A Spook-tacular Halloween (2014)

As an adult, the years fly by these days but for kids 365 days is a very long time and the Halloween party for them remains a very popular event. Hopefully, during that gap the majority of the annual attendees forgot all about the games and activities of previous years as this year I didn’t bring anything too original to the table!

For the first session, Lai-Keun and I decided to co-teach the 15 Playgroup and Kindergarten level kids of which five of them belonged to my regular Tuesday class. As well as all the standard Halloween flashcard based activities (hide and reveal, Yes/No stations, race & find etc) we also did some reinforcement of colours via some vaguely related Halloween activity where the kids collected the necessary colour strips of paper and posted them through the mouth of a giant cardboard pumpkin face.

Yet again Lai-Keun came up with another top idea for the craft activity; making a giant hanging spider. The first part simply involved colouring one side of a paper plate with a black marker pen. They were then given some eyes (complete with double-sided sticky tape) to add. I handed out each student eight strips of paper (representing the legs!) each and they then folded and stapled them on to the plate before adding a piece of string to the centre of the plate. All sound so simple eh! Thankfully the school manager, receptionist and a load of parents were on hand to assist with the more tricky parts but overall this probably took a bit longer than expected not that it really mattered!

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As ever there was not much time to do everything in our arsenal but I did manage to incorporate something into the break which caught the attention of many. The break time is usually 10-15 minutes of having a drink (with someone inevitably spilling one every single time!) and some cheap snacks but this time I looped a Halloween video on my iPad called ‘Spooky‘ (watch it here) over and over again which reinforced some of the vocabulary they’d learned so far that morning. It was intended just as background music but quite a few were intrigued by it.

The break came much later than ever and after that there was only time for the regular finale to any party which is ‘Hit the piñata’ and this time I was in charge of holding up the giant star full of candy which they take it in turns to bash it with the baseball bat a couple of times. These hits are nowhere near strong enough to destroy the piñata, which is kind of the objective, so after everyone has had a go the piñata is emptied of its contents for the kids to collect as many as they can get their hands on!

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The afternoon group consisted of the Lower and Higher Elementary students but with a whopping 24 students in attendance we had no choice but to separate them into two groups. Lai-Keun had mostly higher level and I had the lower ones which consisted mainly of boys. I did feel a bit sorry for the two girls in the class that they were surrounded by so many guys but in the other class there was just one boy with all those girls!

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A constant stream of late-comers meant that it took a while for this lesson to get going. Knowing that Lai-Keun needed the broomsticks and pumpkins later on I started off with a double dose of sweeping action; broomstick penalty kicks followed by a more competitive round of broomstick football. Of course I ran through the flashcard lexical items and practiced that in much the same manner as earlier on albeit with the addition of a chain drill and a three-team race and circle/erase activity which for the main part worked well.

The kids’ chopstick talents were then utilised via a feed the pumpkin game and I then thankfully managed to squeeze in a game of Halloween ten-pin bowling. Having worked my way through litres and litres of water in the run up to this party I was determined to make sure we did a round of this simple fun activity. As ever, each 2 litre bottle had a Halloween-related picture attached to it and then a heavy pumpkin was thrown down at pace smashing them out of the way. Only one kid managed to get a strike though!

The craft activity followed on after that and yet again took longer than expected. Some parents were already in the school whilst this activity was taking part and we hadn’t even had the break yet alone climaxed with hit the piñata! The idea here was for the kids to make their own spider web and thankfully the school manager Junko and receptionist Yasuko were on hand to assist and help me out with this one.

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Click on the years below to see my ‘Spook-tacular Halloween’ blog entry for each one

2008     2009     2010     2011     2012     2013

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A Weekend On Batam Island (Indonesia)

No sooner had my eldest sister Ruth and her husband announced that they were going to be moving to an island in Indonesia just 20km off the coast of Singapore and I had my heart set on visiting them and stepping onto two countries which I’d yet to visit. Just over a year ago they and their three children left Mebourne in Australia behind for a new life on Batam Island and the main point of this trip was to pop over to spend the weekend with them following a day and a half in Singapore.

There’s a one hour time difference between Singapore and Indonesia so after a 60 minute ferry ride I arrived at the same time I left that afternoon! On my arrival I must have been a bit over-excited as I nearly exited without picking my bag off the scanning machine thing! Luckily, I realised just in the nick of time and could pop back through and get it and then, to my surprise, I was met not only by Ruth but all her kids too who for some reason were very excited to see their uncle!

