Day Trip To The Toyota Stadium!

Nagoya Grampus Eight (as they were known back then) were the first team I knew of in the J-League back in the early 90’s when Leicester’s favourite son Gary Lineker announced he was moving to Japan. A few years later the team name was heard yet again in England when Arsene Wenger left them to become the new Arsenal manager.

When I first arrived in Japan I even thought I might support Grampus but things never quite panned out like that and I ended up becoming a fan of Kashiwa Reysol who were my local team back then. However, visiting the home stadium of Grampus (a different one to where Lineker played at) was still something I wanted to do and for a long time it’s been on my Japan bucket list.

Over the last few years I’ve been to many grounds around the country (including some very far flung ones) but Nagoya has always eluded me. The trip to see Gamba Osaka at the end of April reignited my interest in going to some of the further bigger stadiums and so I scanned the fixture list to see when was good for Nagoya. Continue reading

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On Screen #9 – Russia

With Russia hosting this years FIFA World Cup there is a lot of focus on the nation which is famed for vodka, bears, mineral fuels, matryoshka (stacking dolls) and drugs! A fair few international productions have taken place in Russia with the vast majority of them including Moscow Airport scenes and Red Square footage. Countless TV productions of Leo Tolstoy classics like ‘War & Peace‘ and ‘Anna Karenina‘ have been set in Russia but this particular On Screen post will focus on how the country has been portrayed in film whether it be real, or faked somewhere cheaper and easier.


A whole host of action movies have been played out in the world’s biggest country and pretty much all of them have featured Russians as the baddies! That’s certainly been the case in James Bond films where there have been numerous Russian antagonists. Put Russia and James Bond together and most minds will probably think of ‘From Russia With Love‘ (1963) but that Continue reading

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Just Look At The Size Of This Train Station In Aichi Prefecture

There are a few dozen different types of densha otaku (train nerds) in Japan ranging from platform melodies to station lunch-boxes to the stations and trains themselves. I really don’t think I fall into any of the categories or maybe they ALL apply to me as I am ever keen to seek out anything which I consider to be interesting and this is one such instance.

If you thought Kamiyagi Station in Hiroshima prefecture was small, then that’s nothing when compared with this one Continue reading

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Less Than 24 Hours In Nagoya……Again!!

At the end of my ‘Sightseeing In Nagoya‘ post in January last year I vowed that I would return with my wife next time. 17 months later and I was back in Nagoya but yet again she was not with me due to her work commitments. Furthermore, it was another trip to this city for just one night on the back of seven or eight hours in Kyoto having began the day by getting up at 4am in Osaka.


I didn’t waste any time on my arrival in Nagoya and headed south straight away to Continue reading

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A Giant Maneki-Neko Watches Over This Japanese City

The maneki-neko is a Japanese figurine often seen in or at the entrance of shops, restaurants, pachinko parlours, and other such businesses with the idea that it’s believed to bring good luck to the owner. They are often fairly small and usually made of ceramic or plastic. Some of them have a battery-powered slow-moving paw beckoning customers to enter the place. The cat temple at Gotokuji in Tokyo is absolutely packed full of these cat figurines and this particular town, lying on the western coast of the Chita Peninsula in southern Aichi Prefecture, has also taken the idea a step further!

Just under ten minutes walk from Continue reading

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Hotei Great Buddha In Kōnan City


There’s something alluring about buddha statues for me and, despite not being in any way religious, I’m always happy to see them. The bigger the better too! I heard about this one last year and it was my priority destination during my fairly limited time in Nagoya recently. Hotei Station lies on the Continue reading

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Interesting Japanese Playground Structures #13

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: Whale Park

Location: Continue reading

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