Monday, 3 July 2006

Well thank goodness that’s over and done with.

So, once again England fail to show the necessary class against handy but, let’s face it, not exactly superior opposition. Was it the mind games that didn’t work? Are the team just mentally not strong enough? Who knows... Can we take any positives from it all? Well, some of the news members of the squad did well, and some of the senior pros played well in places, but once again it was the old England failing of not all playing well for the whole game, or series of games, really. To be without you captain obviously doesn’t help, but then again there should have been enough quality on display to overcome that and put the game away. But again we failed when the pressure got too much. Have we learnt anything from it all? Well, play your strongest team in the positions they play day-in, day-out would be a start. Have a plan B would be another. But, at the end of the day, I don’t think we’re going to have too many international teams quaking in their boots right now, especially the Australians, who we visit this winter, or indeed the Pakistanis, who are next up. So, on the whole a bit of a debacle for the tour, but well done Sri Lanka and their 5-0 drubbing of the England cricket team.

Oh, and apparently something similar happened in the football, but that wasn’t exactly unexpected, now was it?

And it comes to a pretty pass when I have to rely on a Scottish tennis player for a bit of sporting relief (though as I type Mr Murray may well have been knocked out of Wimbledon already).

Life in Japan carries on apace, as it is wont to do. Nice to see the Kool Kid over in the US of A, making a bit of a fool of himself by pretending to be Elvis. Now personally I have nothing against trying to be Elvis, indeed I have be known to do the odd song by the ‘king’ during a karaoke evening, mainly as these are the types of songs that just about anyone (i.e. me) can sing without sounding totally off-key/rhythm/timing/tone/pitch/etc as I normally do when attempting to sing. But to do it on national news tv and, at the same time, making GWBush look less of a prat than normal, well, it doesn’t really project the image of a senior politico figurehead. But then again, why not, I suppose? The Kid is off later this year, retiring with grace to do who knows what, so why not enjoy his last few months in the job, organise a few foreign trips at the taxpayer’s expense, he won’t get them any more, after all. I feel sure that the Kid went to the land of the free to discuss something along political lines, but I’m buggered if I can remember seeing anything in the papers about new accords being signed. I remember seeing GW saying “buy our beef, it’s great”, but if his level of senility is anything to go by, I would not be buying any slightly dangerous foodstuff that he recommends.

The real issue is that the whole country is waiting for him to go so they can get on with the life. It is a bit like the whole Blair-Brown sage going on the UK, though at least we know when the Kid is off (well, when I say ‘we know’ I mean we know in a general sense of ‘later this year’, but truth be told I can’t recollect right now when this might be). Anyway as I wrote about once before a number of bigwigs are doing their bouffant best to position themselves in their ‘what me, take over from the Kid? The thought never crossed my mind…but now that you mention it’ pose. Still no one wants to come out and say that yes, they want to do it, but I suppose that isn’t the way its done in this neck of the woods – a bit more back room back scratching to do just now, then, just as someone shouts ‘look over there’, we’ll find we have a new PM whilst no one was looking.

But talking of PMs, as we were, it was sad to see Ryutaro Hashimoto pop his clogs at the weekend. Hashimoto was the PM when I first came to Japan in 1996 so I’ve always had a certain affinity for him. If the Kid is the Elvis of the Japanese politic world, the Hashimoto was the Bryan Ferry. If you’re wondering quite what I mean by that, it wasn’t that he was a brilliantly avant-garde muso or a stylish and contemporary dresser in white dinner jackets. No, he just had really greasy looking hair. But still, it meant that he stood out from most politicos as most only have quite greasy hair, and not a great deal of it, but old Hashimoto had a startling head of hair slicked back with a day’s worth of OPEC production. He did two years as PM, which wasn’t bad in the post war years, but again a reason to like him was that he was the chap accused of taking bungs from the political division of the Japan Dentist’s Association, which again I wrote about here I mean, if you’re going to take bribes, sorry donation, from a service industry, dentists are as good as any, and they’re rich, and you might get some decent dental care out of it.

And what with ‘Fiery’ F.S. Trueman shuffling off this mortal coil, it was a bit of a weekend, all told.

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