Spurs in Europe 3

My favourite football team, Tottenham Hotspur (nickname Spurs) played in the UEFA Cup against Aalborg of Norway last night.

At half-time Spurs were losing 0-2, but they came back strongly to win 3-2 with goals from Berbatov (Bulgaria), Malbranque (France) and Bent (England) and they now have a very good chance to progress to the next stage of the competition.

This is a picture of the celebrations after Malbranque’s goal.


Chinese show

On Sunday I went to the Shizuoka Culture Centre to watch a performance of dance, music and song by a group of Chinese performers. They were very talented, but what made it even more impressive was that all the performers had some kind of disability.

Some were unable to hear, many were blind, and one man had no arms. The audience loved them and at the end of the performance the applause went on for ages.

Then some members of the audience decided to show their appreciation by shaking hands with the performers (remember some of them can’t hear) and soon there were hundreds of spectators at the bottom of the stage all trying to shake hands with as many performers as they could.

Mariko riverbank

Yesterday was Mariko riverbank cleaning day.

Hundreds of local people (including me!) all along the Mariko River cut grass and weeds, picked up litter and generally tidied up. It only took a couple of hours, and the riverbank now looks really beautiful.

Isn’t it great what people can do together?


The sport of wakeboarding came up in one of my classes today; it is a popular ocean sport in Guam. However I admitted to the students that I didn’t know what it was. So I did a little research.

Wakeboarding is a water sport which involves riding a wakeboard close behind a boat. It was developed from a combination of water skiing, snow boarding and surfing techniques.

Here is a picture. It is certainly not a sport I would like to do!


Spurs in Europe 2

After losing 1-2 to Getafe (Spain) two weeks ago in the UEFA Cup the Spurs coach was sacked. It was quite sad as the previous coach, Martin Jol, was a good, honest man who was very popular with the fans. However Spurs have had a really bad start to this season.

A new coach was quickly found, Juande Ramos, who was coach of Sevilla of Spain, and things are slowly improving.


Yesterday Spurs played against Hapoel Tel Aviv (Israel) and won 2-0 with goals from Robbie Keane (Ireland) and Dimitar Berbatov (Bulgaria), and Spurs have a good chance to progress further in the UEFA Cup.

Why an increase in electricity prices?

At the moment the price of gasoline is rising quickly. So the price that car-drivers pay for their gasoline is also increasing. This is easy to understand.

But the price of electricity in Shizuoka is also increasing. This I do not understand.

In Shizuoka there is a huge nuclear power station which provides our electricity. It is not a gasoline power station. So why is there an increase in electricity prices?

Why do athletes run counter-clockwise?

This question came up in one of my classes today. All athletics tracks in the world have the athletes run in a counter-clockwise (ccw) direction. It is now a rule of the International Athletics Association, but why did it happen?

There are a lot of man-made things which turn ccw. For example carousels, windmills, revolving doors, the usual direction in which people spin Hula Hoops, most washers and dryers, and baseball runners. So do most things spin ccw?

No, not really. There are many things that move clockwise: phonographs, CDs, Monopoly board pieces, door knobs, pencil sharpeners, and can openers.

This doesn’t get us any nearer an answer. One of my students suggested it is because most people are right-handed (and right-footed), but this doesn’t appear to be the reason, since in track running there is actually more force on the inside leg which is the left one.

The best answer seems to come from the direction we read. Most languages are read from left to right. It is true that Chinese and Arabic are read from right to left and traditional Japanese is read downwards left to right, but these are the exceptions.

For many people the natural way to see things is from left to right. So the spectators at the original Olympics in Greece would want to see the runners run past from their left to their right. To do this the runners would need to run counter-clockwise.

Here is the future Olympic Stadium for Beijing 2008.



November is the eleventh month of the year, although originally it was the ninth. It comes from the Latin word ‘novem’ which means ‘ninth’. When January and February were added to the calendar November become the eleventh month.

In Australia, particularly Melbourne, many men grow moustaches during November, and they call this month Movember!