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August is peak summer season in Japan.  We can look forward to some of the most spectacular fireworks displays and festivals in the world, ...

Tokyo International Volleyball Grand Prix!

For the first time I attended the 2014 FIVB Tokyo International Volleyball Grand Prix Finals.   
I was impressed at the athletic prowess of all  the female athletes, not just the Japanese.   Never have I seen so much style and finesse displayed on a volleyball court.   One strength team Japan shows often is the ability to defend and repel a volley from a very low position.  I feel this is where their strength lies in addition to how low they can get to the ball.   As attackers they are not bad, but lack the same level of power as their Western counterparts.   The Russians were strong on the offensive side,  and took every opportunity to spike the ball hard and fast down the center of the court.   Team Japan was very delicate and docile with the ball.

Japanese female athletes  have been consistently out performing Japanese men on the  international stage for years.    Judo, soccer, and volleyball, just to name a few, are  among  many of the great sporting events 
dominated exclusively by Japanese female athletes.   The dearth of Japanese male athletes  is alarming in today’s  sporting world.  Even the most revered sport like sumo has been dominated by foreigner nationals; not one single top tier Japanese wrestler in the last decade.  Pundits claim that it’s Japan opening up to the international community and that foreign born wrestler are more competitive that’s the blame.  This 
is bullshit.  It’s because of a pure lack of talent and physical ability that’s the blame, and too many Nonomura-types that dominate the sport of “cry-baby."

If you are tall then you should either play volleyball or basketball, is the most common perception.  Team Japan was very disproportionate in terms of height.   They had very short players and tall players whereas team Russia were all tall.  This is good if you have a power game but bad for defensive play; tall people cannot get to the ground as a fast as a shorter players and this is where Japan's advantage was all through-out the game.  My favourite players are Uchiseto!   Ishida, and Ebihara-san.   

I could be spending my summer in a nice hot spring spa, and  in typical fashion, but this year I chose to enjoy watching a good sport.   If you are interested in checking out upcoming sporting events head on over to e-plus and browse through their database.   Tickets for court side seats starts at around $80.   Standard is around $50.   Lines were ridiculously long for food and beer.  I recommend bringing your own stuff.  

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