VM i Japan for GVM/70+, 2017
KB tells Thomas’ story
Japan tour with AB – Cherry Blossom Tour – March 31/14. April 2017 By Thomas Kentorp Introduction: (His report in the best Danish translated to the worst English by Google with a few adlibs by Kim (notably in parenthesis) )
It’s hard to work under pressure, but I have to. Tour leader John Andersen has not only a high level of ambition for himself but also for people around him. I have come to promise to write a little to the Tjønser website about the Cherry Blossom trip to Japan, where an AB team with some reinforcement from Herlev and the United States played 10 football matches over 5 days.
In the rest of the days, a meticulous tourist program was added – of course in an Excel spreadsheet – where sights in Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka and Hiroshima were to be visited. The tourist program was so hard that you wanted to go back on the football pitch and the quiet space on the left side.
In the Tjønser squad, it is agreed that John Andersen is a completely unusual man who, with organizational capacity, auditorium talent, good mood and enthusiasm, provides for numerous trips and matches for the older football players at AB. Nevertheless, it has turned out that John has a look alike in Portland, Oregon, the United States, the former KFUM club (YMCA) Kim Bergenser, who landed in the US after a business career in EAC (37 years), among other things. John and Kim met each other in connection with the fact that a US team of players at +70 visited Denmark last year. There were matches at AB and social gathering in the changing rooms (of AB Football Club) at Skovdiget and Restaurant Da Claudio, and along the way, Kim and John thought it might be great if John could assemble an AB team (preferably +70) which could join the(O70 NC United) USA team in a few tournaments in Japan in April 2017.
John managed to dig up 16-player football squad and a number of traveling wives, so that the Danish travel company was 23 in total. Before departure, Japan had warmed the team with a battle on the big artificial court against the remaining Tjønsere. A match that ended 7-2 to the Japan team. The physically powerful Mads Thuesen, who plays on Johns and Erling Madsen’s Saturday team scored 6 goals. There must be a new AB record for a 11-man AB old men’s team. Last I saw Mads play football, he scored on goal during Elio Acunto-de Lorenzo’s last Italy tour to Sicily in 2014, but now he has been retrained as an efficient tank-center forward. Niels Torp, Jan Iver and Søren Hansen and ‘Catten’ Vester confirm after his dominance in the test match at AB.
Arrival to Japan:
Apart from Mads Thuesen and his wife Tina Brammer as well as Vagn and Birthe Ludvigsen, the Japan team borded h the same SAS airplane on March 31, 2017. Bent and Frank Jacobsen had upgraded themselves to Business Class tickets while others were sitting n ‘monkey’class. When we landed in Tokyo, we had to spend a couple of hours getting our train cards issued. In principle, we had bought these from home, but it was still necessary that the (surprisingly) bureaucratic Japanese Rail should further check passports and personal information (of us Danes). In addition to the (Shinkansen/Bullet-train) train tickets for our longer journeys to Kyoto, Osaka and Hiroshima, we also purchased cards for the regular Tokyo subway. A ticket system similar to the Danish Travel Card, ie. That you check in and out and can deposit money on the card on a regular basis. After a train ride lasting a couple of hours from the airport, we arrived at our first hotel in Tokyo, where we were staying for three nights. We had to stay in a mix of single and double rooms, and there was a hustle to get the keys. Let it be said right away: The hotel rooms were tiny and had one double bed. It was not possible to push two single beds into a room. At the same time there was only one large duvet for sharing, so there was a true crowd (of oversized Danish guys) down to the front desk to get an extra blanket and duvet cover. The new man from Johns and Erling Madsen’s Saturday team Pelle Jandrup was also quick down and ordered an extra blanket and was given a pillow. It was just a scene in 2003’s Oscar-winning movie ‘Lost in translation’ with Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson in the lead (tasting the Suntory Whisky). The Japanese are not good at English.
Kim Bergenser’s USA team had already arrived at the hotel (the day before). It was the plan that the two old men’s teams should be ride in tandem for the rest of the trip, ie. Follow the same tourist program and play the same football tournaments. There were many Americans whom we knew from their visit last year in Denmark. Really nice people who play untrained football without too many flaws, but with a very strong goalkeeper and a solid back defense.
