Blood and sport: the samurai slashing that brought rugby to Japan

first_imgThe founders of the Yokohama club proposed that “hacking”, or kicking opponents, be banned, while early match reports underlined the prevalence of drop-kicking in those days.“Mr. Abbott having caught the ball made a good run through his opponents and, with a fine drop kick, scored a goal,” reads one report from the 1873 Japan Weekly Mail.Rugby gained a more solid foothold in Japan at the turn of the century when two Cambridge University alumni, Edward Bramwell Clarke and the Japanese player Ginnosuke Tanaka, introduced the game at Keio University in Tokyo.With more Japanese taking up the game, the sport’s popularity grew quickly with crowds of 20,000 attending matches in the early 1930s, according to Galbraith.– ‘Not so healthy’ –The Japan Rugby Football Union was formed in 1926 and a national team played its first overseas matches on a tour to Canada in 1930.In modern history, the Japanese team have been ever-present at the Rugby World Cup since the first edition in 1987, where they narrowly lost to the United States before suffering a 60-7 hammering at the hands of England.The World Cup has seen extreme highs and lows for Japan, from a record 145-17 loss to the All Blacks in 1995 to the competition’s greatest ever upset when the “Brave Blossoms” beat the mighty Springboks 34-32 in 2015 — dubbed the “Miracle of Brighton.”Organisers hope hosting this year’s competition will accelerate the development of rugby in Japan and Asia more widely, but low attendances for club rugby and the ejection of the Tokyo-based Sunwolves from Super Rugby have raised doubts.And what of rugby now at the Yokohama club, where it all began?“The status today is not so healthy,” sighs Galbraith speaking to AFP at the club, which proudly displays Japan’s oldest rugby trophy and numerous team photos on its wood-panelled walls.A dearth of members from traditional rugby-playing nations has hit the club hard, he says. “It’s more difficult to put out a 15-a-side team to play rugby.”Share on: WhatsApp The Yokohama Club is one of the world’s oldest rugby clubsYokohama, Japan | AFP | When 70,000 fans cram into Japan’s Yokohama stadium for the Rugby World Cup final, few will be aware of the area’s rich rugby history which stretches back more than 150 years and includes one of the world’s oldest clubs.It all started in the early 1860s when Britain sent troops to Yokohama to protect its subjects after samurai warriors slashed to death a British trader — and some of their 19th century officers turned out to be rugby fans.According to historian Mike Galbraith, who has extensively studied Japanese rugby’s early history, the first mention of the game being played dates to 1863, only 40 years after Rugby School student William Webb Ellis famously “took the ball in his arms and ran with it”, giving birth to the sport.As military tensions eased, the bored officers — many of them from British public schools like Rugby — took to the oval ball to pass the time.“They started playing every afternoon because the troubles subsided and so they didn’t really have anything to do. In December 1864, there’s evidence they were playing every afternoon with a few of the civilians,” Galbraith told AFP.Two years later, in 1866, more than 40 of these early rugby players banded together to found the Yokohama Foot Ball Club. A Japanese newspaper report from January 26, 1866, records the official establishment.“As we happen to have two or three Rugby and Winchester men in the Community, we may be certain that we shall have really good scientific play,” said an editorial in the Japan Times.This evidence leads Galbraith to claim that Yokohama may be one of the world’s first “Open” clubs — meaning that unlike a university or school, anyone can join.“The Yokohama Country and Athletic Club appears at present to be the oldest open club in the world with contemporaneous documentary evidence of its founding,” he said.– ‘Very unique’ –There are rugby clubs that are older, acknowledges Galbraith, but they lack such strong evidence describing their creation.“In the case of the Yokohama Foot Ball Club, there is a newspaper printed that very day describing what time it was and who the key people were and what the motions were. That’s very unique,” he said.The game then was very different to the fast-flowing sport played by professional athletes on display during the Rugby World Cup, which culminates on November 2 in Yokohama.last_img read more