Following a quick tour of the house we headed up the road on their estate to the Sunrise Bar which I’ve got to say is a place they’re very lucky to have. The two older kids just walked in, sat themselves up at the bar, ordered a soft drink, grabbed the remote control, watched TV and kept themselves amused for pretty much the whole night! Meanwhile, Ruth and I caught up with each other as an endless stream of the foreign resident community seemed to drop by at some point which made for a really nice atmosphere. The Bintang beers just kept on coming and I have no idea what time Ruth took the kids back home! My night continued with my brother-in-law to what seemed quite a late time but in reality was probably only about 10pm……if not earlier!!

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My Saturday’s are usually spent mucking around with, erm I mean teaching kids, but I gave that up for the day to come to Batam to spend my day with kids! Having been a pretty bad Uncle regarding birthday presents I thought I had better arrive with some goodies to hand out. Sadly the whoopee cushion (a success the last time I saw them in Australia in 2012) failed to last beyond a minute before it broke but the stickers, jigsaws and balloons went down far better than I ever really expected. Another gift was a mini chess set and my nephew Eifion was spared no mercy as I gave him a masterclass in having his ass whooped! He would later get his revenge on the wii!

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My niece Anesta does ballet lessons on Saturday mornings in Sukajadi so I went along with Ruth to see some of her class which was a unique experience for me who has never really seen any ballet. The rain was absolutely lashing down during this time so our driving tour of the area (golf courses, decaying buildings, a deserted shopping arcade and a man selling chickens!) was a bit of a washout!

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A bit later in the day, the six of us went for lunch at Montego Resort in Nongsa where a golf buggy cart transports you from the car park and reception to the restaurant. Even as an adult riding on one of these is still fun! Having had pizza the night before I thought I better take this opportunity to sample some actual Indonesian food in the form of nasi goreng which I hadn’t eaten since I went to Ayung Teras in Shibuya last year. Now, I’m known as the naughty uncle who once gave Eifion some cola (I didn’t know he wasn’t allowed to have it!) so was in a bit of a predicament when I saw Pepsi Blue on the drinks menu. Needless to say I ignored any proper responsibility and, with two of the kids curious about its taste, I had to relent and give them a rare treat!

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Of course this (part of the) trip was never gonna be anything more than just hanging out with the family doing everyday things. That included just playing with the kids in the play area which included giant cuddly bears, table football, a slide, a ball pool and all other kinds of things.

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Due to the crazy traffic on the roads of Batam we were out at about 7am the next day as we went on a quick tour of the island to give me an idea of its layout and whereabouts in the scheme of things. Later on, we went out to JCo Donuts at nearby Kepri Mall for some donuts and a trip to Carrefour Supermarket! It doesn’t get any more exciting than that on Batam I’m afraid but as a one-off it was all good stuff for me. En-route to the donut place Eifion said in the car that he didn’t want any donuts and that they were bad for you and so on. Ten minutes later he had had three of them!!

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I was given a quick tour of the estate by my brother-in-law which was fun, not so much because of what I saw (lots of un-finished houses!) but due to riding on the back of the vespa.

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Last time I saw Anesta in Melbourne she was very wary of me and I never really got too close to her. The youngest Sioned was like that this time herself but Anesta was quite the opposite and we bonded way beyond what I thought we would.

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After a spot of light lunch at home we settled in for the Japanese F1 Grand Prix and once that had concluded we went to the swimming pool next within the Sunrise Bar complex. The return journey was one of my highlights as four of us (with bags and bodyboards) piled on to the vespa to ride home. Nothing compared to the numbers of locals who ride together on board these vehicles carrying all manner of things!

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As always, it was an early start on the final morning as we took the kids to school before I had to say a sad farewell. We took a slight detour on the way so that we could get some shots of us in front of the Hollywood-style ‘Welcome to Batam’ sign!

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As I headed back to Singapore on the ferry for another day there I felt very satisfied to have spent such a nice weekend with the family doing the simple things in life and thankfully it won’t be too long before we meet again albeit in a different location and setting.

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Singapore 2014 Pt III: Day Three

After a wonderful whirlwind weekend trip to Batam Island in Indonesia it felt a little strange to be back amid the skyscrapers and modernity of  Singapore. I was quite surprised to see Jamie Oliver had a restaurant in the HarbourFront area but it was never in my mind to eat there as I had other plans!

