In the pink for 3-2 win

Cracking last Saturday in Japan readjusting body clock to normal by going to watch the football.
Cerezo Osaka – known as The Flaming Pinks – were hovering just above the relegation zone in the J-League (Japan’s top tier).
They have a reputation for all-out attacking football – and a tendency to crash and burn with surges towards the top punctuated by relegation and eventually promotion.
Manchester United’s Shinji Kagawa is probably the best known Former Pink in the UK.
The signing, from Borussia Dortmund, came through Osaka’s ranks and helped the Pinks during their run back from J-League 2 to the top tier.
The Pinks played Shimisu Pulse in one of their two home grounds / fortunately not The Nagai Stadium – an athletic stadium – used during the World Cup in Japan/Korea.
It hosted the 0-0 draw between England and Nigeria.
This 22,000 capacity ground had a 15,603 crowd with enthusiastic home and away supporters behind the respective goals and us in or pink Port Vale third choice strip.
Very persuasive for those supporting the return of standing/cheering areas un the UK.
We met up with Spurs and Osaka fan Trevor before trying dumplings with Octopus inside to eat in the park before the match.
This and a visit to his mate’s football shop teed us up for a game which did not disappoint.
Osaka missed a an early sitter, went behind to a (justly awarded) penalty and hit the post twice before equalising with a diving header.
Another tucked away before half-time was cancelled out by a second half goal from a well taken free kick.
Osaka won it five minutes before time, after having another effort disallowed for offside.
The beers passed to us from sellers going up and down the aisles were nice and cold and the half-time noodles with pork and ginger went down well.
Afterwards a quick beer in a pub was followed by a local speciality – grilling your own food on a fire set in the middle of the table.
Pulse fans were next to us but there was no trouble.
Meanwhile we were amazed by the lack of aggression/yob behaviour.
Our trains took us back after midnight – with no problem
The dust up over the Senkaku Islands, as they are called in Japan, continues apace.
Although the Japanese have reopened factories and businesses in China they have been cancelling school trips and pulling sports teams out of competitions in China.
Now the US is saying a security treaty with Japan covers the islands in case of an attack and they will come to the aid of Japan.
At the same time they have got back up Japanese noses by test flying their new Osprey transport aircraft at Iwakuni Air Station, near Hiroshima.
The US is due to deploy them at its Okinawa island base from the end of the month – despite local opposition.
People around Iwakuni are worried about safety and complaining but the national government supports the flights.
We see a little of the other side of Japan on a walk up the river to Osaka Castle.
After exchanging greetings with a bride and groom and wedding party on a tiny motor boat we came across people sleeping on park benches and living under blue tarps all along the riverside park.
Japan’s Lost Decade (s) casualties are far less visible than in the UK or other Western nations.
In fact, rather than lose face, a handful have retreated beyond the reach of charities – and died as a resullt.
People who didn’t cause the crisis in the first place suffering most seems pretty universal.
However, was shocked and appalled to see management at Sharp were taking much bigger pay cuts than the ordinary Joes – surely some mistake.
Across the river wandered around what seemed to be a cross between a festival, charity event and car boot sale.
We were told this was an annual local festival.
It also involved groups in different costumes pulling and pushing wooden floats across the park with others on top and inside the floats singing and chanting and bashing away at drums, bells and cymbals,
Barrels of sake (rice wine) featured on the floats. This is a traditional offering to Gidd/deities.
The entrance to the park featured row upon row of bikes – all without locks.
In fact we have only seen one girl using a bike lock – despite quite expensive bikes – including ones with electric motors – being left in their tens if thousands in bike parks at businesses, stations, parks, schools etc.
It is also normal for people to ride their bikes on the pavement.
Solar panels and electric or hybrid cars are everywhere.
Hope all the energy saved doing this isn’t lost on the power used to run toilets that wash, clean and dry.







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