Middletown’s Seven Arrows Farm: More than Just Growing Produce

first_imgBy John BurtonMIDDLETOWN – Mike Meier and Megan Paska are in the business of farming organically, raising fruit and vegetables, some livestock and honeybees on a portion of a 20-acre estate in Locust.But there is a bigger picture and message to what these two young farmers/ business partners are doing.Mike Meier, left, with intern Amy Portman, is co-owner of Seven Arrows East Homestead in Middletown, and raises organic fruit, vegetables and honeybees in Locust.“It’s really about homesteading,” Meier said. “Sure this is our livelihood, how we pay our bills … but it’s about how we live.”Seven Arrows East Home­stead at 160 Hart­shorne Road sits on a sprawling estate overlooking the Navesink River that has been owned by the Knipscher family since 1959.Meier and Paska, who are working to grow sustainably and organically for themselves and others, began their first planting season this spring on the approximately 3 acres using a format called “community supported agriculture” or CSA. That is “a common business model” in the industry and means that their “mini-farm” is one that benefits all who participate, Meier said.“Your neighbors buy a share,” he said, though in this case, it extends to more than those who live in the immediate vicinity of the rustic neighborhood.Seven Arrows – the name was taken from the title of a book by Hyemeyohsts Storm – has about 30 shareholders right now. A share costs $660 for the season – 22 weeks at $30 a week. Seven Arrows already has a waiting list of people who want shares for next season.“It’s a shared risk, shared benefit,” Meier said. But more importantly, the shareholders “also feel very connected to what’s happening out here on the farm.”Megan Paska, co-owner of Seven Arrows, a mini-farm on Hartshorne Road, raises about 50 varieties of fruits and vegetables.Right now about 50 different varieties of fruits and vegetables – including tomatoes, kale, cabbage, cucumbers, green peppers, apples “and the most amazing garlic” – are being raised on about three-quarters of an acre. Along with the produce, they raise chickens, ducks, turkeys and goats.Paska, who is an expert on urban beekeeping and has a book being published on the subject, tends to about 10 hives on site and sells the honey.The farm is “also about fostering the romantic relationship with food,” Paska said.By that she meant, people get to see what is grown, how it’s grown and get to know who is growing it, something they are finding many are interested in. The business partners note that people are buying what is grown locally and want really good ingredients for those recipes they’re getting while watching The Food Network.“We’re focused on growing really dynamite food,” Meier said.“We don’t make a lot of money but we eat better than anyone we know,” Paska said.Seven Arrows East also operates a small farm market, open to the public on Sunday afternoons, where Meier and Paska sell the remainder of what they grow.Some livestock is raised on the farm.Marie Jackson, a CSA member who owns and operates the Flaky Tart bakery in Atlantic Highlands, isn’t only interested in getting fresh produce from the farm for her family. “Whatever they have, I try to snag for the bakery,” she said.She is especially partial to tomatoes and uses them in the bakery’s tomato tarts, which “have a cult following.“I’m so in awe that they came here, working the land, raising these beautiful things that we’re privileged to enjoy,” Jackson said. “That’s what we’re looking to do, aren’t we? We’re looking to grow healthier things, grow it locally, support our neighbors and create a community – and they’re doing it.”That community they have created also includes a yoga retreat, operated in a cottage on the farm property by friend Summer Quashie.“We’re trying to be living examples of sustainability,” said Quashie, as customers and clients also look to sustain mind and body.“The farm and the yoga are intertwined and will continue to be so as long as we grow here,” Meier said.For Paska it’s all connected in what she calls “living aesthetically … living your life, growing your food, helping people feel more connected.”Seven Arrows is East Homestead is located on a portion of a 20-acre estate in Locust.Meier, 26, who is originally from South Florida, and Paska, 33, who hails from Baltimore, Md., got to know each other when they were living in Brooklyn. Quashie, 37, who grew up in Middle­town, was also living in Brooklyn, operating a yoga studio. Paska and Meier were involved in urban farming there, with Paska beekeeping and Meier running a rooftop farm for a company called Brooklyn Grange.“I knew after that experience I wanted to continue growing and farming,” he said.The three relocated after finding out about the property from mutual friends who said the owners might be interested in leasing land for farming. Paska and Quashie live on the property in separate cottages. Quashie operates her yoga retreat there, catering mostly to weekenders from New York, and conducts yoga lessons a few evenings a week. Meier lives in Middletown, where he also works with Impact Oasis, a not-for-profit organization that works with autistic adults. Meier is helping that organization establish its own small farm, he said.Meier and Paska hope that the CSA model catches on in the area.“If we could crank out a few new farmers who can do this,” Meier said, “that would be great.”last_img read more