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No better way to start the day than with some mixed pig’s organ porridge for breakfast! Along with a lime juice that was consumed at Tiong Bahru market and it was actually very nice. Yet again I wasn’t completely full though so thought I would try something else. Carrot cake may be the name given to a delicious sweet cake in the west but in this part of the world it is actually radish cake stir-fried with eggs and other seasonings which is then steamed and then pan-fried. Oh and there aren’t even any carrots in it! Chai tao kway is the local name and there are two types; black (uses sweet sauce and the egg is mixed in) or white (without sweet soy sauce and fried on top of a beaten egg to form a crust) with the latter being the one I had and it was rather tasty.

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City Hall MRT station was next and St Andrew’s Cathedral provided a quick stop before I found myself outside Raffles Hotel. Now, unlike most people I had no intention or interest in going inside this famous hotel but as I was passing by I was a little intrigued to poke my head in to see what it was all about. Well, what do you know but one thing led to another and somehow I ended up having a Singapore Sling in the Long Bar! The red cocktail, which no Singaporean’s actually drink, was actually quite nice and it certainly helped me offload some of my remaining dollars!

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Just up the road from Raffles was Chin Chin Eating House which I wanted to visit for a couple of reasons. Firstly, it featured on ‘The Layover‘ (S01E01) on the Travel Channel and secondly the name has a rude meaning in Japanese and a photo of the exterior was a must for me! I wanted to try chicken rice at this popular place but it sadly wasn’t as simple as at the hawker centres. The place is geared towards groups of people sharing the food so, as a lone diner, I was left with no choice (if I wanted to sample it at all!) but to order half a chicken for myself! Naturally I couldn’t finish it all (and didn’t really want to as I needed to save room for some evening dishes) as it was my third meal back in Singapore but it was still good to try it and I managed to polish off about half of it.

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Feeling rather full, I thought it best to walk it off so I continued heading north via Bugis, Arab Street (including the Sultan Mosque) and the Thieves Market. Although I didn’t buy anything I did enjoy the latter, named as in the past it was the place to buy stolen goods, which is basically just a flea market selling all kinds of bric-a-brac.

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Having eventually located my hotel for the night I had some much needed rest before taking a stroll round the Little India area where I passed the very colourful and bustling Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple before settling down for some Indian grub.

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I eventually found a popular outdoor stall selling some back-to-basics banana-leaf style food so I stopped there for chicken biriyani eaten with the hand (not the left one though!) and then I found the Tekka Centre which I wish I had started at as it was packed full of stalls selling all kinds of Indian fare. I sampled a few little things before calling it a night. I would return for breakfast the following morning for one last culinary experience on a trip which had been pretty much been dominated by mouthwatering food.

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On the afternoon of the day I arrived in Singapore I soon realised I wasn’t going to bother with the likes of Orchard Road, the Botanic gardens, Night Safari, Bukit Timah Nature Reserve and so on. I’m sure I’ll get round to seeing them next time when I arrive with my wife in tow though given her passion for such culinary delights it may be difficult to tear ourselves away from the Hawker Centres!

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Singapore 2014 Pt II: Day Two

My second day continued in much the same vain as day one did with a few minor disappointments in terms of finding places closed!! Firstly, the stall I wanted food from at Maxwell Road Food Market was not open (whilst many others were!) when I was there just after 8am. There would be a couple more places closed but before all that I walked on down to the beautiful Marina Bay area to see the very striking Marina Bay Sands Hotel across the water with the modern-art looking ArtScience Museum alongside it.

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A bit further up the road from there, just past the picturesque Fullerton Bay Hotel, was Merlion Park which is quite possibly the most popular sightseeing spot in Singapore. The place was packed with tourists capturing their moment in front of the water-spouting half fish half lion.

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From there, I wandered on past a few nice buildings such as City Hall and continued on up to The Padang which is basically just a lawn used for the likes of cricket and rugby but sadly I couldn’t get a real feel for this symbol of British imperialism as it was out of season and there was obviously nothing going on at this green at 9.30 am!!

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Fort Canning Park had been earmarked in advance as a priority for the morning and I was  very much looking forward to seeing the WWII bunker known as Battle Box but typically of this trip it was closed when I finally reached it in the middle of the park following a steep-ish ascend up many steps from street level.

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Nevertheless, it there were still some interesting little buildings dotted around the place and it was nice to amble round the slopes in a city/country possessing quite a lot of green.

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After the park, I returned to my hotel at 11 am to pack, shower and chill for a bit before the noon checkout. Maxwell Road Food Market (again!) was to be my final destination and having failed twice I finally got to join the huge line to get chicken rice from Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice restaurant which featured in ‘Anthony Bourdain No Reservations‘ (S04E01) on the Travel Channel in 2008. This food stand was by far the most popular one in the place and it even had a picture and quote from Bourdain out the front. I’m not one to usually line up for any food but I made an exception for this one and to be fair I’m not really sure if it was worth it. It was of course very nice but I don’t know if my taste buds are strong enough to tell the difference between a plate of chicken rice at this place and a plate of the same thing from one of its competitors!

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The other dish pictured below is of fish head soup and rice which tasted way better than it should with a name like that! The soup, in particular, was very nice and reminiscent of the noodle soup dishes I’ve sampled in Vietnam before.

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Re-fueled and refreshed, it was time to leave Singapore behind and take the ferry from Harbourfront to a nearby Indonesian island to see my eldest sister and her family for the weekend. I would be back though!

You can read ‘Singapore 2014 Pt III: Day Three’ here.

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Singapore 2014 Pt I: Day One

If you’d asked me five years ago about Singapore I would no doubt have told you I had no interest in visiting such a boring, sterile place overly officiated with rules! However, time moves on and opinions can change. Anthony Bourdain’s food based TV shows, in particular, taught me that maybe my pre-conceptions about Singapore were wrong and wide of the mark and as I got more into sampling international cuisine this place appealed more and more.

The need to use up some of my holidays and the fact that my eldest sister and her family live on an Indonesian island just off the coast of Singapore meant that visiting this city-state-island-country became a reality. No sooner had I arrived on a night flight via Kuala Lumpar and I was off in a taxi to Changi Village Hawker Centre to have nasi lemak for breakfast from the very same stall that Bourdain visited in the inaugural episode of ‘The Layover‘ (watch it here) on the Travel Channel back in 2011.

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After that I walked round the coastal boardwalk which I had hoped would take me to  Changi Beach, site of the Sook Ching Massacres. Sadly though it didn’t extend all the way round to that historical sight where 66 Chinese males were shot by the Japanese military police on 20 February 1942. Not a place with a pleasant history but one that I was interested in seeing having recently read ‘The Railway Man‘ by Eric Lomax which included some dark tales of what prisoners went through in WWII.

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Continuing the dark theme, the Changi Museum was my next destination and, along with the village food centre, was the main reason I decided to start my trip in the area surrounding the airport. This museum is free (although you are quite heavily encouraged to purchase an audio set for $8) and features some compelling letters, drawings, photographs and personal artefacts that chronicle what the POW’s suffered during the Japanese occupation in 1942.

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I took yet another taxi from there to Expo MRT, the nearest station, where I wanted to see the giant sandcrawler-shaped building belonging to Lucasfilm Ltd. Sadly though I couldn’t find it or a sign saying that it even existed in this area. Eventually I gave up and continued back towards the city centre via train. One final stop though and that was at Paya Lebar MRT where I hit another food court in the Geylang area. I wanted to try claypot rice and still hungry for more after that I also purchased some Wanton noodles. Both dishes were fantastic and the beauty of these hawker centres is that you can sample two or even three of them as the prices are very reasonable.

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Next, up was Kranji but I failed to find what I was looking for. It’s war cemetery contains the graves of thousands of Allied troops but without any great maps and signs pointing me in the right direction I yet again had to leave a place empty handed. By this time it was late afternoon and I decided it was time to head to Chinatown where I was booked into Hotel Lulu; a rather cheap run-down hotel where I had a tiny room. The most basic of places but it did its job of providing me with a place to shower and lie down at the end of a long, long day.

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It wasn’t over yet though as I headed out fairly instantly. Outram Road featured heavily throughout the aforementioned Lomax book as its gaol was the place from hell where he suffered the most. That prison war camp has long been demolished so I was just left with a road sign to remind me of what I had read.

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It was nice to see some nice buildings as I walked on to get some dinner at my third and final food centre of the day. Maxwell Road Food Centre possesses more than 100 food stalls and going here made me realise I had kind of wasted my time with the other hawker centre’s as this place had it all. The place I intended to visit was closed but as there was a sizeable queue at a nearby place I though that must be good. That’s how it seems to work anyway in these places. I had Lor Mee which is basically a thick starchy gravy with thick flat yellow noodles and this was the quite possibly the best dish I ate in Singapore.

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You can read ‘Singapore 2014 Pt II: Day Two’ here.

