The Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden currently has on display an exhibition of katagami, paper kimono stencils, selected from a trove of 15,000 recently rediscovered after 125 years in storage. (Via.)
It's the Emperor's Cup Final: Gamba Osaka meet Montedio Yamagata at International Stadium Yokohama. J1 side Gamba are favourites to win; so let's pull for Montedio, who have the double attraction of belonging to the lower league and of being from Tohoku, which in Japanese means the back of beyond.
There are 47 prefectures in Japan, and 52 clubs in the J League. Does it follow that every prefecture has at least one club in J1, J2 or J3? No. Kanagawa Prefecture, part of metropolitan Tokyo, has six. The thirteen prefectures of Aomori, Ishikawa, Fukui, Shiga, Mie, Nara, Wakayama, Shimane, Yamaguchi, Kagawa, Kochi, Kagoshima and Miyazaki together have zero. Or make that twelve, because Renofa Yamaguchi have just been promoted from the JFL to J3 for 2015. And it looks like Nara, Kagoshima and Aomori will be in J3 too before too long. I'll look at the whole expansion mechanism, and the 100 Year Plan, in more depth when the 2015 season starts in March.
[Gamba Osaka 3 - 1 Montedio Yamagata.] [Moment of reverence.]
Meanwhile in Scotland it's Morton versus Brechin at Cappielow in League One action. Brechin won their first meeting 3 - 1. Morton are in fourth place and Brechin fifth.
[2 - 2. A draw! Morton goals by J. McCluskey and McManus. Morton are in third place.]
The most extreme League One matchup takes place today: Peterhead versus Stranraer. The towns are 219 miles apart as the crow flies, and it's pure stupidity on the part of the SPFL that supporters should have to drive that far and all the way back to see it, or so I've read on Twitter. (The distance from Peterhead to Stavanger as the gull flies is 292 miles. The distance from Stranraer to Galway is 195 miles, as the curlew flies.) [Stranraer win 1 - 4.]
Yesterday Rangers' manager Ally McCoist handed in his resignation; it was rejected*; then Queen of the South beat Rangers 2 - 0. QoS could be the ones going up next year.
*Or, rather, it takes a year to come into effect, during which he gets a pay raise. That club is run, after all, by financial geniuses.
Thursday in Europa League group stage play: Dinamo Zagreb 4 - 3 Celtic. But Celtic have already qualified for the next round.
It's the semi-finals of the 2014 Emperor's Cup. No matter who wins today the result will be a J1 versus J2 final, the sixth time in cup history a second-flight club has made the final. The games:
Gamba Osaka (J1) versus Shimizu S-Pulse (J1), at Ajinomoto Stadium in Tokyo.
JEF United Chiba (J2) versus Montedio Yamagata (J2) at Nagai Stadium in Osaka.
JEF United have won the Cup four times, though always under their earlier name Furukawa Electric. Gamba have won it three times (once as Matsushita Electric Industrial). S-Pulse have won once, and Montedio never.
The Japanese women's hockey team remember to bow to each other after scoring. They have beaten out the Czechs to earn the eighth spot in the coming women's world championship, which will be held in Malmö at the end of March. Photo by Toshinobu Himori, via IIHF Twitter feed.