell.

And said Tricky, having initially made me walk down a touchline to see if I was sober enough to play, ha bloody ha, then bestowed the vacant captaincy upon me.

Hence, my rather fetching armband and air of calm authority in this photo.

Of course, with such a splendid captain the trophy was as good as won. I swept aside my puny janken opponents in the semi-final and the final to leave my record over the weekend at 100%, and we won the final 3-0, prompting wild indifference from those worthy souls who hadn't gone home by this stage.


After our victory sesh in the Outback Steakhouse, I hopped across to Kyobashi to call in on a sayonara party for one of my old managers. Naturally, I was full of my janken exploits and some unworthy doubters called upon me to prove myself.

ADAM: Well I always choose the same thing. What do you think it is?

Brief thought: too smart to dirty his hands with stone; too worried about looking like a homosexual to use paper.

DAN: Scissors.

He concedes gracefully.


So, Adam is a scissors man, eh? Congratulations on captainhood, victory, and 100% janken accuracy. Oh, and I'm totally adding, "If you get the impression... you may well have found a scissor hands." as one of my favorite quotations on Facebook (like MySpace, but better.)
Congrats! Your analysis of janken is quite impressive, but seems to be applicable only to the male half of the species. The challenge: Can you figure out the womenfolk?
Nah, wouldn't even try.

To know your opponent you have to be your opponent; a bridge too far in this case.

PS. if anyone feels the urge to deride my claims to masculinity in this comment, please at least try to make it witty.
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