Adventures from the Far East and Beyond

Notes from Ishigaki April 29, 2008

Filed under: Chiba Lotte Marines — orientalmix @ 12:02 pm
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I was just sorting through some of my photos from Ishigaki and came across some Marines related ones. I can’t tell you how strange it was waking up each day and walking to Ishigaki City Hall to find posters of Bobby Valentine in so many windows (see photo at bottom). During the triathlon I met a women from Ishigaki radio and I asked her if she went to any of the practices during spring training. She said that a lot of people turned up despite the bad weather to cheer on the team… only to not really cheer because they didn’t know what to do! It was only after hardcore Marines fans from the mainland (who followed their team all the way to Ishigaki) showed the locals how to sing the chants that locals really started to get in to it.

Ishigaki City Hall Marines\' Sign

For a team that has only spent one rainy spring training in Ishigaki, they have a lot of fans already. I guess it helps to have your right-hander hometown hero – Yuta Omine – be a part of the team. Yaeyama Shoko is proud of him!!

As some more anecdotes, the mayor of Ishigaki instantly perked up when I told him that I had come from Chiba. He said “Bobby promised me that they would win the championship this year” and continued to talk about the Marines and told the volunteer from Australia that it was too bad that Geelong was too cold for the Marines. I saw all week that City Hall workers as well as other locals were wearing their “Team 26” name holders, Ma-kun and Zu-chan dolls were propped up in various spots, Bobby’s poster could be seen all over the city in windows… to make a long story short, I think that the people of Ishigaki are looking forward to the team returning next spring.

While I was there, they even installed a “Marines noticeboard” (see above) that they update after each game to show everyone how the team is doing. There was even a picture of the Mayor and the sign in the Yaeyama paper to let people know about it.

Poster of Bobby Valentine in Ishigaki Island


Almost on top April 25, 2008

Filed under: Chiba Lotte Marines,Oh Canada — orientalmix @ 4:25 am
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MONTREAL – Why riot? I just read an article about how Monday night’s celebrations in Montreal soured quickly… People should learn from the Marines fans how to celebrate with class. So many people still talk about how wonderful the celebrations were when the Marines took home three titles in 2005. Volunteers even lined the streets to pick up millions of little pieces of confetti. Now that’s true team spirit for you!

Ahhh… back to the Habs. They took on the Philadelphia Flyers in game one of the Eastern Conference Semifinals of the 2008 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Bell Centre in Montreal.

Another fantastic game played by the Montreal Canadiens! The Habs were down 3-2 in the last minute of regulation time but Alex Kovalev scored with less than 30 seconds left on the clock. Just 48 seconds in to overtime, Tom Kostopoulos scored the winner to be the Flyers 4-3!! The home crowd must have gone wild!

CHIBA – The home game that wold have put the Marines on top of their league was postponed last night due to rain. It was probably a good thing because it was pretty miserable last Thursday night out in the cold. It wasn’t fun knowing that the players couldn’t do their best in rainy, cold conditions. The team will take on Softbank tonight. The Marines are only 0.5 games away from being on top.


The HABS take game seven!! April 22, 2008

Filed under: Oh Canada — orientalmix @ 6:11 am

MONTREAL – The Canadiens took on the Boston Bruins 5-0 in Game 7 of their NHL Eastern Conference quarter-final series just hours ago. My home team, the Vancouver Canucks, didn’t even make it to the playoffs so I have been cheering for my adopted home instead.

Rookie goaltending phenomenon Carey Price (20 years old) made 25 saves and posted his second shutout of the series. He struggled during the last two games of the series allowing four goals in the third period of each game… Whoa!

But he made up for it in full force in the do-or-die Game 7.

Can’t wait for a Canadian team to finally take back the Stanley Cup.


Shut out! April 20, 2008

Filed under: 1 — orientalmix @ 3:13 pm

Yes! The Marines won today!

Just watched the replay. Gotta love Naruse.


Oh Canada~ and Ishigaki Triathlon

Filed under: Oh Canada — orientalmix @ 2:29 pm
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I have to admit that this post has been incubating for a while now… so without further ado, here it goes:

When I signed up to volunteer at the Ishigaki BG Triathlon World Cup, I sure wasn’t expecting to hear the Canadian anthem. (To tell you the truth, I can’t recall the last time I heard it not coming from my own mouth.) Watching Simon Whitfield cross the finish line to win his first World Cup in Japan and getting up on the podium was a thrill! Yay Canada!