Council to spend almost €50M on road transport and safety in 2020

first_imgDonegal County Council is to increase its budget by 6% to more than €154,400,000 for 2020.The council will meet today to discuss the budget for the year ahead with an increase in spending of more than €8M on last year’s figure sought.The council’s CEO Seamus Neely will outline the council’s plan for the spend and where the money will come from. A draft budget plans shows that €118,576,123 of the budget needed will come from Local Property Tax, rents, fees, charges, loan repayments, grants and certain reserves.The council has also outlined where it plans to spend the budget in the coming year.A total of €20,649,032 will go on housing a building but more than double this, €48,199,128 will go on road transport and safety.The council does not propose to commercial rates on top of the rate revaluation which will not start until 2022. The wage bill for the council for 2020 is coming in at just over €72m.Council to spend almost €50M on road transport and safety in 2020 was last modified: November 22nd, 2019 by Staff WriterShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Little Colorado Grand Falls Much Younger Than Thought

first_imgThe Little Colorado River makes a dramatic drop over a lava cliff in Arizona after going around a lava flow.  Previous estimates dated the lava at the falls at 150,000 years old (150ka).  Now, a team of geologists publishing in GSA Bulletin1 used multiple methods that dated it at no more than 19,600 years old (19.6ka) – one eighth the earlier age estimate.  Here were some of their reasons for the revision:The ca. 150 ka age of the Grand Falls flow provided by whole-rock K-Ar analysis in the 1970s is inconsistent with the preservation of centimeter-scale flow-top features on the surface of the flow and the near absence of physical and chemical weathering on the flow downstream of the falls.  The buried Little Colorado River channel and the present-day channel are at nearly the same elevation, indicating that very little, if any, regional downcutting has occurred since emplacement of the flow. (Emphasis added in all quotes.)Many people might expect radiometric dating of lava to be straightforward, but the authors began by casting doubt on the most widely-used methods: “Dating Quaternary mafic volcanic materials has proven to be challenging in many cases,” they said.  “K-Ar and 40Ar/39Ar are the most common dating methods, but results may be difficult to interpret because so little potassium is present in these rocks and because the rocks may also contain excess Ar from mantle or crustal sources.”    They employed four independent methods that more or less converged on the approx. 20,000 year figure.  That would seem to settle the matter, but in their discussion, they said: “The question remains of how to decide what relative weight to apportion to each dating technique in trying to accurately define when the lava dam formed.  Each technique includes its own set of assumptions and uncertainties.”    Perhaps eyeball dating should be given more weight.  The authors took notice of how little erosion had occurred in this area.  They estimated downcutting rates, but then said of four lava flows in the area, “These emplacement units lack evidence of physical erosion or chemical weathering, both within the stack of flows and at the basal contact of flows with underlying columnar basalt.  The flows may simply represent overlapping lobes of a single lava flow.”  Speaking of dust on top of the flow, they said, “All features not covered by eolian [wind-blown] sediment appear to represent original or nearly original surfaces of lava that have been little weathered or eroded, if at all, since their formation.”    Considering that whole cities have been embedded in dust in recorded history, perhaps even 20,000 years is too much.  They ended by discussing possible reasons why the earlier estimate was so much older, and warned of misinterpretation because excess argon may be a bigger problem than previously realized.  Even so, “However common excess Ar may be in lava of the volcanic field, caution is advised in all time-related generalizations about the growth of the field, including interpretation of the 100 m/m.y. rate of regional downcutting calculated from whole-rock K-Ar ages for samples from the two older lava dams along the Little Colorado River.”  Does anybody really know how old this lava flow is?1Champion et al., “Multiple constraints on the age of a Pleistocene lava dam across the Little Colorado River at Grand Falls, Arizona,” Geological Society of America Bulletin, doi: 10.1130/B25814.1, : Vol. 118, No. 3, pp. 421�429.Unless you subscribe to the Creation Research Society, Institute for Creation Research or the Creation Technical Journal, you may have been completely unaware of the quality of young-earth creation research that has been independently published for decades.  Such research is so completely barred from the usual journals, creation geologists, astronomers and biologists have continually published their own work, with a few exceptions making it into the mainstream.  Many of their papers are just as rigorous and scholarly as those in the secular journals.  They would be indistinguishable except for the rags they’re printed in.    Recently, Carl Froede and Emmett Williams investigated the same Grand Falls area.  This gives you an opportunity to compare one example of OEE (old-earth evolutionist) and one example of YEC (young-earth creationist) interpretations of the same spot.  Publishing in Creation Research Society Quarterly, Froede and Williams found much more evidence for youthfulness of the area than admitted in the GSA paper.  They found delicate structures, very little erosion of the basalt, and lack of evidence of substantial weathering.  Their common-sense approach based on clear, observable features was supported by photographs and measurements.  They challenged,The flow appears to be of a recent origin by nature of its excellent preservation.  This is empirical evidence.  Why do uniformitarians force the time issue by adopting inappropriate age-dates?.  Unfortunately, they are forced to interpret and skew data in an attempt to bolster an archaic, unrealistic, and nonscientific model of Earth history.Note that the Grand Falls lava flow does not appear any older than lava flows known to have been emplaced within historic times.    One other thing.  How many earth science students were told confidently by evolutionary geologists in the 1970s that this lava flow was 150,000 years old?  Did any of the students question the Biblical chronology based on what is now known to be false?  Should any of today’s students trust the new estimate of 20,000 years, when the authors admit that “caution must be exercised in interpreting” dating methods?  When fallible experts cannot agree, when they keep changing their numbers, when they are forced into their positions by a priori assumptions about the age of the earth, and come up with conclusions that go against common sense, shouldn’t new ideas be given a fair hearing?(Visited 41 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

