Return To J1 Football Team’s Forgotten Secondary Stadium

On the back of a hugely successful Rugby World Cup 2019, there was a lot of anticipation about this year’s Top League which began in January. Until the Corona Virus hit, I was planning on going to see some games and one club I was interested in watching was NEC Green Rockets just because I had seen them play in Tokyo against Johnny Wilkinson’s Newcastle Falcons way back in 2005. Little did I know that they were a Chiba-based team and occasionally play some home games at a stadium in Kashiwa. Not the Hitachi Stadium though!

NEC Green Rockets at the old National Stadium in 2005

Many J-League clubs have secondary stadiums which might be used for so-called lesser games such as friendlies, League Cup matches or in some cases because the Continue reading

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Review: Films Set In Japan – Stopover Tokyo (1957)

An American intelligence agent is sent to Tokyo to track down a Communist spy ring is the blurb but if I hadn’t read that beforehand then I probably wouldn’t have been aware of such a thing! For an espionage film, there is very little action throughout the entirety of this 100 minute film.

 

Warning: Contains Spoilers!

Mark Fannon (Robert Wagner) is supposedly on his way from San Francisco to Seoul when he is told that he has to stay in Tokyo because he Continue reading

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Interesting Japanese Playground Structures #24

Many of the parks and children’s playgrounds in Japan, particularly in Tokyo, are quite poor compared to other countries in terms of space, surroundings and a lack of grass. However, a handful of them do tend to possess extremely creative structures and they will be explored in this series.

Nickname: Rocket Park

Location: Continue reading

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Tokyo Daytripper: The Tsukuba Expo Center Has A Lot Of “Space” Devoted To It!

Ibaraki Prefecture often gets forgotten about for day trips from Tokyo but thanks to the Tsukuba Express Line train it’s really easy and quick to get to Tsukuba. It’s not the cheapest of lines but it’s worth it for getting to this eastern outpost of the Kanto region. 42 minutes from Kita Senju is all it takes.

Mount Tsukuba is probably the biggest draw of the area but there’s plenty of other things to see and do in Japan’s science city. It’s home to a number of national research institutes but there’s only so much discovery and information that my brain can take, particularly when it comes to science which was always my weakest subject at school. I opted to go to Tsukuba Expo Center on this visit but a short distance north of there was something else I wanted to check out quickly. Matsumi Park has an observation tower jutting out of it’s lake which costs just ¥100 to go up.

 

I had already seen the twin peaks of Mount Tsukuba earlier that morning but it looked even more splendid from this look-out point. The Expo Center lies just Continue reading

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#WeStopAtNothing! Platform Zeros In Japan, Z Stations In Tokyo & The Opening Of A New Yamanote Line Station

For about a decade now I’ve always been impressed by the sight of a Platform 0. There’s something slightly mystical and Harry Potter-like about such platforms and one has to wonder why some stations have them whether it be because it’s been added on that particular side of Platform 1 or just because they began their numbering from zero!

Whenever I’ve come across one in Japan I’ve taken photos of it so was very interested to see Geoff Marshall’s tweets and YouTube video (Watch it here) late last year about the seven Platform Zeros in Britain. By contrast there are a whopping 43 in Japan across 24 prefectures so the idea of going round them all in a day (or three!) is definitely out of the question. Just two of them are in Tokyo and they are less than ten kilometres apart.

First up is Ayase Station on the Chiyoda Metro Line. Their Platform 0 is solely used for taking passengers from there to Kita Ayase Station which is the line terminus and seems to be out on a limb on the Subway route map. Ayase can also be accessed via the JR Joban Line which uses the same platforms for it’s trains.

 

If you’ve ever taken the Keisei Main Line from Narita Airport, then there’s a fair chance you have arrived on Platform 0 at Continue reading

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Pilgrimmage To Find A Religious Cult Building In Ibaraki Prefecture (+ Details Of 4 Others In Japan)

Shinto (the ethnic religion of Japanese people) and Buddhism are the two major religions in Japan. Confucianism and Christianity have a fair few followers if I can be so vague. Religious organisations founded since the middle of the 19th century are considered to be “new religions” in Japan so it means there is a great diversity and number of them.

 

Back in August last year I made huge efforts in cycling to a Mahikari place on the Izu Peninsula. In response to that a subscriber told me of a similar one from the same kind of cult organisation in Ibaraki Prefecture so on a recent trip to Tsukuba City I took a slight detour to see if I could find it. For the record, Continue reading

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TF Recipes #5 – Red Caviar On Toast

The least regular series is back on Tokyo Fox for the first time in six years, and a decade on from the inaugural TF Recipes post! I actually had the idea to do this particular “dish” many, many years ago now but then forgot all about it until very recently.

No need to go to a galaxy far, far away to find these ingredients!

Red caviar a.k.a. salmon roe (ikura in Japanese – a word which is also used to ask how much something is which leads to a whole host of hilarious jokes every time the word is used!) is one of the more commonly less appealing types of sushi for those from abroad. I just hated it’s appearance during my initial years in Japan. I had tasted it a few times and did think it was ok but was just put-off by the look of it. Many years on and I Continue reading

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