Sunday, September 21, 2008

9/22/08 My First Rugby Game

My morning today started a bit earlier than I would have wished. I awoke to the uncomfortable feeling of my bed rocking back and forth: a mild earthquake. Nothing was broken or anything like that, so I can't complain. I don't drink coffee, so I guess seismic activity is a pretty good way to start my day.

I had my first taste of Rugby this afternoon with Ben and Zishan. They managed to score some free tickets from a nice Japanese gentleman than none of us had previously met, but that's another story entirely. It was nice to watch with them, as they are both from countries where people care about rugby, and they did a great job of teaching me the game.

The match was held at the big civic stadium on the north side of the city. It has been cloudy/rainy for the last few days, and this was no exception. One of my teachers alerted me to the fact that a typhoon was on its way and would strike sometime around Saturday. Luckily there wasn't much more than a bit of rain this weekend.

The Sanyo Wild Knights(hailing from Ota) faced off against the Coca-Cola Red Sparks(from Kyushu someplace). I was torn about who to cheer for, having to choose between love of Ota and love of American corporate sponsors. The fact that the Sparks got their faces stomped by almost 60 points meant that I ended up cheering for them out of pity.

I was shocked to learn that this little stadium had no concessions whatsoever. That's just bad business. We ended up walking ten minutes to the nearest 7-11 to get some snacks.

Our crew and the mascot of the Sparks, dubbed Coke Man by us.

This is called a scrum, where the opposing teams interlock and struggle for the ball. It was really interesting to watch. This is what comes to mind when I think of rugby.

Here is another interesting aspect of the game. When the ball is thrown back into play from the sidelines, one or more players will be launched into the air by their teammates in order to catch the ball. Why that is necessary, I can't say, but it sure looks cool.

Rain did strike towards the end of the match, but it wasn't anything to be worried about.

In other Ashikaga news, we found a newly opened restaurant/bar/pool hall on the north side opposite the Fressay supermarket. Its claim to fame is the giant red Ferrari parked in the middle of the room. They serve Italian food that is a bit on the expensive side, but it is good quality. It has an actual bar with stools(pretty rare in my Ashikaga experience), and the second floor is populated with pool tables and electronic dart board machines. Besides us, there was only one other group of patrons: an older affluent looking man with two overdressed girls who were my age. We guessed that he might be paying for their company. This restaurant probably doesn't offer anything I can't get somewhere else in town(other than the Ferrari ogling), but its cool to have a nice place to play in this otherwise pretty quite part of town.

The Ferrari in all its glory.

Friday night I was welcomed home by a couple of praying mantises hanging out on the wall. Awful lot of wild life out there.

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