Back track a couple of days to airport duty – I think I had to do a double take when I looked at the elite athlete list at the Ishigaki Airport. The list had two Canadians on it: Simon Whitfield and Colin Jenkins. I still remember watching news highlights of Simon winning the gold medal in Sydney and then reading about it in Maclean’s – needless to say that I was very excited to meet and greet the Canadian male contingent at the airport! And the best part? Not only are they fantastic athletes but they are wonderful people too! It’s true! All of the volunteer interpreters noticed and they have a fantastic impression of Canadians now. Thanks guys!

Interpreting for Simon Whitfield

In fact, all of the athletes I had a chance to speak to were great. They were really down to earth and almost normal – except for the fact that they like to swim 1.5km, then bike 40km, and finish it off with a 10km run and not think twice about it. (I usually run 6km at the gym and call it a good day.) Needless to say, very impressive. 

The opportunities that presented themselves at the triathlon were really quite marvelous. I happened to be at the right place at the right time and had a chance to interpret for Simon, Colin, Emma Snowsill, Nicola Spirig, Peter Robertson and many more.

One of the most fun interviews was one with Emma for Tarzan, Japan’s leading fitness magazine. For some reason, an editor, a photographer, and writer from Tarzan came to Ishigaki without an interpreter and was going to interview Emma… good thing I was in the hotel lobby. 

The athlete and volunteer dinner was wonderful too where we had a chance to mingle with the Japanese athletes. Ai Ueda must have one of the cutest smiles and Kiyomi Niwata’s English is really quite good. As you can tell, I really don’t have anything bad to say about my time in Ishigaki.

Ai Ueda coming out of the water in Ishigaki

Hope they continue with the BG World Cup Triathlon next year!

Good luck to all those who made it on their Olympic teams. Will be cheering you on from Chiba City. 



Home cheering squad April 10, 2008

Filed under: Chiba Lotte Marines — orientalmix @ 3:23 am

Hello from Ishigaki! I am currently visiting Japan’s most southern city to help out as an interpreter for the World Cup Ishigaki Triathlon. Top athletes from around the world are set to compete this Sunday on this beautiful sunny island.

One thing that is worth noting is that there are Marines posters on every block!!! Why you ask? It’s because the Marines were here in February for their spring training. I hope to post some pictures when I get back to Chiba from this trip.

But for now, here is info on getting together to cheer on the local team.

If you are a Marines fan or you have always wanted to cheer them on but have been missing a crew to cheer with you, come out to the game on April the 17th to join local gaijin in some hollering and hooting. A bunch of us will be sitting in the new deck in the left field stands (http://www.marines.co.jp/ticket/deck.php) every Thursday night HOME game. The tickets are only 2,300 yen and it’s a steal! The Marines are sure to put on a good show! The first one will be on the 17th against the Rakuten Eagles. Gotta go cheer on the home team!!


Hope to see you there!


Vissel, JEF call it a draw April 2, 2008

Filed under: JEF United — orientalmix @ 11:39 pm

On a cold Wednesday night, 8694 fans went to show soccer colours. Some wore “deep red” while most of the crowd were clad in bright yellow, a bit of blue, and a dash of green. Die-hard Kobe fans made it all the way to Soga to cheer on Vissel but they didn’t dampen the cheers of the hardcore JEF fans who stood in line at 7:00AM to test their luck of the draw. True fans of JEF stand in line early in the morning to draw numbers which will determine how to line up in the afternoon. The lower the number, the closer you are to the front of the line and to the desired seat right behind the goal. They cheered their hearts out as usual last night.

JEF United (April 2)

The first three minutes of the game turned out to be one of the most thrilling moments. Daisuke Sato took a shot on goal and gave JEF the lead. There were many other close moments but neither side could seal the deal – until the 43rd minute in the 2nd half. Chiba-born Norio Suzuki nailed a penalty shot and changed the game. It turns out that Suzuki used to play for JEF’s Jr youth team when he was younger and just signed with Kobe this season. He tied the game and gave Chiba their third draw of the season.

During the game, I strained my ears trying to figure out what the hardcore fans were singing. I couldn’t even tell which language they were sining in to be honest. Luckily, it turned out that the reserve players actually sit in the stands so I went and gave a copy of the New Gateway to Koki Yonekura (who just recently had his first J. League goal) and asked him what the fans were singing.

For the curious, they were signing:


(oretachi no hokori, JEF United.)

Our pride, JEF United.