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Written on: Monday December 5th, 2011

A journal entry from: November 2011 until...

Week 1 in Tokyo was a fairly laid back affair. I'm not a big auto-fan, but probably for the same reason that I like old sci-fi, I find 'concept cars' to be pretty cool. The Tokyo Motor Show had plenty, but it wasn't always clear what the concept was. 

I also spent a bit of time in Akihabara - the place for all things electronic, and quite a few things strange. For example the cafe opened by AKB48 - the eponymous 48 member girl band. 

Update 18 December - great weekend  - Nisenmondai's musical mayhem and Messi's magic. 

To expand on that Messi magic a bit... I headed down to Yokohama Stadium with more than a touch of nostalgia - I was there 9 years previously for the World Cup final (watching not playing). I only had my 'Ticket Please" sign up for about 5 mintues before a family sold whose daughter couldn't come because she was ill. Poor her - lucky me - it was a fantastic Category 1 seat so I had a great view of the most amazing footballing display that I have seen.

The match had the right amount of counting for something (the Club World Championship) without the tension of a major tournament (Barcelona got a bye into the semi-finals, otherwise there was no way they would have come). 

The last time I was at the stadium my expectations were sky high and they were more than exceeded - in terms of spectacle, emotion and a sense of history. This time the same could be said for my expectations in a footballing sense. Barcelona were great and Messi lived up to his billing and then some. I have never seen anyone run at defenders with such gay abandon and confidence, practically every time her got the ball. Breathtaking. 

So this ends Tokyo Part I - On Sunday we'll head off towards Kyushu via Nagano and Kobe, all by local trains using the 'seishin 18 kippu'. I'm sure I'll explain more about what that is at a later date. For now it means a lot of slow train rides ahead!