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Saitama Stadium is a large soccer stadium built for the Soccer World Cup in 2002 and now home of the Urawa Reds. Way to Saitama Stadium 2002 from the train station.
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These photos were taken during the Vodafone Cup with the Urawa Reds vs. Manchester United on July 30, 2005. Over 58,000 fans attended.
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Vodafone Cup with the Urawa Reds vs. Manchester United on July 30, 2005.
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Stadium entry
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Saitama Stadium 2002
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Urawa Reds fans. Also see the video at YouTube.
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Attendance number
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Sea of Red
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Manchester United vs. Urawa Reds
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Good save
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Someone injured
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Crowd heading for Urawa-misono Station on the Sai-no-Kuni Stadium Line. It was a stop and go process.
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Getting nearer to the train station.
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Urawa-misono Station with soccer fans going home. Also see the video at YouTube.
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Only four of the 12 floats have karakuri puppets which perform. Takayama Matsuri, Gifu
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The karakuri puppets first appeared on the Takayama Matsuri floats in the 18th century. They were handcrafted by artisans in Kyoto.
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Japan has three basic types of karakuri puppets based on the region: Kyoto, Nagoya, and Kanto (Tokyo area). The Takayama karakuri are the Nagoya-type.
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The puppets come out on a plank sticking out of the float and perform in a mini play with various stunts.
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Ryuujintai Karakuri 龍神台からくり
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Sanbasou Karakuri 三番叟からくり
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Sanbasou Karakuri 三番叟からくり
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Ryuujintai Karakuri 龍神台からくり
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Ryuujintai Karakuri 龍神台からくり
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Ryuujintai Karakuri, Takayama Festival, Gifu 龍神台からくり
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The karakuri perfom one float at a time.
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Shakkyoutai Karakuri which transforms into a lion dance. See the video at hidanet.ne.jp. 石橋台からくり
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Ryuujintai Karakuri 龍神台からくり
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Ryuujintai Karakuri throwing confetti. See the video at hidanet.ne.jp. 龍神台からくり
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Floats are displayed on the street. Takayama Matsuri, Gifu
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Moon
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Hokusai-style cherry blossom waves.
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Back on the hilltop ridge. That's the Takizakura on the lower left.
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View of Mondecool from Nagahama Station.
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Second floor entrance to Mondecool (Heiwado), a new two-story shopping center that opened in Feb. 2015.
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Mondecool supermarket on 1st floor.
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Mondecool 2nd floor shops include a shop selling local products.
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Ibukiyama coffee shop on 2nd floor.
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First floor of Mondecool has the restaurant, Joyfull. Right next to Nagahama Station.
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Joyfull is new and pleasant.
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Joyfull menu. Very cheap.
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Lunch at Joyfull. Food is good.
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Old Nagahama Heiwado store being torn down in Jan. 2016.
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Old Nagahama Heiwado store being torn down in Jan. 2016.
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A low-rise shopping-restaurant complex will be built on the old Heiwado site.
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National Bunraku Puppet Theater. Bunraku is over 370 years old, even older than kabuki.
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Inside National Bunraku Puppet Theater. Photography is not allowed during the plays. Bunraku puppets can perform feats which human actors cannot. This can make it interesting. Bring binoculars though.
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National Bunraku Puppet Theater Museum
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National Bunraku Puppet Theater at night.
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The 2002 World Cup season was one of the most memorable and frenzied times in Japan. The whole country went crazy over soccer, especially while watching the Japan team.
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As the World Cup drew close, Japan braced for the expected onslaught of foreign hooligans smashing up its stores and raping its daughters.
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To the great surprise of most Japanese the foreign supporters turned out to be wonderful and friendly people who love to mix with the natives.
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The Japanese have literally embraced them, often supporting the visiting teams as enthusiastically as if they were their own.
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Meet the wonderful soccer fans of World Cup 2002 in these extraordinary photos of ordinary people.
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Shizuoka Ecopa Satdium on June 21, 2002. England vs. Brazil. Photos by Mariko Hinaga.
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Megastar David Beckham was with England.
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Shizuoka Ecopa Stadium, Beckham on the screen.
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The final match of the 2002 World Cup was held in Yokohama on June 30, 2002. The closest train station to the stadium was Shin-Yokohama Station. Happy Brazil supporters show off their tickets to the World Cup final.
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Pretty Brazilian supporter.
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Without question, there were many more fans and supporters of Brazil than Germany. Yellow and green T-shirts far outnumbered Germany's colors.
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Face painters were on hand to paint litle flags on supporters.
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Flag painting.
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German flag on her cheek and the Brazilian flag on her belly.
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Besides the Brazilian and German flags, this woman went one step further with a Japanese flag on her arm.
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The streets leading to the stadium had a party-like atmosphere.
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Going to the stadium. The line was long, but it progressed quickly and smoothly.
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Nearing the stadium gate.
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Supporters of both teams have a friendly shout down.
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A well-known newscaster from Brazil speaks with a few Brazilians.
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Everyone is cheering in front of the TV camera from Brazil.
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Brazilian supporter.
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Supporters of Brazil and Germany side-by-side.
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Everyone lingered and posed for pictures with the stadium in the background. Unfortunately, I had no tickets. I heard that scalpers were selling a pair of tickets for 1 million yen. Too much for me.
 
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