Alun Wyn Jones Japanese jingles, 80s pop music and ‘Brave’ Blossoms no more: 24 things we learned during the 2019 Rugby World Cup

Alun Wyn Jones This is one awesome component.

The Rugby World Cup reached its climax on Saturday night, with South Africa crowned as champions after beating Eddie Jones’ England 32-12 in Yokohama.

Siya Kolisi, South Africa’s first black rugby captain, led from the front as the Springboks landed a third world title following victories in 1995 and 2007.

It marked the conclusion of seven long weeks after proceedings kicked off on September 20 with Japan’s opening victory over Russia.

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The World Cup was making its first debut in Asia, with hosts Japan delivering a sporting spectacle that will long in the memory.

With the competition now at an end, reportersJack de MenezesandSamuel Lovettlook back on what they learned during their time in the country:

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Alun Wyn JonesJapan loves a jingle 

On the metro. On the toilet. When you’re taking money out of the cash machine. When you’re ordering food. When you’re laying wide awake at 3am, the fourth consecutive night in a row, delirium creeping in, lights flashing outside, the same happy-clappy tinkle from the shop across the road filling your ears. Japan absolutely loves a jingle. 

Alun Wyn JonesSake isn’t what you think it is

‘Sake’ refers to alcohol in general, not the fermented rice drink we’ve come to associate it with.Nihonshuis it’s actual name. You can lock that one away for a rainy day.

Alun Wyn JonesOn the topic ofnihonshu

Some people will keep their own ‘sake’ bottles (often the really big ones you might see) at their localizakaya(think of it as Japan’s equivalent of a British pub) They’ll distinguish it with a little totem (maybe a cat key-ring, a silk ribbon – something of that ilk) so whenever they head back for a drink and a bite, they’ll fill their classes from the same bottle until it’s empty at which point they may buy a new one.

Nihonshu is often drunk with ice tea or fizzy water and squeezed lemon (Samuel Lovett)

Alun Wyn JonesTime to accommodate rising Japan

Japan needs a seat at the top table of international rugby. How they can be frozen out of the biggest tournaments is unfathomable, with suggestions that they will not even be considered for Rugby Championship entry until the next TV deal ends in 2025. To keep Japan out of the big time for another six years would be a monumental waste of this tournament.

Alun Wyn JonesConvenience stores and their secret love affair with 80s pop music

It took me about four weeks and what must have been my umpteenth visit to 7/11 before stumbling upon Japan’s secret love affair with 80s pop music. A-ha, the Cure, Duran Duran, David Bowie, Wham! – we’re talking the lot. All the main convenience stores – 7/11, Family Mart, Lawsons – seemed to have their own ‘go-to’ song. My personal favourite was 7/11’s orchestral version of A’ha’s ’Take On Me’.

Alun Wyn JonesCrocs do not belong in the workplace

Businessmen in Tokyo wear Crocs in the office. Oh the horror of it. The sheer, blood-curling horror of it. What a sight. What a phenomenon. Completely unacceptable and unforgivable. I hope to never see anything like it again.

Alun Wyn JonesThe food isn’t as healthy as you think…

Although there’s plenty of healthy food to enjoy, from the obvious stuff such as sushi, rice balls and sashimi (raw fish served with wasabi), I was taken aback at the sheer volume and variety of unhealthy options: Kushikatsu (deep fried skewered kebabs of meat, seafood or veg); Okonomiyaki (savoury pancake made from fried yam and meats); Takoyaki (batter balls typically filled with diced octopus); and Tempura. It was nigh impossible to escape it all. I tried really, really hard. Trust me. 

Japanese food isn’t as healthy as you’d think (Samuel Lovett)

Alun Wyn JonesThe All Blacks will be back

Meet this glamorous constituent!!

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