A Long & Steep Ride To Check Out The Cycle Racing Track Which Will Be Used At Tokyo 2020


Tokyo may be the host city for next Summer’s Olympic Games but there are a few events taking place in other prefectures of Japan such as:

Shooting – Asaka (Saitama); Golf – Kasumigaseki Country Club (Saitama); Surfing – Tsurigasaki (Chiba); Fencing & Taekwondo – Makuhari Messe (Chiba); Sailing – Enoshima Yacht Harbour (Kanagawa); Baseball – Yokohama & Fukushima; Football – Sapporo, Sendai, Kashima, Saitama & Yokohama; Cycling – Fuji Speedway & Izu Velodrome (Shizuoka)

The latter is where I’ll be for some of the track cycling action assuming I can actually get there! I say that as this really is a difficult place to get to without a car. No train stations are close to the Velodrome so Continue reading

Posted in Japan Travel, Sport | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Highs & Lows Of Watching England’s First Match At The Rugby World Cup In Sapporo


In November 2003 it was only my second day in Japan when England beat Australia to win the Rugby World Cup Final. That night out in Roppongi proved to be a hugely memorable night. 16 years on and I now have another unforgettable experience of watching England in Japan but this time I was there to see it unfold in person in the same stadium where Beckham’s penalty defeated Argentina in 2002.

I really didn’t think Sapporo Dome was the kind of place I’d ever go to twice but after failing so often to get tickets in the pre-tournament ballots I had to set my sights much further afield. First I got a ticket for a later group match in Shizuoka and then I realised that it wouldn’t actually cost too much more to Continue reading

Posted in Sport | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

One Of Japan’s Most Beautiful Beaches Plus A Dilapidated Castle, A Loop Road & Shizuoka Cola


The weather forecast for the August Obon holiday was rather unpredictable to say the least. Pretty much everyday was meant to be rainy or stormy if you believe what the apps tell you! I had to basically just wake up and see what it was like each day and then make a decision.

It was baking hot one morning so I decided to head down the line to Izukyu-Shimoda Station. There were a couple of places I wanted to see but as the sun was shining so brightly I thought it would be nice to spend a bit of time at what is often regarded as one of Japan’s most beautiful beaches.

Typically as the bus moved down the coast Continue reading

Posted in Japan Travel, Quirky Japan | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Dining Out: A Restaurant That Only Sells Canned Food!

Think of canned food and the likes of spam, tuna, corned beef and sardines comes to mind but the ones on sale at this quirky bar are a far cry from those classics.

A few years ago the Rambling Northerner and I dined out in fine style at a vending machine stand in Shimbashi after our trip to see the horse racing in Fuchu. One of the comments on that post on social media recommended a restaurant/bar where they only served canned food.

It’s been on my “to do” list ever since then and three years on I finally got round to going there having managed to Continue reading

Posted in Food & Drink, Quirky Japan | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Taking A Bicycle On A Train In Japan – It It Actually Allowed?

When I got a new bike (second-hand from a friend) last October I was aware that it could be folded in half and started to get excited about the possibility of taking it on a train which would open up more possibilities for me as the kind of places I often go to are sometimes very far from the nearest stations. Sadly the alum key just spun round and round as the groove had eroded away so that idea was soon killed off.

The idea of putting it in a bag and just taking it on the regular train then entered my mind. Unlike in London or Melbourne or wherever, you can’t just wheel your bike onto a train in Tokyo. No surprise really given how overly-packed they are. However, it seems you can take it on if you make it more compact and bag it up.

What could it be I wonder!!

I was told by my bikes previous owner Matt a few days before this trip that it’s fine to take it on the train as long as you get Continue reading

Posted in Cycling, Japan Travel, Quirky Japan | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments

On The Fox Trail……At Sasuke Inari Shrine (Kanagawa)

One of the comments in the last ‘On The Fox Trail…’ post alerted me to this wonderful shrine in Kanagawa Prefecture. Despite having been to Kamakura on numerous occasions over the years I was completely oblivious to the fox shrine so a big thanks to Mister Malcontent for introducing it to me. It seems that it’s quite famous but in an area littered with dozens and dozens (hundreds??) of shrines and temples it’s maybe all too easy to miss out on a few interesting ones.

Ever since finding out about it I have been wanting to go and see it with my own eyes but I didn’t really feel like making a trip to Kamakura just to see this one place. A trip to my parents-in-law’s place on the second day of my August holiday provided the opportunity to stop off en-route. Sasuke Inari Shrine is located between Continue reading

Posted in Japan Travel, Quirky Japan | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Japan & South Africa Meet For The First Time Since “That” Huge Shock In 2015


It was one of the biggest upsets in sporting history and helped propel rugby into the consciousness of a nation where the game had often just been a footnote on sports bulletins. I am of course talking about Japan’s incredible last gasp 34-32 win over the mighty South Africa in their opening match of the 2015 Rugby World Cup in England.

Yours truly watched the opening minutes of that game and saw Japan go 3-0 up and then tweeted something along the lines of enjoy this while it lasts as it’s gonna be a big defeat eventually. Ha! What a plonker and I woke up to quite a few replies the next morning making fun of me!

That was then though and this is now. I tried to get tickets for a couple of the Brave Blossoms’ games in the World Cup but Continue reading

Posted in Sport | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments