Game day
September 29, 2019

When in Toyota, what else should one do but go visit the Toyota museum. Having done our research that actually seemed to be the only thing to do. So we walked the roughly 2km to the museum and managed to kill close to an hour there. They do factory tours as well but unfortunately the assembly line isn’t operating on Saturdays so no tour was possible. M did his bit for the environment and generated some electricity without a carbon footprint riding a bike for 60 seconds. He generated 2.6W and the average usually is 2W so he clearly is above the average child that would ride the bike.

M also tried out a few Toyota’s including the ‘dog car’. You could get into most of the cars but a few you couldn’t. For instance they had a type of Toyota that is trying to compete with a Rolls Royce or Bentley – called the Century. It goes for half the price of a Rolls Royce but by everything I read about it (and you can too here – it is actually better than a Rolls Royce. It will be used in the new Emperor’s inauguration ceremony. The royal family apparently already own 5 of them. I tell you this because it was locked and had stickers on the doors saying ‘This car is locked and cannot be entered”. But for Safrican royalty (like us), they come over and unlock it and let us get in and play around inside. We clearly looked wealthy enough to be a potential customer (well not M obviously because he was just playing around with everything).

We walked back to the hotel and killed a few more minutes walking around the local golf store (OK – you can sense there really isn’t much to do in Toyota). B went for a mid-morning/early afternoon run (impressive because it was pretty humid by this point). We left the hotel at 2:30pm with the plan to walk towards the stadium and get some food on the way. We walked past a type of combined department and supermarket store (first time we have actually seen something like this) and went in and got a fresh squeezed orange juice. Basically have to mortgage the house to pay for it but it was really good to have it – we all have been craving fresh juice (everything is from concentrate with preservatives).

Toyota Headquarters

We went into the Fanzone area to see if they had food in there. It was an indoor stadium with seating with one big screen TV and everyone was sitting quietly watching the game on TV. In fact they were so quiet we didn’t notice the people watching until we turned around to leave!

We found a sushi restaurant near the stadium and decided to have lunch there. When we walked in there was a lot of people shouting at us but we had no idea (as per usual) what we needed to do. Eventually I heard on the waitresses shout ‘Take a ticket” and realised there was a ticket machine to get a table. The number of guests was obvious but the follow up question left us stumped. Fortunately one of the people paying at the till came to our rescue and said ‘table’ or ‘counter’ and pressed the table button for us. Then the only problem we had was knowing when they called our number. We thought we quite clever in watching the other ticket numbers but unfortunately we didn’t factor into account single people sitting at the counter.

We did get to our table and the waitress showed us an iPad and put it into English for us with definitely helped with ordering. Sushi in Japan is basically nigri and maki and just varies by the type of fish. You can get some pretty weird stuff though (see pic).

There is always more fish than rice though (unlike back at home where the fish barely covers the rice). The rice is also slightly warm and moist and the fish always cold. It is quite reasonably priced in comparison to many other types of food. For example this meal cost us less than the burger and chips we had. The sushi is excellent and in particular the tuna. It was a pay by plate type of place and so we just kept ordering until we were full. The sushi is freshly prepared and really is excellent in comparison to what I have eaten before. The whole meal (and we must have had 13-14 plates) cost us R200 ($15) per person. We also got a free ice cream to finish because it was game day and we were wearing springbok shirts. B has been averaging 3 ice creams a day so that helped him keep up his average (he had an ice cream already after his run).

We headed for the stadium and arrived with just under 2 hours before kick off. Entry was pretty painless and quick and we found our seats very quickly too. They were behind the goal line that SA played toward in the first half and so we saw a number of the tries from a very good vantage point. The Japanese are very respectful watchers though. They sit quietly and hardly make any noise while the game is going on. It is quite freaky actually especially since we can hardly talk to the person next to you at the games we watch in SA. The biggest cheer went up just before the game kicked off when they announced that Japan had gone into the lead against Ireland and then again when they won their game there was a massive cheer. By far the majority of spectators at the ground are Japanese (maybe 75% yesterday). A lot of them were wearing Springbok jerseys though (and some kids near us wearing SA scrum caps as well!). They seem big supporters of the Springboks.

They are incredibly welcoming and friendly. I cannot express how much properly. On the way into the game they keep offering to take photos for you and it is absolutely no problem for any of the support staff to stop doing what they are doing and take a photo for you. They have also obviously been told to do ‘High Fives’ to welcome you – they call them ‘High Touch’ 🙂 – and to say goodbye again. They were lined up as we exited the stadium in tunnel format to High Touch us again. Everyone also kept congratulating us on our win (like we had personally packed down in the scrum).

We had a 30 minute walk back to our hotel and stopped on route to buy some snacks as we were pretty hungry by this point.

Until tomorrow …

P, B & M

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