Day 8 was a complete rest from rugby with no games on – a welcomed break following a long night out in Dontonbori.
Day 9 saw us on the morning train from Osaka to Japan’s cultural capital, Kyoto. The Hyatt Regency has transformed one of their meeting rooms to the Heineken Sports bar installing huge screens around the room and its own dedicated bar, fantastic!
We camped there and saw Argentina dominate Tonga as predicted gaining a much needed victory. Then the Japan v Ireland came on. It seemed Ireland would coast to victory after the opening quarter but Japan stepped up several gears and were relentless both in defence and attack right through to the final whistle. An incredible performance which has set the nation buzzing! Dinner that night at Gohanya Shinkiro in Gion was a 6 course delight washed down by a variety of local sake – superb value at £60pp all in. And we went hard in the Karaoke bar, Seeks, singing our hearts out with songs in English bouncing against other tables with songs in Japanese. You cannot do Japan without a few visits to Karaoke bars.. great entertainment! The lightweight yanks base farewell and went back to the hotel to crash but I soldiered on to discover a late night basement and bar/club with a first for me.. a Rastafarian Japanese Dj spinning the tunes! Can’t recall the name but it was on kayamachi Shijo close the Hub British pub.
Australia v Wales was another top game on Day 10 and again with some refereeing issues which saw Michael Cheika in the post match interview holding back on what he really wanted to say and just cut the interview short, stropping off! Wales are looking every bit the 6 Nations champions and will be very difficult to beat by most sides. They just keep finding ways to win games. Dinner at Itoh restaurant in Gion was top draw.. the Kobe beef was so succulent I could have eaten the entire cow.. but only got 100g.. there was another 4 courses so I didn’t have to stop at the kebab post dinner! Actually I don’t recall spotting a kebab shop anywhere in Japan so far.
Lunch on Day 11 was at Omen. If you are visiting the Ginkakuji Temple (Silver Pavilion) then this a must stop for lunch – best ramen in town.
There was a lot of sweat pouring off the Scots & Samoan players in the heat and humidity of Kobe. An error strewn game which Scotland controlled gaining a questionable bonus point try from yet another controversial refereeing decision. This could have a huge impact as to which teams qualify for the knockout between Ireland Scotland and Japan.
The World Cup is building up nicely to be the best so far.