I've been recording Consadole Sapporo's scores since the Japanese soccer season began in March, but now that Greenock Morton are finished for 2012-13, it's time to look at the Hokkaido club in more detail.
Consadole compete in the J League Division 2 after being relegated from Division 1 at the end of last season. The name Consadole is possibly the most ingenius and nutty portmanteau of Japanese soccer, combining an anagram of the Japanese name for the people of Hokkaido, Dosanko, with the Spanish cheer Ole. The club started in 1935 as a Toshiba company team in Kawasaki, Kanagawa Prefecture, but moved to Sapporo in 1996. They have been up in Division 1 twice, but have never won any of the big trophies. They play in the 41,484-seat Sapporo Dome, which they share with baseball franchise Nippon Ham Fighters of the Pacific League. They wear red and black stripes.
Last year in Division 1 they earned only 14 points, the worst finish ever in that league. Read an analysis here.
So far this season they've played 14 games, won six, drawn one, and lost seven, for 19 points and 12th place out of 22. The team is made up entirely of Japanese players, except for two South Koreans and two Brazilians, Paulao and Telê.
Today they host Tokyo Verdy. [FT: 1 - 1.]
The SFL playoffs finish today. Dunfermline and Alloa are playing the second leg of their home-and-home series to see who will make it to the First Division 2013-14. Alloa won the first leg 3 - 0 Wednesday. A few weeks ago I made the case for Dunfermline spending a year in the Second Division. But of course it could be more, because Rangers are most likely to win that division next. Dunfermline might be facing a wander through the lower leagues like Morton's of 2001 to 2007. [Dunfermline win the game 1 - 0, but lose on aggregate and are relegated. Alloa will play in the First Division.]
Chelsea won the Europa League Final Wednesday. This being soccer, the 2013-14 Europa League begins in little over a month. I'll follow the Icelandic and Scottish clubs as far as they can get.
Tomorrow ÍBV host Iceland's oldest football club, and present-day league leaders, KR, which is short for Knattspyrnufélag Reykjavíkur. At the moment ÍBV are tied for second place with Fimleikafélag Hafnarfjarðar. On Thursday ÍBV visited FH and played to a 1 - 1 draw. [ÍBV 0 - 2 KR.]
This bridge across the Abashiri River has been decked out with potted flowers -- lots of them. And folk are keeping them watered. What is going on? Is it a festival? Is there a royal visit? Go to Google Maps and drive around Abashiri (north coast of Hokkaido) and see if you can come up with an explanation.
If you are searching through 19th-century photographic images of Japan and you encounter the description Stillfried, it doesn't mean the picture was developed using some kind of tempura process, but that it came from the studio of Raimund Stillfried von Rathenitz, an Austrian photographer active in Yokohama from the 1860s to 1880s. The photo of the two kendoka, above, is from the collection of Canadian Centre for Architecture in Montreal.
Sight at Ochanomizu (1880) by Kiyochika Kobayashi. Source.
There are many places in Japan which are famous for fireflies, -- places which people visit in summer merely to enjoy the sight of the fireflies. Anciently the most celebrated of all such places was a little valley near Ishiyama, by the lake of Ōmi. It is still called Hotaru-Dani, or the Valley of Fireflies. Before the Period of Genroku (1688-1703), the swarming of the fireflies in this valley, during the sultry season, was accounted one of the natural marvels of the country. The fireflies of the Hotaru-Dani are still celebrated for their size; but that wonderful swarming of them, which old writers described, is no longer to be seen there. At present the most famous place for fireflies is in the neighbourhood of Uji, in Yamashiro. Uji, a pretty little town in the centre of the celebrated tea-district, is situated on the Ujigawa, and is scarcely less famed for its fireflies than for its teas. Every summer special trains run from Kyōtō and Ōsaka to Uji, bringing thousands of visitors to see the fireflies. But it is on the river, at a point several miles from the town, that the great spectacle is to be witnessed, -- the Hotaru-Kassen, or Firefly Battle. The stream there winds between hills covered with vegetation; and myriads of fireflies dart from either bank, to meet and cling above the water. At moments they so swarm together as to form what appears to the eye like a luminous cloud, or like a great ball of sparks. The cloud soon scatters, or the ball drops and breaks upon the surface of the current, and the fallen fireflies drift glittering away; but another swarm quickly collects in the same locality. People wait all night in boats upon the river to watch the phenomenon. After the Hotaru-Kassen is done, the Ujikawa, covered with the still sparkling bodies of the drifting insects, is said to appear like the Milky Way, or, as the Japanese more poetically call it, the River of Heaven.
From Lafcadio Hearn, "Fireflies", in Kottō (1902), pages 142-4.
What boggles my mind about the world of five million years ago is that there were horses, dogs and elephants running around, but countries like Japan, Italy and Panama hadn't finished raising out of the sea. See here for a guide to how the Japanese archipelago formed.
Oh! Just discovered Jiro Takidaira. He practiced kiri-e or cut paper picture making, an art somewhere between manga and woodcut. This changes everything. See here. And here for an article about the discovery of a batch of his sketches, which were normally cut up in the picture-making process. And here.