Plain Talk


Rugby World Cup Japan! by Kaguaki Yamauch

It’s Official, Some games for the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan are SOLD OUT! You can still get some tickets to smaller games but if you want any of the the top ten nations, TOO LATE! I tried to get Wales v Australia, but that sold out quickly, luckily I also wanted to visit Kumagaya and the games there are not so popular, or expensive. I have been waiting for this for over a decade! Japan, the country that has not missed a single Rugby World cup, which bankrolled the first world cup, and has the most clubs per capita of any nation in the world, has finally wrestled the Web-Ellis Cup away from the “Traditional rugby powers” to have it played in Asia. ABOUT TIME!

This should be good for Rugby, proving its a world-wide game, Good for rugby in Japan, and if we are lucky, Good for Rugby in all asia, (though thanks to short sightedness from the IRB, Japan is the only asian team guaranteed a spot, breaking with previous RWC where Asia had an automatic qualifier, along with the host nation). What’s more, Japan will host this easily!

Despite a headache over the stadium for the closing game, Japan has the grounds, the public transport and tourist infrastructure that bests any other nation in the world! Getting from your clean, business hotel by train to the well staffed venues will be easy for any foreign tourist. And Rugby tourism is big money! More money than an Olympics or Soccer world cup, any restaurant or shop that can get the English signs up will make a killing!

I remember the Soccer world cup, the atmosphere and volunteers amazing. So I am trying to find a weekend I can go to Tokyo and see two games back to back. Any games, I don’t care if it is Namibia V Uruguay, any game is good at the RWC. I shall find a nice Ryokan somewhere in Tokyo, and then head off to Mito for a day to visit my old bar, the Drunken Duck, maybe over to Gunma to see my old Rugby team, and will find any diner that sells proper Japanese Curry Rice! I won't’ be alone, there will be a lot of us, so get ready for a party.




サッカーワールドカップについて思い出すが、雰囲気やボランティアはすばらしかった。そこで僕は東京に行ける週末を探して、連続2試合を観戦しようと思う。どこの試合でも、ナミビア対ウルグアイでも構わない。ラグビーワールド━カップならどこの国の試合でも楽しめる。東京でいい旅館を予約して、水戸にある馴染みのDrunken Duckに行こう。おそらく群馬まで足を延ばして昔のラクビーチームに会いに行って、そしたら日本式正当カレーライスを食べに行こう。ひとりじゃない。仲間がいるんだから、おおいに盛り上がろう。

Plain Talk


Tokyo Nightlife by Angus Watson

I had heard wonderful tales of the nightlife in Tokyo. The images that sprung to mind were neon lights of Katakana script with fashionably dressed crowds milling around beneath. Ever since alighting at Haneda on Tuesday, I was eagerly awaiting the opportunity to dive into this washing up bowl of music and art.

Friday came and the opportunity presented itself. VENT was the venue. Located in western Minato-ku, it was a short walk from Shibuya station. Walking through the streets, my preconceived idea of Tokyo nightlife seemed to be confirmed. A skate-boarder dressed in baggy mauve corduroys and a BAPE hoodie of the same tone swirled by. I looked up and sure enough saw Katakana cascading down. The assault on the senses was from all around.

The entry to VENT is anonymous. After climbing some steps, you move forwards into a dark alley. This is not a path you would take on a whim. Suddenly, the bright lights of Tokyo are only a memory.

The bouncer, standing in shadow, asks for ID. He places a yellow sticker on the camera of your phone. You then plunge down a concrete passageway into Tokyo’s subterranean.

At first, I questioned the relatively high entry fee of ¥3,500. However, the bar itself is justification for the price.

The counter sits on the left: a Star Trek-esque slit in a giant face of concrete. The ceilings reach eight metres high; again, the solid grey of concrete looms over you. Turning to your right, the centre-piece of the room takes your breath away. A large tree, its branches brushing the ceiling, stands proud on a raised platform. Waist high pillars surround it acting as tables for smokers. A carefully placed light illuminates the small green leaves whilst the remainder of the room is in shadow.

To reach Room 1, you walk between two tall concrete columns and are plunged into darkness. The DJ stands on a platform with the crowd in front of him. Sparse lasers tastefully glide across the dancefloor.

Another small bar/dance area on the left as you first enter the club serves as a decent break from the main dancefloor but is otherwise not a key part of the night.

Importantly, VENT is the antithesis of what I believed Tokyo nightlife to be. Shadows take priority here with little regard for neon colours. The sound quality matched the design with no area of the main room leaving you feeling let down. The crowd was respectful and friendly. Coming from London nightlife that notoriously attracts ‘punters’ it felt extremely refreshing.

Let's go out after confirming the schedule .

What’s App With You?


Google Photos:

Luckily, there are lots of easy ways to back up your digital or analogue snaps, and one of the best is using Google Photos. If you’re looking to make a cloud-based archive of your digital or analogue snaps, this could be it. Google Photos is a cloud-based archive for photos and video that can you access either via a web browser or your smartphone via an Android or iOS app. Sounds like Google Drive or Dropbox, right? While there are similarities, Photos is less a folder-based filing cabinet and more a giant photo album with basic editing tools and clever machine learning. It’s this machine learning that gives Photos its eerily good search abilities – and a slight edge over the likes


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Tokyo Voice Column


What’s in a name! by Peter Empson

One of the unusual things about Japanese is that they like to be called something, an example of this is the term “Announcer” which is used on TV, one presenter will introduce a fellow “Announcer” as for example "Kobayashi Announcer", it does not take many brain cells to realise that his or her job is an for example an NHK announcer, so why do they need to put the tag on.

In the work place we have such terms a Bucho, Shachou, Kakaricho, translated as General Manager, President and Section Chief, in a Japanese company the staff will call them their business title and not their family name even in a social environment, for me as a foreigner when I was going into clients works or meetings, they would call me Empson-san, but I always insisted on the informal, being call Peter-san was more comfortable.

The one Japanese title that really gets me is the term “Senshu” which translated means “player” or “team member”, this word applies to all aspects of sport, during a TV commentary they will always refer to the player as say Osaka-senshu, the now new Australian Open Tennis Champion, WHY!, it is obvious to the viewer that these athletes are “playing” their sport, be it Football, Tennis, Athletics etc, but what’s in a name, the title gives them status and the one thing Japanese like is status, or as a Japanese friend said, they like the feeling of “power” and by giving a title name it set’s them above normal people, this also applies to wearing lapel badges such as Lawyers and Lawmakers wear, it set’s them apart.

But nothing will change as it is part of the culture in Japan and has been for hundreds of years, so we foreigners must accept it and probably like me wonder why it ever came about.





Strange but True


Having a bit of fun?

It's not everyday you see a flight attendant inside a plane’s overhead luggage compartment - but stunned passengers on a US flight witnessed exactly that. Bizarre footage shows a female flight attendant inside the plane’s overhead compartment on a Southwest Airlines flight from Nashville to Philadelphia in the US. She's seen resting on her side and stomach, with her feet hanging out of the compartment. When passengers board the plane the flight attendant starts to talk before the video cuts off. But Southwest say she was just 'having a bit of fun' with the passengers. Wonder what else they do to 'have a bit of fun' when passengers are not there…

How far would you go?

Having a decent snooze while on a flight is notoriously difficult. Unless, of course, you're living your best life in First Class… This photo on an Instagram account shows how far people would go to get some sleep on a flight. In the image, one of the fliers lying across a row of three seats. As for his travelling companion, one is seen lying on the floor below him, trying to catch some 'zzzs'. Followers of the account were horrified, especially as some believed it was a woman lying in the footwell. "What's more obvious for me here is the fact the guy is on the comfier seats and the girl is on the floor!" But mostly it was the cleanliness aspect which horrified people the most. How far would you go?

50 Shades of Yikess