The ugliest Christmas tree

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest ‘Tis the season for cutting Christmas trees on the Reese family farm.We work very hard on our farm to grow nice looking Christmas trees, but anyone who has searched for the perfect tree knows that not all trees are created equal.I spend many hours this time of year with families carefully pondering their perfect Christmas tree choice, strolling through the rows of manicured trees on the farm. I see families who let the youngest pick out the tree; for many families mom has 51% of the vote; other families alternate from year to year who picks the tree. None of those perfect trees are really perfect, but they are perfect for the families that pick them (unless they get one that is too big for the room). In the end, the decorated trees are all beautiful not because they are decorated perfectly, but because of the process of the decorating, the people who participated and the home in which it resides. In short, they all look beautiful when you decorate them no matter what they look like in the field.Nonetheless, we never fail to have some customers who painstakingly study every aspect of the tree. Some even get frustrated because they can’t find a tree with the exact specifications they’d hoped for. To those folks that come to me and ask for my help in finding the perfect tree, I tell this story.It was last year in early December and it was a fairly pleasant and very busy Saturday on the tree farm. A mother and her two teenage children (a son and a daughter) crossed the bridge spanning a creek on the farm and walked straight over to me.“We want the ugliest tree we can find.”“How ugly?” I asked.“We want the ugliest tree on the farm.”“OK, follow me.”I walked them over to a couple of firs growing by the woods that had suffered from years of deer browsing and buck rubs. The tree had several sizeable holes in an otherwise lopsided and sparsely limbed form.“Nope, not ugly enough,” said the daughter who had been doing the talking.I cocked an eyebrow and reassessed the tree. It was quite offensive, but apparently not disagreeable enough. I walked on.“Well how about this?” I asked pointing to a spruce that had the top knocked out of it in a tree-digging project gone bad.The tree looked like a bush, with a few broken limbs here and there to add to its unsightly appearance.“No, not that one either. You must have something uglier than that?”After some more thinking, I came up with a solution — the Austrian pines! I walked them over to the back corner of the farm where we have a stand of unshorn, wild-looking Austrian pines we planted as a field border and windbreak. I pointed to the looming, lanky, awkward trees with my tree saw.“What do you think?”The girl’s crooked grin gave me her answer.                         We chopped off the top of the sprawling, awkward pine. There was no doubt that it was ugly. I firmly believe that even the ugliest tree can look good when decorated well, but I was even skeptical with this one. It was pretty horrid looking. The girl, though, sent me some before and after photo proof that even the ugliest tree looks beautiful with the right vision.In the end, it really has very little to do with the placement of the branches, the unsightly holes (or lack of), or the shape. It is the love, care, hope, and faith of the season that make it beautiful. Those qualities can turn the worst situations into something wonderful, even the ugliest Christmas tree.last_img read more

