Okinawa 2016 Pt III: J3 Football At FC Ryukyu

Going to watch the local football team wasn’t in my mind when I booked this trip but as soon as I found out they had a home game on that weekend I couldn’t deny myself the chance of seeing the match. After all, it’s not everyday that one is in Okinawa!

Chizu said she’d hook me up with a football bar owner called Hiro who is a huge FC Ryukyu fan that would take me to the game. Along with another guy called Austin, who we met in Hiro’s bar the night before, we were driven up to Okinawa city to the home stadium of FC Ryukyu. I don’t think I’ve ever parked anywhere near a stadium car park on a match-day before but that is what you can do in Okinawa and when he opened the car boot I was surprised to see that he had a drum in there for he is one of those fan leaders! Soon after that we met up with the other Ryukyu fans in their supporters group including Chizu’s friend Aika who I met the night before.

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As there were still a couple of hours till kick off (we left Naha three hours before kick off!) Austin and I walked round the outside of the stadium before Continue reading

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Okinawa 2016 Pt II: Dining Out In Naha

Mention any part of Japan and it’s fairly likely that a Japanese person will be able to tell you the food specialities of that area. Food really is something of an obsession here and it took me a fair few years to find any appeal in travelling for food reasons. Okinawa is famed for it’s cuisine as it’s quite different to mainland food due to differences in culture, historical contact between other regions, climate, vegetables and other ingredients.

Even though I know I sampled some Okinawan food during my original trip to the islands  in 2006 I don’t really remember any of it so it wasn’t till last years ‘Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown‘ about Okinawa (s06E03) that I had any real idea about the local specialities. This particular episode of his CNN show sparked some kind of online conversation with an ex-student of mine who I knew lived in Naha.


The plan to meet up with Chizu was inevitable as soon as we got round to Continue reading

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Okinawa 2016 Pt I: Sightseeing In Naha

Even though it was not actually filmed in Okinawa the ‘Karate Kid Part II‘ (1986) actually gave me my first glimpse of Japanese life back in the eighties. I actually wrote about this ten years ago when I went to Okinawa-prefecture for the first time to do some island hopping taking in the likes of Taketomi-jima and Ishigaki-jima.

A decade on and my wife and I were very much looking forward to experiencing Okinawa as she had never been there and I had never done anything more than transit on the main island. Naha was to be our destination for a three night break but due to the typhoon it was extended. We were supposed to be flying back on the Monday (3rd October) but my wife received an e-mail from the airline the day before saying it had already been cancelled. This wasn’t the first time though that I had missed a day at work due to flight problems!

We flew over Yoron-jima (actually part of Kagoshima prefecture) as we came into land and things had been going well although it was something of a dark start. ‘Joanna Lumley’s Japan‘ on ITV came at a good time for me as I hadn’t done too much research. In the third and final part of her travelogue series she visited the former Japanese Navy Underground Headquarters and though she said the tunnels were unbearable I felt we should visit them to get an understanding of how the Okinawan people fought the war.

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The Memorial Museum costs nothing but it’s the Continue reading

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On The Fox Trail……At Toyakawa Inari Tokyo Betsuin (Tokyo)

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Making this ‘On The Fox Trail…’ stuff into a series was never really my intention but dipping in and out of ‘The Fox And The Jewel‘ (1999) by Karen A. Smyers has certainly increased my knowledge about this topic. As I had a few hours to kill between lessons in Shibuya recently, I got on my bicycle and headed the 4.2 kilometres distance to Toyakawa Inari (1-4-7 Moto-Azabu, Minato-ku) in Akasaka and it took just 15 minutes to reach  along route 246 with the place located not too far from the likes of Hotel New Otani and Hooters!

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Toyokawa Inari is one of the major centres of Inari worship and, unlike  Continue reading

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Joanna Lumley’s Japan (3 Episodes)

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The celebrity travelogue is a well-worn but fairly trusted way of delivering ratings for TV stations and when this three part series aired on ITV last month I expected more of the usual formula of looking at everything weird and whacky that Japan has to offer. Instead Lumley delivered a Continue reading

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A Weekend Away With The Family In Atami

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Sandwiched in between our Okayama/Hiroshima and Thailand travel was a family trip to Atami in Shizuoka prefecture back in late August. The rest of the family all congregated on the Friday and I joined up with them straight after work on Saturday evening having taken  Continue reading

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Fourth Tier Football Frolics

Football is a game spanning the globe and is played at all levels with the likes of the Premier League, La Liga, Serie A and erm, the J-League taking all the glory! Even though I am a fan of the current English champions I won’t lose my interest in following the beautiful game at many different levels and nowhere is that better exemplified than by this latest trip to see a JFL (Japan Football League) game.

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Grass roots football is where it’s at and that’s what I’m all about! Yokogawa Musashino are the only Tokyo-based team in the JFL and, having Continue reading

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