Sunday, 15 June 2003

Le Weekend

So it has been a couple of days since the last update and I know that everyone is dying to hear what's been going on. Well Friday was a DoS meeting where my new position was announced to the world at large, well, the other DoSs, and I can say that is was received. That's about all I can say really. Indifference could be another way, or with boredom. But who cares. I also found out who else applied for it and am still a little surprised that I got it (although I could go for a big dose of hubris and say something about the quality of the opposition, but that would not be fair). Otherwise the meeting was on the dull side, which is not surprising as they usually are - would they be better with some genuine discussion rather than stale dissemination of information? I think so, give people some ownership of decisions, that sort of thing. But that is not how the company works, more's the pity. Beers afterward were fun, and there was me trying to convince Minako, myself and my conscience that I woud not be drinking after the meeting...yeah right.

Saturday was, of course, the epic All Blacks-England match from Wellington. Now let's be honest, it was a pretty awful game. It wasn't helped by an absolutely shocking referee - hold your head in Australian shame, Stuart Dickinson - but both teams had a bad day at the office. Luckily England's real strength, their defence, did hold out and therefore we won. In the end we had 9 people over, including 2 Kiwis, so the atmosphere was most convivial and not a small amount of beer was consumed. I feel sure that I am the first gaijin that has lived in this block, so it may have come as a bit of a surprise to the other Japanese residents to hear a very vocal bunch of foreigners bellowing at the tv for 2 hours - and there was an awful lot of bellowing.

Now, of course, is Le Mans time. I am sitting here at 130pm listining to the 630am update - Go Bentley Go! - live from the race. As with the cricket, live sport from the other side of the world. Isn't that fab! The proposed messenger conference never seemed to take place around start time, I think this may have been something to do with the amount of beer and/or cotes du rhone being consumed in various corners of the world. Let us now consider Japanese sports coverage.

TV Asahi are really into motorsports and Le Mans in particular. Because the race started late in this part of the world, at 11pm, TV Asahi decided to show 7 hours of uninterrupted coverage. "Great" says the motorsports enthusiast. But this is Japan, of course. The show has to be hosted by a 'talent', which is Japanese shorthand for small young fit girl who knows nothing about [insert show's focus here]. So with the race starting at 11pm, the first actually footage of racing is shown at 1120...the first lap and a half or so, then it is back to the studio for some more brainlessness. Then a 30 minute section about Japanese cars racing this year (basically the Team Goh Audi, but a bit about the Taisen Porsche), then back to the circuit for another lap and a half, then back to the studio. Doh! Not once in about 2 hours did they go through positions or anything like that. I had to give up, although the alcohol was doing it's nefarious best at this point. Minako said TV Asahi needed a 'talent' to get people to watch, or something like that. But surely that can't be right as the only people who are going to watch live Le Mans coverage at 2am are the people that really want to watch the racing and who don't give a toss about the studio, i.e me. I just don't think they get it. In another example of this craziness, the Champions League football final coverage started an hour and a half before kick off, showing various things. It was scheduled to stop at 6am, a time that didn't really take into consideration the fact that there may be extra time and penalties. So just when this match actually got interesting, the coverage stopped and we went to the news! So why on earth did we need an hour and a half of crap first. Anyway, luckily I did not watch it so it didn't really bother me, but I did want to watch Le Mans.

So there we go. I shall continue to sit here and listen to the fab radio le mans coverage and wait, without bated breath, for the 11pm Le Mans show on TV Asahi - great scheduling that, let's start the coverage after the race has finished - bizarre, like most things in this country

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