JAPAN PHOTOS

By Philbert Ono


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Saitama Super Arena is right near JR Saitama-Shintoshin Station, about 40 min. from Tokyo Station on the JR Takasaki Line (30 min. via Ueno-Tokyo Line) and Keihin-Tohoku Line (42 min.).Very convenient because this train line runs between Saitama and Yokohama and passes through central Tokyo including major train stations.
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JR Saitama-Shintoshin Station heading out the turnstile.
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JR Saitama-Shintoshin Station outside the turnstile. Go left.
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JR Saitama-Shintoshin Station exterior view.
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Countdown to Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics as of Aug. 25, 2019.
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Front side of Saitama Super Arena. Enter toward the left side. Looks like a complicated structure from the outside.I was here to see men's and women's basketball games were held on Aug. 25, 2019 as part of the five-day International Basketball Games event for men and the Mitsui Fudosan Cup for women. It was also an Olympic test event.
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Long line to buy basketball merchandise outside the stadium.
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Long line to buy basketball merchandise outside the stadium. Can well imagine what it will be like during the Olympics...
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International Basketball Games was held first, with Japan vs. Tunisia on Aug. 25, 2019.
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Entering Saitama Super Arena.
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Hallway after showing your ticket. Long line to pose with player cutouts.
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Posing with player cutouts.
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Corridor in Saitama Super Arena.
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When full, Saitama Super Arena has three tiers of seats.
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The men's basketball game was held first, with Japan vs. Tunisia. The stadium was packed with over 18,000.
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When full, Saitama Super Arena has three tiers of seats.
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When full, Saitama Super Arena has three tiers of seats.
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For smaller crowds, Saitama Super Arena can be adjusted to have only two tiers of seats. The ceiling is lowered to hide the third tier on the top.
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For smaller crowds, Saitama Super Arena can be adjusted to have only two tiers of seats.
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For smaller crowds, Saitama Super Arena can be adjusted to have only two tiers of seats.
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Introducing the players.
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Introducing the players.
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Introducing the players.
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The crowd was excited to see their national team.
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"Japan as One"
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Spectators were given red-colored file folders to create this red blanket. It seems red is Saitama's sports cheering color.
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"Akatsuki Five" is the nickname for Japan's national basketball team (for both men and women). "Akatsuki" means "red dawn."
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Roster for Japan and Tunisia. Rui Hachimura didn't play this day and was on the courtside. Too bad! He had played the day before against Germany and the crowd went wild whenever he scored. The crowd was still very excited on this day too.
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Daiki Tanaka. Tunisia in white.
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Yuta Watanabe, one of the star players and an NBA player for the Memphis Grizzlies.
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Daiki Tanaka
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Daiki Tanaka
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The national basketball team also has cheerleaders named "Akatsuki Venus." Like the players, most cheerleaders come from cheerleading squads from various pro basketball teams in Japan.
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Naoto Tsuji
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Naoto Tsuji
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Naoto Tsuji
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This is Yuta Watanabe, one of the star players and an NBA player for the Memphis Grizzlies.The national team's other NBA player, Rui Hachimura, didn't play this day and was on the sidelines.
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Makoto Hiejima. Japan trailed Tunisia most of the time, but it finally caught up and tied the score during last few minutes. But a basket by Tunisia during the final seconds beat Japan. Good game.
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Courtside
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Courtside TV cameramen.
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Today's attendance.
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Cheerleaders in a corner.
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Final score.
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Post-game comments by Yuta Watanabe.
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Yuta Watanabe expresses his disappointment with the loss.
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After the game, team members lined up on the court for a thank you speech by Rui Hachimura (in black on the left).It seems men's basketball has finally become a lot more popular with Rui being drafted to the NBA's Washington Wizards and a member of Japan's national team. Rui has a Japanese mother and Beninese father. Born and raised in Toyama, Japan and fluent in Japanese. He's likely to appear in Tokyo 2020.
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Remarks by Rui Hachimura, the main reason for Japan's renewed interest in the NBA.
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Speech by Rui Hachimura.
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Saitama Super Arena snack bar.
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Next was the women's national team playing against Chinese Taipei. The arena became pretty empty for women's basketball. Aug. 25, 2019.Women's basketball is nowhere near as popular as men's basketball in Japan. This was my first time to see a women's basketball game in Japan.
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Large block of empty seats. It seems the TV cameras needed a clear view and the red seats were for sponsors left unused. Hope we don't see this at the Olympics.
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Japan women's national team in red.
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Chinese Taipei practicing.
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Tip off.
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Cheerleaders shoot a prize to the crowd.
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Kadysha Juna Umezawa, from Canada.
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Kadysha Juna Umezawa, from Canada.
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Nako Motohashi
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Yuki Miyazawa
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Japan easily beat Chinese Taipei.
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Arena layout.
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Seat categories.
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Outside the srena.
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Countdown to Tokyo 2020 as of Jan. 11, 2020. Saitama Shin-toshin Station.
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Olympic/Paralympic venues in Saitama Prefecture.
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My second visit to Saitama Super Arena was on Jan. 11, 2020. It was for the Empress's Cup national baskteball tournament.
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Entering Saitama Super Arena, not so crowded for women's basketball games.
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We saw two women's semi-final basketball games for the 86th Empress's Cup at Saitama Super Arena.
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Saitama Super Arena concourse had a few souvenir stands.
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This semi-final game was Denso Iris (white) vs. Mitsubishi Electric Koalas.
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赤穂 ひまわり / Himawari Akaho
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稲井 桃子 / Momoko Inai
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Another concourse.
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The next semi-fonal women's basketball game for the Empress's Cup was Eneos Sunflowers vs. Toyota Antelopes.
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Introducing the players.
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Introducing the Toyota Antelopes.
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Eneos Sunflowers
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Eneos Sunflowers (yellow) vs. Toyota Antelopes. Asami Yoshida
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Saori Miyazaki
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Saori Miyazaki
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Kadysha Juna Umezawa, from Canada.
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Saori Miyazaki
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Mikoto Onuma
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Asami Yoshida
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We also visited courtside.
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Saitama Super Arena's press room.
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Seat categories.
 
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