Friday, September 28, 2007


Coventry, la la la...

Sir Alex Ferguson has chanced his luck with weakened teams in the Carling Cup before and emerged unscathed, but Coventry City's "Mosquito" left him feeling the painful consequences of his latest first-team tinkering as Iain Dowie's team claimed the scalp of the Premier League champions with two goals from their Maltese forward, Michael Mifsud.

Mifsud, nicknamed Mosquito by the Coventry assistant manager, Tim Flowers, for his frenetic style of play, scored a goal in either half as Ferguson's collection of youngsters and fringe players fell victim to lower-league opposition at Old Trafford for the first time since York City triumphed 3-0 at the ground in the same competition 12 years ago.

Mifsud's Maltese magic sends United's young stars crashing
The Guardian, Thursday September 27, 2007


Superb stuff. It made the back page of the Yomiuri as well, which is probably the first for the Sky Blues since 1987.


Thursday, September 27, 2007


Msg found in a bottle

The empire is lost: bloated and flabby from the years that were too, too easy, incapable of defending itself, now it is ripe for slaughter.

The wolves are howling at the gates. We have nowhere to run.



Friday, September 21, 2007



Yesterday, I ran down from school on my break to the TV shop by the station. Reason being, it's Susmo time again and my favourite rikishi, Ama, was in action against the surprise tournament leader, Goeido.

This is a long video clip and the action starts at around the 7-minute-mark. Watch out for the grandstand finish.

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Thursday, September 20, 2007


Facebook photos

Rightio readers, I'm going to be putting links to my facebook albums in the bar on the right from now on, so even non-facebook folks can enjoy the foolery.

Thus far, we have:

Real Osaka

Independence Day

Brendan & Milly's wedding


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Monday, September 17, 2007


Godless tinkering, as usual

After the mighty Real Osaka handed out a complete bum-whipping to Murphys last week, I shunned tactical beers with the Real management in favour of a trip to a bath house with the vanquished opposition.

I'm a big fan of the Japanese-style bathing routine: showering yourself spotless then soaking in any one of a variety of tubs. There's hot, way too hot, dead cold and... hang on a minute... electricity?!

There it was: a small, unused tub in the corner with the kanji denki (electricity) on the sign. I queried a more experienced bather.

"Yeah, it's a little uncomfortable at first, but it's really good."

Although I don't consider myself traditional in many respects, I have to say that I've never questioned the age-old wisdom that water plus electricity equals bad. Nevertheless, when my companion entered the tub and failed to burst into flames I was suitably reassured.

In I got.

The best that can be said about it is: weird. The worst that can be said is that I felt like I was being knuckle-punched in the kidneys.

I emerged after another uniquely Japanese experience- a bit like that time I ate Sea Cucumber. Not tremendously good, but unavailable in less enlightened countries (and by enlightened, I mean barmy.)

The obvious question: how exactly did they find the right balance of water and electricity? Or, another way to ask the same question would be: how many burning chimps exited the room via the ceiling before they got it sorted?


Friday, September 14, 2007


The Princess Di Inquest, according to Sal

If it doesn’t prove a) she was pregnant b) she had cocaine in her blood stream, it is a whitewash. This was known by journalists within 48 hours and I’ve seen nothing to contradict it. They have had a Di-fest here with loads of pictures of the last few days of her life and she looks noticeably pregnant in her bikini. Plus she kept saying that she was going to release news which would really shock people. If only she had been a bit more specific, she might be alive, with a 10 year old kid.

And that, readers, is the view of an award-winning journalist.



The 1480s

On the offchance that Big Brother's parlous financial situation prevented them from paying us today, here's a few 80s-themed classics for sombre comrades sitting on their tatami and contemplating the Matsuoka option.

Spitting Image: The Chicken Song

Marco Van Basten's decisive goal in the Euro 88 semi final against West Germany. Try to ignore the whoopsy tune: I remember this one hitting the net and me and my dad jumping off the sofa in delight. I think Grandad would have jumped about too if it hadn't been for his knee.

The song that first made me a fan of Kate Bush. Video loses most of its pathos when you realise that the husband is Captain Darling out of Blackadder Goes Forth.

Girlfriend in a coma, i know
i know - it's serious
girlfriend in a coma, i know
i know - it's really serious
There were times when i could
have "murdered" her
(but you know, i would hate
anything to happen to her)

no, i don't want to see her

do you really think
she'll pull through ?
do you really think
she'll pull through ?
do you?

girlfriend in a coma, i know
i know - it's serious
my, my, my, my, my, my baby, goodbye

there were times when i could
have "strangled" her
(but you know, i would hate
anything to happen to her)
would you please
let me see her !

do you really think
she'll pull through ?
do you really think
she'll pull through ?
do you?

let me whisper my last goodbyes
i know - it's serious


Wednesday, September 05, 2007


The World Championships In Athletics, Osaka 2007

I had a good laugh when I read in the Yomiuri about American 400m runner Dee Dee Trotter and her "Test me- I'm clean!" white wristband. The reason I laughed is because the British bird who won the Women's 400 is under a cloud for having missed a couple of drugs tests and may well not be eligible to compete in next year's Olympics.

Nevertheless, having never been fond of drugs in sport, I rocked a white wristband when Adam and I went down to see Friday night's action at the Nagai Stadium.

We had a fairly packed evening with five finals to watch: Men's 400m and 110m hurdles, plus Women's 200m, javelin and triple jump.

The one I was looking forward to seeing most was the Women's 200m after having the seen the graceful Allyson Felix speeding round the track in the semi-final on telly the previous evening. I raised my wristband in ironic salute when Torri Edwards's name was announced over the tannoy.

Junkie Edwards actually gave me a bit of a scare with a powerful first half of the race, but Felix was just way too good down the home stretch: she buried everyone with a superb performance, whilst Edwards herself was barged unceremoniously off the podium by the muscular form of the enormous Sri Lankan she-male who came in third at the death.

She's Adam's by the way.



10 years on

I was catching a train on the Osaka Loop Line last Saturday and, stumped for anything to read whilst I rubbed shoulders with Osaka's grimy weekenders, I mooched over to the news stand on the station and picked up a copy of The Japan Times Weekly.

This actually proved to be quite an entertaining read: most interesting was an article about how an agent was able to win the confidence of- and bring down- a notorious international butterfly smuggler.

That said, I did take umbrage at an article on the back page about how the Royal Family, in the decade since Princess Diana's death, have learnt lessons from the Princess's "savvy wooing of the media."

Savvy wooing of the media? Perhaps I'm being unreasonable here, but I think that when a group of people chase you at high speed into a concrete pillar, then take photos of the ensuing carnage, it's probably fair to say that you haven't exactly got them eating out of your hand.


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