June 12th, 2006

[ waldo ]


More shenanigans involving Chinese geography Saturday night, as Yuko and Aya hosted their second evening of dinner and mahjong in the past fortnight. In addition to seeing Takashi and Yumiko - the former from my archaeology class, the latter from the university's international student council - I also met Angela and her boyfriend.

Yuko will be travelling to China in a week's time, and during dinner Angela wanted to know where she'll be staying for her trip. The reply was that she'll be in Kunming (昆明), the capital of Yunnan Province, which led to Angela's boyfriend - an international student from Japan - asking if that wasn't near Angela's home city. Angela pointed out how Yunnan is in the southwest of China while she lives in the southeast, and after I brought up a question on whether Yunnan was one of the provinces with a sizable Miao (苗) population in China she looked pleasantly surprised and teased her boyfriend about how I knew more about 'her' country than he did.

However, this also raised my curiosity, so I asked where she lived in the southeast. It turns out she's from Shenzhen (深圳), and my positive acknowledgment that I knew of the city was enough to make her ecstatic with delight. She mentioned how I was the only non-Chinese person she'd met who had heard of her hometown, and her mood improved even more when she heard that I was familiar with the city through Chinese Super League side Shenzhen Jianlibao (深圳健力宝), as apparently she used to go to games all the time when she was living at home. Whoa!

Angela and I must have spent at least the next thirty minutes discussing football together - both within China and on the international stage - with some participation from Yumiko before the rest of the Japanese students directed our conversation to other subjects. Still, her dad is a season ticket holder and I'm supposed to go visit them to see a game in Shenzhen at some point in the future. I'm certainly looking forward to the experience.

Oh yeah, and we did eventually get around to playing mahjong.
  • Current Music
    jolin tsai ... "lucky number"
[ waldo ]

gus hiddink is a wizard

I never did get any sleep last night. Most of my evening was spent going over parental investment strategies and life history theory (which would be a horrible concept to explain for an exam), but there are still two articles I need to read for tomorrow. At this point it doesn't feel like I'm learning anything new - the papers all blur together as the authors go over the same concepts and set out to prove the same point.

Last night wasn't all studying though. As my clock slowly ticked its way toward one o'clock Hye Sung signed online and I gave up all hope of going to bed or finishing my reading to talk with her instead. Weighing the benefits of a conversation versus a four hour nap made it an easy decision to make, and there has never been a time when we've passed up an opportunity to talk. I certainly enjoyed the experience, even if it did make work a little more complicated than usual.

I left my apartment at 5:30 this morning and felt an incredible feeling of exhilaration knowing that I was about to be involved in an experience shared by millions of people across the globe. Forget about the United Nations, the World Cup is what truly brings people together.

The game scheduled for that morning was Australia - Japan, and as both sides seemed fairly equal in ability I had brought a videocassette with me to record the match. Japan scored at 26' through what the American pundits considered an atrocious call and looked set to win. With ten minutes left I had to leave for work, but the odds seemed against Australia managing anything more than a last gasp equalizer. Imagine my surprise then when I saw Tsukasa after work and heard the news that Australia had scored three goals in the last eight minutes of the match. Full time, Japan 1:3 Australia.

I rushed back to the house to check my video and saw nothing but static after hitting the play button. Unknown to me our machine only records when the cable is transferred from the television set to the video recorder. Looks like tomorrow I'll be leaving even earlier to make sure I can get everything sorted before the first match begins. Technological problems aside Australia made history today by scoring their first ever goal in a World Cup, earning their first ever points, and recording their first ever win. I've uploaded a video with highlights from the match here for anyone interested in seeing what took place in Kaiserslautern.
  • Current Music
    delerium ... "innocente [dj tiesto remix]"