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My JSoccer Magazine Article On Japan Football Museum

Last month I wrote about my contribution to the latest issue of JSoccer magazine; Japan’s number one English language football publication. Since issue #13 was released a sufficient amount of time has passed so I feel its now ok to reproduce the contents of that article for those who maybe missed it!!

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Dust had hardly even settled on this Summer’s FIFA World Cup and out of habit I was lying awake in the early hours wondering how to fill the void. With the J League not resuming for another week I had to get my football fix and so it was that a few days later I found myself visiting this gem of a museum hidden away on the quiet backstreets of Ochanomizu.

The 2002 FIFA World Cup Memorial Japan Football Museum, to give it it’s full title, was originally set up in 2003 to showcase the finals which Japan co-hosted alongside neighbours Korea the year before. Since my previous visits in 2004, 2006 and 2010 this museum has continued to change, develop and update to include exhibits relating to the present such as official World Cup 2014 balls, tickets, pennants and Samurai Blue shirts.

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The good news is that some parts of this three-floored place are free to all but given what us football fans fork out to follow our teams these days, the 500 yen entry fee isn’t gonna break the bank balance too much! One of the things you have to respect about this place is the attention to detail for everything and that starts with the ticket purchased from the machine on floor B1. It’s a scaled-down replica (on one side) of a Japan World Cup match ticket from 1998 but before you purchase that there are a few things to see on 1F such as life-size Japan national team players, glass cabinets displaying various J-soccer related bric-a-brac, a Winning Eleven console and the Virtual Stadium with its giant ‘Mega Vision’ TV screen which allows you to see the whole pitch from one camera angle; a view that could never be used on television coverage. Elsewhere in the museum there’s a pretty cool 3D theatre and a few standard TV booths which have a range of game highlights to be consumed from past World Cups.

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Pictures and images from each year since the J-League was founded in 1993, line the steps which take you down to floor B1. It’s a fairly ample affair but still, each and every space is utilised to maximum effect with signed footprint floor tilings here and team promotional posters there! One shouldn’t think that it’s all crammed in though for there is still sufficient room to wander without being shoulder barged out of the way unlike in some of the busier museums in Tokyo! There’s a table football to play around on as well as giant  mascots and an interesting J-Club display glass cabinet full of shirts pennants, balls and so on from a couple of dozen teams. This floor also includes the Japan Football Hall of Fame and the all important gift shop which has signed shirts lining the walls amid the ubiquitous scarves, magnets, key rings, mugs, shirts and t-shirts.

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Floor B2 possesses the main part of the museum and this has a plethora of exhibits relating to the 2002 World Cup. As I wandered this area, memories came flooding back of Beckham’s penalty winner against Argentina, Ronaldinho lobbing Seaman from 40 yards, Senegal upsetting France in the opening game, the Koreans riding their luck to reach the semis, Oliver Kahn almost single handedly taking a poor German side to the final and Rivaldo’s cheating antics.

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Most Japanese love a photo opportunity and this place has a multitude of chances to get your picture taken whether it be with the J-League trophy, a purikura (print club) booth or a replica dugout. Talking of which, you can become Manchester United perennial bench warmer Shinji Kagawa by putting your head through the hole of the Samurai Blue team’s life size cut-out team picture. There are also waxworks of former German keeper Kahn and Alberto Zacceroni though surely its only a matter of time before the latter one gets melted down! Furthermore, there’s a pre-match huddle team waxwork with a gap for you to join the players in unison and last but not least there’s the FIFA World Cup itself. Well of course it’s just a fake plastic one stuck to the podium which Brazilian skipper Cafu lifted the trophy from in Yokohama in 2002 but it still feels good to get your hands on it! Don’t worry if you’re on your own and want a photo as there’s usually a staff member on hand or nearby who can take it for you.

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Other notable exhibits of interest, among many others, include a replica of the Japan dressing room and historical archives displaying the days of old. Whether it be the Olympics, the World Cup, the Asian Cup or even the Toyota Cup, there are some fascinating mementoes and information facts to be consumed for every tournament with special areas dedicated to each and every one of Japan’s five appearances at the World Cup finals.

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Whilst the men’s national side may have not had too much to celebrate at the recent big event in Brazil it’s been a different story for the other sides representing Japan at other levels and this football museum certainly acknowledges that. The Women’s World Cup and Asian Cup Champions get their deserved space among the men as do their under 17’s protégées with their winning trophies displayed in front of photographic displays of the glorious events. Likewise for the mens 2014 AFC Futsal Champions and with that you can leave this glorious museum knowing that the state of the beautiful game in Japan is in fine fettle and it hopefully won’t be too long before this place has a few more exciting additions to its increasing collection of football items and memorabilia.