The Root Causes of Your Poor Sales Results

first_img Essential Reading! Get my 2nd book: The Lost Art of Closing “In The Lost Art of Closing, Anthony proves that the final commitment can actually be one of the easiest parts of the sales process—if you’ve set it up properly with other commitments that have to happen long before the close. The key is to lead customers through a series of necessary steps designed to prevent a purchase stall.” Buy Now An exhaustive list of all the reasons your sales results aren’t what you want them to be would require a vast number of posts. The menu here is what I see right now with some ideas about what you might do to eliminate them. None of these are easy to resolve, as they all require behavior changes and tough conversations. You have to solve the root causes of your poor sales results if you want them to improve.No Effective Role ClarityThe Account Executive, a pure sales role, is often found doing the work that belongs to an Account Manager. The Account Manager ends up doing the work of Customer Service (or some similar role). People in operational roles who are struggling to serve the client pass their challenges to the person most competent to deal with the problem—and the client. When you pull salespeople out of a selling role, their sales decline.Salespeople don’t spend enough time selling for many reasons, including distractions, being burdened with email communications, and time spent taking care of their responsibilities to their company. When there is confusion about their role and outcomes, they spend even less time selling. A lot of the things Account Executives spend their time on when it comes to taking care of their clients feels like work, but it isn’t the right work. They need to own the outcomes, not the transactions.Imposing role clarity doesn’t require a purity test that forbids the salesperson from being engaged in a serious challenge serving the client, but it does require removing them from the day-to-day management of their clients.Recently, more companies are trying to model SAAS companies, slicing the sales role into thinner and thinner slices. The idea is old enough to include Adam Smith’s division of labor and Frederick Winslow Taylor’s scientific management. These companies struggle when reality doesn’t match their theory about roles. By pulling their senior salespeople out of the prospecting role, they deprive their prospects of conversations with the person who is best prepared to help them.Whatever the design of your structure, it should both serve the outcomes, and provide clarity about each role’s responsibility.No Strong DirectionPeople need to be led. More still, they want to be led. They want to know what they’re supposed to do and how they are supposed to do it. They want to succeed in their role. When you deprive them of strong direction from leadership, they tend to struggle. Sales leaders who struggle with establishing noon-negotiables worry about being autocratic when they should worry more about setting high standards.Leaders are often too removed from their teams to provide strong direction. Their communication isn’t frequent enough, nor is it direct enough about what they want, why they want it, and how their teams need to go about producing results. The communication also isn’t consistent enough to make it believable as a real priority.I have spoken to a sales organization three years in a row, each year bringing a new primary goal, a new strategy, a new methodology, a new structure (or modifications to the existing structure), and a new compensation plan. What was most important just twelve months ago went unachieved.Strong direction and high standards are foundational to strong execution. For most sales leaders, the most effective new strategy they could pursue would be to execute their plans over many years with firm direction before ever looking at something new.No AccountabilityNo organization produces the results they are capable of without accountability. There is a lack of accountability in sales now, and you will find it in most organizations, invariably in the activities that fall under the category called opportunity creation. There is too little willingness to hold salespeople accountable for prospecting and scheduling first meetings with prospective clients. Managers don’t want to be micromanagers. Accountability is not micromanagement; it’s macro-management.Senior sales leaders look at forecasts made up of opportunities that will soon be celebrating their fifth anniversary of being entered into the CRM (I only wish I was exaggerating). Sales managers allow their salespeople to hide behind a couple of big deals they claim to be working, optimistic about winning them and avoiding any conversation about new opportunities. They also accept excuses for not prospecting because the salesperson suggests they were too busy taking care of their existing accounts (see Role Clarity above).Salespeople need to be accountable for precisely two outcomes: 1) opportunity creation, and 2) opportunity capture. Both of these outcomes require role clarity, strong direction, and accountability. While I don’t believe any sales leader would argue with these outcomes, there are too few who are willing to impose the necessary accountability. Instead, they tinker with the compensation plan, mistakenly believing that everyone on their team is solely motivated by money.If you want a result, you have to hold people accountable for producing it—and doing the work necessary to make it so.Avoiding Tough DecisionsAvoiding tough conversations and tough decisions lead to increasingly poor results.A person is allowed to remain in the wrong role indefinitely, even though they are failing and unhappy, and even though the leader is unhappy with their performance.The senior person who is negative and cynical infects others with their disease in private and public conversations is allowed to infect others with debilitating beliefs without consequence.The operations team passes their problems to the salesperson to solve, and no one has yet broached the subject of their hiring people with the competency to manage the day-to-day client issues that pull salespeople out of their role.There has been no accountability for so long that it is difficult to imagine how to start imposing it now. No one wants to hit the reset button and begin the process of transformational change.If you are a sales leader, I guess that you could very quickly write down the names of the individuals in the scenarios above (only because they are so universal that any leader would have no trouble with this exercise). Leaders are required to make decisions, including the tough, but necessary calls.Presenting Problems and Root CausesThe presenting problem is poor sales results. The root cause is something else, and probably many factors. Better sales results are only possible when you treat the root causes.last_img read more

