Monday, December 12, 2005


Monday 12 December 2005
Very cold today.A brisk ten minute walk to the daily grind.4 degrees celsius.Light snow falling.
Not a very exciting week gone.Cleaned out my closet of old unwanted clothes.Washed and neatly ironed.I left them in a bag near the garbage area of my building.Hopefully one of the local homeless who rummage through the trash looking for food scraps will find a use for the clothes.I wouldnt be surprised to see them reappear.

Whats the Beef?
As reported earlier after some two weeks of feverish activity a new McDonalds has opened in the vacant space left by KFC.Its located on the ground floor of my apartment building.Open from 7a.m to 9p.m.Most of the customers are from the next door ice skate rink.
You can smell the greasy, carbohydrate clogging stench from the shop as you descend the apartment buildings stairs.It seems to envelope you from the fourth floor down.Its worse at ground level.The atmosphere seems heavy.Thick.Dense.Like a fatty fog.Invasive.Permeating your skin and leaving an oily residue.Much like cigarette smoke in a crowded bar.Theres also the additional litter in the form of advertising flyers and burst balloons strewn about the footpath.
The big story this week, other than the 2006 World Cup draw, was a terrible error by a local securities firm.Basically a Mizuho Securities employee incorrectly inputed information about a clients sell order.He entered the sell order as" sell 610,000 shares at one yen (¥1) each" instead of vice versa.The sell order should have been "sell 1 share at ¥610,000".The latent loss to the company after investors and traders got wind of it amounts to some ¥30 billion.Ouch!!
What surprised me about this, well two things did, was firstly the speed of the whole event. A mere sixteen minutes from the time the sell order was executed through to the time the Tokyo Stock Exchange and Mizuho reacted.In that time via the internet share traders and others were alerted and took advantage of the oppurtunity to snap up most of the 610,000 shares.
The second surprising thing is that it appears the employee seemed to have ignored both Mizuho and the Stock Exchange computer warning systems while incorrectly making the sell order.Another investigation and much public bowing and many apologies can be expected.

The Miracle of Berne.
This is the title of a German dvd I watched last weekend.I only noticed it was German when I got home and played it.No English translation,soundtrack,or subtitles.I sometimes forget in Japan that foreign movies will usually be dubbed in Japanese or have Japanese subtitles rather than English.
Anyway I persevered.Glad I did.The movie is about the 1954 World Cup Finals in Switzeland and the final game between Germany and Hungary.Although its some nine years since the end of World War 2 the defeat still hangs over the country.German troops were still being repatriated from Russia.The movie is about the German team and its effect on a family and the wider German community.
I knew nothing about the 1954 Cup finals before viewing this movie and subsequent internet searches.In a nutshell the German team beat a Hungarian team heavily favored to win after being unbeaten for four and a half years.The victory was seen as a morale booster and energized the German people.
Its no coincidence then that the movie was released to celebrate the fifteeth anniversary of the game as well as cashing in on next years World Cup being hosted in Germany.Incidentally it appears to have been a pretty dramatic game.The German team came back from a 2-0 deficit to lead 3-2 with five minutes of normal time remaining.Only 3 members of the original 1954 team remain.They appear on the dvd in one of its extra features.Also included is footage of the actual game.The goals in the dvd are pretty faithful to those actually scored.One internet article reports the last German goal required five takes.
Also of note is the part played by one Adi Dassler, the founder of Adidas.His newly invented screw in studded boots gave the German team a decisive edge in the muddy,rainy conditions of the final.The Adidas website notes that after the game he marketed the boots as "World Champions".

World Cup 2006 Draw
The draw was televised live here 5a.m local time on Saturday.Japan in Group F is drawn with Brazil,Croatia and Australia.
Japan has never beaten Brazil the 5 time Cup holder.Croatia won 7 of its 10 qualifying games and was unbeaten.Australia hasnt been to the finals since 1974 the last time Germany hosted them.Australia does have wonder coach Gus Hiddick who led South Korea in the last finals.It will be interesting to see how Japan fares.I'm not sure it will get past the first round and make the final 16.I await June 12 and Japans first game against Australia......

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