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The 2002 FIFA World Cup Memorial Japan Football Museum is a 6 minute walk from Ochanomizu Station (JR or Marunouchi lines) or Shin-Ochanomizu Station (Chiyoda Metro Line). Entry is 500 yen for adults and 300 yen for students/children. It is open between 13:00 and 18:00 on Tuesday – Friday and 10:00 to 18:00 on holidays and at weekends. 
 
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JSoccer magazine is available in print or as a Pay-What-You-Want PDF from jsoccer.com
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TF Top 10 Tokyo Themed Cycling Rides

With Autumn finally here after a long hot and humid Summer it’s time to get on your bike again and work up a sweat without being completely drenched in it as happens in the overly hot and humid Summer months in Tokyo.

These ten rides are not just simply routes (though they could be of course!) but themed ones which can be adjusted however you see fit. The distances and times given are approximate (especially numbers 1-5 which were completed in a non-smart phone era) and include the travel to and from the Tokyo Fox Global Operations Centre so they are just a guide to give you an idea.

Here then, in no particular order, are the Tokyo Fox top 10 Tokyo themed cycling rides…

1. Yamanote Line Loop: Distance: 35 km; Time: 8 hrs – A classic ride circling the green coloured line (map-wise!) either clockwise or anti-clockwise and taking in the core of Tokyo’s major stations and urban centres.

Part I

Cycling The Yamanote Line Cycling The Yamanote Line

2. A-Z of stations: Distance: ?? km; Time: 9 hrs – A simple concept. Cycle around Tokyo stopping for a photo at a station for each letter of the alphabet. There aren’t too many B’s or C’s and there are no stations beginning with the letters L, P, Q, V or X so that’s five less stops to do!

Prelude     Part I     Part II

Cycling The A-Z Of Tokyo - Part II Cycling The A-Z Of Tokyo - Part I

3. On the trail of John Rain: Distance: ?? km; Time: 8 hrs – The fictional work of author Barry Eisler has a long association with Tokyo. Many other novels have been set here but the links here are from the earlier works and the original bicycle tour of the many bars, restaurants, cafe’s and hotels which feature throughout the books.

Prelude     Part I     Part II

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4. Tokyo’s Top 25 Sights: Distance: 130 km; Time: 12:20 hrs – The most epic of tours due mainly to the inclusion of Odaiba and Tokyo Disneyland (over in Chiba) in ‘Fodor’s Tokyo Top 25′ guidebook.

Part I     Part II     Part III

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5. Along the Kanda River: Distance: 25 km; Time: 5:30 hrs – Starting at the Sumida-gawa River and finishing at the lake in Kichijoji’s Inokashira Park. Be aware that this river cuts through the heart of Tokyo and so many, many gates are encountered and you can’t ride for too long before you have to slow down and go through a gate to cross a road.

Prelude     Part I

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6. Ten Shrines of Tokyo: Distance: 76.31km; Time: 7.25 hrs – Emperor Meiji selected these as the most important shrines in 1868 after he had moved to Edo and renamed it Tokyo.

Part I

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7. Tokyo’s Most Haunted Sights: Distance: 85.5 km   Time: 9.51 hrs – Japan is maybe not as safe as the locals suggest due to earthquakes, typhoons and other natural phenomena. On top of this there are also many stories, rumours and myths about Tokyo being inhabited by folklore creatures, ghosts, gods and other such evil spirits. This ride incorporates them into one perfectly spooky Halloween ride which I re-wrote for an article in Metropolis magazine last October.

Part I     Part II     Metropolis Hell On Wheels Article     Metropolis Link

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8. Gourmet Snack Track Trail: Distance: 53.26 km; Time: 8.29 hrs – Japan is famed for its great food and this journey took in a handful of its most traditional gourmet food shops including soba, monja-yaki and taiyaki.

Part I

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9. The Wolverine Tokyo Trail: Distance: 53.59km; Time: 3.38 hrs – Take the very same route that the Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) takes in the 2013 film where the idea of geography is completely abandoned in favour of the hero just zig-zagging across the city.

Part I 

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10. The Godzilla Tokyo Tour: Distance: 82.8 km; Time: 6.43 hrs – A mix of statues, filming locations, shops and so on relating to the giant radioactive lizard.

Part I

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Now stop reading and get on your bike! Happy cycling!

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