2008/10/26

AFC Asia Champions League Semi-Finals Game

On 22 October, I was able to obtain a ticket to be a spectator for the semi-finals game for the AFC(Asian Football Confederation) Club Championship Semi-finals game (Football means Soccer).


The game was between Urawa Reds and Gamba Osaka (both Japanese teams) at Urawa's home stadium which is not very far from my work.

The stadium was filled mostly with the Reds fans and of course, there were some hardcore Osaka fans that were very well segregated from the rest of the spectators. We were sitting by the official Reds Cheering area. The ticket I had even had a warning "Do not cheer for Osaka" printed on it!

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The game started out well with the first half - with Reds being on offensive most of the time with Naohiro Takahara making a beautiful goal at around 35 min. The stadium was just roaring with cheer. But then, they fell apart in the second half. They just could not keep the ball and their defensive moves were not effective. The final score was 1-3 and Osaka advanced to the first of the two final games against Adelaide United FC of Australia on Nov. 5.



The result was devastating for Urawa Reds for they WERE the Asian Club Champions as well as the third place in the FIFA Club World Championship after AC Milan of Italy and Boca Juniors of Argentina. They are currently in the 5th place in J League.

2008/10/18

Midtown Tokyo

Last weekend on Sunday, I visited Tokyo Tower. We decided to climb the stairs up to the lower observatory. 600 steps to the 150 m floor.

This is the view towards the west at the sunset. Tall building on the left is Roppongi Hills (Grand Hyatt) and the right - Tokyo Midtown (Ritz Carlton).

Tokyo Tower was built 50 years ago (1958) and it is 333 m tall.

Today, I was at the Ritz for a meeting. Below is the view towards Shinjuku, a major hub station of Tokyo from the 48th floor of the hotel.
This is the view towards the Imperial Palace (the woody area). The cluster of tall buildings beyond the palace ground to the right is the financial center area by Tokyo Station.
This afternoon, I walked from Tokyo Midtown to Shibuya station. Here's the main intersection of Shibuya where hundreds of pedestrians cross it.

2008/10/11

Autumn is here.

The seasonal change is definitely happening - mornings and evenings are cooler, night comes earlier, and leaves of trees are starting to change colors.

We hear no more cicadas - yard and bush noises are now replaced by those of crickets.

In Nanto on Tuesday morning, I jogged by an apple orchard. It looked like the fruits were very good this year.


Also during the same jog, I saw changing color of maple leaves from light green to orange and red. The rice fields were all harvested and empty.

This is a "fragrant orange-colored olive" tree (金木犀). It is very distinct of this season in Japan and tells us that autumn is here. I love the faint sweet scent. I first noticed in Toyama on Tuesday.


Here I got a close up picture of the tiny orange flowers in our neighborhood today. They are very cute.

Also very common at this time of the year are persimmon. These orange fruits are from a tree close from my home. They are also very tasty!

2008/10/04

Aerial photos of the Alps Mountains

I flew back from France on 27 Sept.

The first airplane flew from Nice to Zurich, Switzerland.
I had a window seat so could enjoy beautiful view of the Alps mountains.





Actually, this was the easy part. I had 30 min. transfer at Zurich Airport (had to run!), and then 12 hour flight back to Tokyo. I am finally recovering from fatigue.