Blink and You Miss It!
Two years ago on our first Asian pre-season adventure, I took a train from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur. If I remember rightly it meandered through the south Malaysian countryside and took around five or six hours to complete the journey, ample enough time for me to record my thoughts of the trip so far.
This morning I am doing the same kinda thing on the Shinkansen 'Bullet train' from Nagoya to Tokyo... but 'meander' is not a word I can use on this occasion!
The journey is approximately 180 miles, roughly the same as London to Manchester, and it will take around 100 minutes, about the same time it takes to do the 80-odd miles from London to Portsmouth!
A small glimpse of the cities and countryside that make up this part of Japan is interesting of course although disappointingly the slightly overcast weather today eliminates our chance of seeing Mount Fuji in the distance. A view for another day before heading home hopefully.
Match day in Nagoya proved highly entertaining and crammed full of more fantastic memories.
The train journey from the city to the Toyota Stadium mirrored many of our own when making the trip to the home of football back in London. Lots of colour, busy trains and football talk (I assume!).
The almost daily late afternoon rain deluge greeted us pretty much halfway on the walk from the metro station to the ground. But it would! To be honest however, in the quite stifling humidity a soaking is almost welcomely refreshing!
Nothing that a few cold pre-match beers and souvenir hunt doesn't sort out of course although the queues for the latter being at least 100 yards long didn't help on that front. It did demonstrate once again however, not that we needed reminding of course, the total fanaticism in this part of the world.
Taking our place in what is a hugely-impressive stadium it was once again a combination of smiles, colour and general enthusiasm... and messages from home have suggested my flag was prominent in much of the TV coverage!
Like in the two previous matches, we very much took control of the game early on and the two-goal lead we took into half-time could have been even bigger.
Overall, another excellent work out where we looked fit and sharp, a situation appreciated by all those present in the record crowd.
Post-match refreshment was in order of course and after sampling numerous examples of the liquid and solid variety we called it a day at around 4am, weary, happy and dare I say a little bit merry too.
Yesterday saw some final sightseeing it what was another interesting and enjoyable city before our journey north this morning.
The plan is to meet with some friends, ex-pat Gooners based in Singapore and the Japanese capital.
The final leg of the tour it might be but it is one full of anticipation once again.
We nearly there yet?! Funnily enough, yes we are! :-)