Capturing the spirit of football and not simply throwing angry young men together is a tough ask, whether Giant Killing achieves it is a question best left for an audience more familiar with the enthusiasm the sport engenders. The first three episodes certainly capture the fury and, one presumes, the passion it stems from but whether the series can transcend its relegation to the sports genre is another matter. With only a single match and a lot of shouting in the opening episodes it has a long way to go to individuate itself from others in its league but converting an audience ambivalent or indifferent to football is perhaps too much to ask.
an uninspired and predictable series with bland characters and a penchant for mistaking enthusiasm and devotion for shouting and confrontation
East Tokyo United (ETU) isn't doing well: after years of poor performance after their star player Takeshi Tatsumi departed, they've had to turn to their last resort. A renowned manager is hired to drag the team out of their slump; the manager however is the same player who abandoned the team and caused their rapid descent down the leagues. His style is unorthodox and destructive, riling up the experienced players by claiming that the group of younger players is in the best position to make the first team. After an abrasive and revelatory training session, the team heads out to their training camp in the frigid north where the whimsical Takeshi is doing everything he can to fracture the team. Whether the techniques his time in England fostered will transfer over to ETU will define whether they'll beat their rival, Tokyo Victory, and prove they are in fact capable of giant killing.
Most of my internet access has been in the brief, fleeting moments while waiting for the group to gather for the day's activities so it's somewhat nice to be able to have some time to actually write something that doesn't end with the equivalent "okaygottagobye!".
My feet were doing (slightly) better today thanks to some loosening of shoes and no longer having any skin to lose from them although my left foot has shown some signs of trying to copy my right - not best pleased. Nikko today was awesome and showed me something that I hadn't seen before in a temple; it was sprawling, ornate and yet quiet and reserved at the same time. I also started getting fancier with my camera, having found out yesterday that I had somehow fixed the camera on aperture priority somewhere in transit which was slightly embarrassing but I've been storing up some shots for panoramas and also tried a long exposure today of the bridge for some floaty water effect.
Leaving Tokyo is definitely a good thing as having been here for the past three to four days has let me become a bit jaded to it which is not what I had expected. I've been using a lot more of the language than I did last time (much to the amazement of one of the hotel clerks when I said good morning to him, to his credit, it was 4am so maybe that's how he always looks) so I've crested the hill that is ordering food and not looking like a complete twit. I'm torn between whether I'm getting used to the language or just using what is most likely to be said next and going from there. Thankfully a lot of the Japanese people I've met seem happy to ask me questions in English and for me to answer in Japanese, at least then everyone knows what is being said.
Tokyo itself is impossible to encapsulate in a single sentence or paragraph, there is no easy way of saying "City of the Future" or "Bustling metropolis" and capturing the spirit of it, even if both are true and I've only been in the city just over 150 hours total. You can be wandering down the street and hear a melody you recognise with words you don't while nearly being hit by the plethora of bicycle riders and being barraged with neon advertising high above you. Eclectic doesn't even begin to sum it up. It is a city I love though, there is no congestion to speak of, the transport is first rate and there truly is everything you can think of to do or to buy (both probably available from the local convenience store). I'll be glad to come back to Tokyo, but just as London isn't England, Tokyo isn't Japan and there are hot springs and all sorts of other goodies awaiting.
The bus had stopped at various places along the way, primarily to give the driver a break but it also let the passengers mill about in a half-dazed state. My main problem was that I was unsure as to whether the bus had a toilet or not or whether to brave getting off the bus and looking for a toilet in the rest stop. Finally plucking up enough courage, I wandered the length of the bus and found what could well have been a toilet, although in the half-light it could have been a luggage rack. Someone emerging from the formless box confirmed it was a toilet, but in my dopey state, I managed to stumble backwards and hit my head on the overhead storage shelf, much to the amusement of the young man who was trying to get past me.