Adventures from the Far East and Beyond

Fuku-Ari’s Appeal April 2, 2008

Filed under: JEF United,New Gateway — orientalmix @ 12:40 am

Fans at Fuku-Ari

Here is an article that I wrote about JEF United for the spring edition of the New Gateway:

Home team JEF United Ichihara Chiba is kicking off its 16th season as a first-division club in the Japan league (J. League). The team holds the record for being the only team to maintain its first-division position. There is no doubt that 2008 will be a turning point. Croatian Josip Kuze, who has had experience as manager of Gamba Osaka, is set to take over as the new manager of the club. Though many key players left since the end of last season, younger players now have the opportunity to shine. Make sure to catch them on the pitch.

Fuku-ari’s Appeal

Thousands of supporters clad in Rastafarian colors will trek through Soga station to Fukuda Denshi Arena (Fuku-ari) to cheer on their local heroes. The arena hosts 18,500 seats and opened as recently as October 2005. Unlike many of the massive soccer stadiums built to host the Korea-Japan World Cup in 2002, this arena was scaled to match the number of JEF soccer fans and J. League matches. Not only do soccer supports enjoy the easy accessibility of Fuku-ari, they most importantly appreciate the closeness to the pitch. In 2007, the stadium was recognized for its architectural excellence and was given the “Good Design Award” from the Japan Industrial Design Promotion Organization. It’s not just the fans who enjoy being close to the players. The players are grateful for the proximity. Homegrown JEF defender Mitsuki Ichihara (no. 13) explains that he appreciates being able to see the fans up close and “feels a great rush when (he hears) the roar of the supporters during games.” Midfielder Koki Yonekura (no. 22), another Chiba-born former high school star, says he loves playing at Fuku-ari because he feels close to the fans.To him “it doesn’t matter what language people are cheering in, the team appreciates everyone’s support.”


Chiba City Zoological Park March 18, 2008

Filed under: New Gateway — orientalmix @ 1:56 am

I took a stroll in the Zoological Park the other day – it’s huge! I wasn’t expecting it to be so large. It’s actually a good place to go for a walk as well as catch cherry blossoms in full bloom.

Below is an article I wrote for the spring issue of the New Gateway:

Chiba City Zoological Park

Futa, the lesser panda (or red panda), has put Chiba Zoological Park on the map for many animal lovers across Japan. He caught the attention of zoo attendants with his unique ability to stand on his two hind legs for as long as ten seconds. Lesser pandas are known for their ability to stand, but 10 seconds is an unusually long period of time. Futa and his family are a part of the Small Animals Zone of the Zoological Park which sees some of the highest traffic in the 33 hector park. The Zoological Park is divided into seven zones: Monkey Zone, Zoological Hall, Children’s Zoo, Ancestor of Domestic Animals Zone, Small Animals Zone, Steppe Zone, and Avian & Aquatic Zone. There are approximately 150 different species and over 700 specimens living within the walls of Chiba Zoological Park.

Spring is a perfect time to visit because the cherry blossoms will be in full bloom. One thing that separates this Zoological Park from a regular zoo is the fact that the park itself is very large. It is over twice the size of Ueno Zoo and there are many places to spread a picnic blanket – just be careful not to feed any of the animals. There is even a theme park adjacent to the park. Dreamland offers 13 of your theme park favorites including a rollercoaster, teacup, merry-go-round and Ferris wheel. It costs as little as 100 yen for the rides and at most 300 yen. If you want to give your tired legs a little break and go for a thrill, the option is always available.

A member of Futa’s family


The Children’s Zoo

Don’t be fooled by the name, the Children’s Zoo is for everyone. It was revamped in 2002 and now hosts approximately 30 species including domestic animals such as horses, goats, sheep and guinea pigs as well as wildlife such as penguins and capybaras. With a petting zoo and a hands-on exhibit, it’s worth taking a moment to interact with the animals.

Tel:043-252-1111 Fax: 043-255-7116