17 days agoBig Sam: Man Utd could be RELEGATED

first_imgBig Sam: Man Utd could be RELEGATEDby Paul Vegas17 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveFormer England boss Sam Allardyce says Manchester United could be RELEGATED this season.The former Bolton, Newcastle and England manager cited United’s side in 1974 that, against all expectations, went down to the second tier. With Solskjaer overseeing the club’s worst start in 30 years, Allardyce has used the side from 45 years ago as a warning to the current crop that they are not too good to be relegated. He told talkSPORT: “It isn’t beyond the realms of possibility that they could catastrophically fall into more problems if confidence goes and injuries stay like they are.”Players tend not to get as fit as quick as they would do when things are going well, that’s an absolute fact. There’s the disturbance of [Paul] Pogba wanting away and who will pop up next saying, ‘I see this going the wrong way, I want to leave?'”Manchester United do not have enough goals and you can see it becoming a struggle. Hopefully it’s not a struggle down the bottom end, but they’re certainly heading that way.” About the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your saylast_img read more

Government lifts speed restrictions after spotting no whales in shipping lanes

first_imgOTTAWA — Transport Canada says it’s lifting speed restrictions for cargo ships in the Gulf of St. Lawrence after recent surveillance failed to detect North Atlantic right whales in shipping lanes.The agency says in a statement released Friday evening that the government’s aerial surveillance team monitored shipping lanes closely over the past month.It says its National Aerial Surveillance Program spent 240 flight hours in 44 missions scouring the waters.They say whale surveillance will continue and that speed restrictions will resume if right whales are found in shipping lanes.The interim slowdown was first implemented in April and expanded in area in June and July.Transport Canada says during the slowdown period that vessels started using routes other than shipping lanes, including zones where right whales are known to gather.“This has resulted in more marine traffic coming closer to known whale locations,” the statement says.“In order to encourage vessel traffic in areas where no North Atlantic right whales have been spotted, vessels will once again be able to maximize efficient routes to transit through the Gulf.”They say they’re prepared to adjust measures if necessary.There are about 400 right whales left on the planet and eight deaths reported in Canadian waters since early June.The Canadian Presslast_img read more