Bizarre Japanese Amateur Team Names

March 9, 2008

Japanese amateur sport teams often have highly unique and inventive English names. Obscure clubs from remote towns are always the most entertaining (like the tiny Wakayama badminton circle, “The Tony Tony Choppars,” for example.)
High-school and university teams, in particular, gleefully ignore the convention of choosing heroic, macho-sounding words, instead opting for cute and catchy phrases like “Santa Claus” or “See You Again.”

Also, inappropriately menacing monikers are popular, like Nagoya basketball team “The Snipers.” Kyoto University is one of Japan’s oldest and most prestigious universities, located in a city renowned for its fascinating history and culture. So why the hell is their American football team called “The Gangsters”?

My personal favourite team name is Kinki University’s American football team, “The Kinki Devils.”
Below are some pictures of the more odd names I’ve happened upon.

Red in the Face

March 5, 2008

When I’m out drinking with my Japanese pals, I’ve noticed that their faces often go a bright shade of crimson when they get drunk. Apparently there’s a scientific reason for this chameleonic reaction. If it happens to you, you’re missing an enzyme that breaks down booze.

About fifty percent of people in Eastern Asia get this “alcohol flush reaction.” Before their first sip of sake they might be as pale as an anaemic geisha, but after five minutes of drinking they’ll resemble a sunburned Irish bricklayer with high blood-pressure, stepping out of a sauna on a hot August afternoon.
This doesn’t stop the average Japanese businessman from getting smashed with his colleagues. They just ignore their Elmo-esque visages, and soldier valiantly on.

It’s not just Asian people that get this. I remember one of my Aunties at every family gathering getting rosy cheeks after a couple of mouthfuls of wine.

For you science fans out there, apparently this pesky missing enzyme is called “aldehyde dehydrogenase 2”, and it breaks down acetaldehyde, which gets made when your body metabolizes booze. Acetaldehyde is a toxin, so when your body can’t break it down, it builds up and makes your face as scarlet as a slapped arse. You can read a proper scientific explanation on Wikipedia.

On the plus side, this inactive enzyme means you can get shit-faced very quickly and cheaply.
I wish I had this problem. I’d save a fortune in beer money!

Kinky University

March 3, 2008

There’s an institution in Japan called Kinki University. “Ooh, kinky!”
Now, I want to get a scholarship to that place. I wonder what they teach?
“I’m taking a masters degree in light bondage.”

Kinki University, while sounding like the title of a seventies porno film, is in fact a prestigious University in the Kinki region of Southern-Central Honshu in Japan (an area which is also home to the worryingly-named and rapidly-aging pop duo, “Kinki Kids”).
Tragically, according to the delightful blog, Mari’s Diary, the name of Kinki University is to be changed, to attract more international students who might not take the place seriously under its current name. This is misguided- I think foreign students would love to go to Kinki University just for the T-Shirts.