The first matches:
The day after arrival we participated in our first little tournament in Saitama on the outskirts of Tokyo. Fortunately, the weather was really good, because we were going to get dressed outdoors, and the pitch was an ordinary grass-field, without too much grass. AB played first 0-0 but we won the second 1-0. (KB: I think AB won the 2nd match 3-0 while we won ours 1-0) The opponents were (the best Veterans Cup team in Japan split up into Saitama 1 & 2) – Our American friends NC United had to finish two draws matches (see above) so it was a good start for us, even though no tournament winner was designated as such. However, it did not prevent John Andersen from writing to webmaster Søren Hansen with a “front news” that the AB Japan team had won its first tournament on the trip. Our AB team is built with an axis with the skilled goalkeeper Tim Rishøj, the fast-paced Ole Kaysen as the back man, Bjørn Larsen, who manages the midfield and keeps people up to date, as well as our boss Niels Yde, who hangs a little between midfield and Attack and, incidentally, comes with a tactical presentation for each match that is similar to AB’s 1st team in 1967. In the very beginning, we have the new comet Mads Thuesen usually together AB’s response to John Major, the slightly cautious Benny Nørgaard, who never gets injured. In addition, we found a very solid defender in Stig Hansen, who has played many years in Herlev, on the trip. Stig made it very sensible in all the matches. Secure defense interventions and deliveries to the nearest man. How hard can it be?
In addition, Stig and his wife Jytte were devoted tourists who participated in all of Johns and Kim’s military pace and distance tours and arrangements wearing Bermuda shorts, kneesocks, practical shoes and usually a packed lunch bag. Lunch was not arranged for the Saitama football, but there was plenty of Sake (Japanese rice wine), beer and soft drinks. In fact, we were allowed to take the remaining Sake home, which we enjoyed later on a couple of train journeys when the mood needed a boost. Next day there was intense sightseeing program in Tokyo with visits to the huge fish market, lunch with sushi, boat trip, visit to gardens with flowering cherry trees, etc. Another hard day as a tourist.
Football in Kyoto and hotel in Osaka:
After three nights in Tokyo at Daiwa Roynet Hotel, Kim’s USA team and Johns AB team checked out early in the morning to take the train to Kyoto, where football was organized against a couple of Japanese teams. Let’s say right away that the rush hour might not be the world’s best time to take the metro and fully loaded with our baggage. The Tokyo Metro is the world’s busiest, so a troop of 50 older Danes and Americans with suitcases and handbags trying to get into the same metro car is like getting a camel through the eye of the needle. But the Japanese do not mind. There are just gazing intense down the cell phones. The Japanese are incredibly disciplined, concentrated and laborious. Their roads, sidewalks, stations, trains and toilets are totally clean and well-functioning. But there is a lack of charm and don’t often see the funny side of life.
On arrival at Kyoto, a bus was waiting for us to drive the soccer field and keep our luggage while we play soccer. This time we are driven to a large and beautiful artificial turf where the teams Shiga, Kyoto, NC United and AB play everyone against 2 x 20 minutes. AB wins 2 matches and loses a single, and John is immediately ready to take back another trophy, but we will stop him. Due to injury and fatigue, talented Frank Jakobsen just 44 years young plays a few matches, which means quite a lot for the match’s results. At one point, Frank dribbled through six Japanese retirees with just a single long stride on the wing. “A meter (KB 1 meter is 10% longer than a yard). was stolen,” as the young people say.
After the game there was a nice Japanese dinner with beer and sake as well as a karaoke similar entertainment where the musical soccer players were allowed to test their singing talent. On the way by bus to the hotel in Osaka, I had to ask for a toilet stop on the road. Too much beer of course. Actually, I tried to entice my new friend Gunnar Cederberg to the rest place, so it was not so embarrassing, but there was no help offered. Gunnar is otherwise an incredibly nice man who has played all his life in the Herlev Sports Club, and Gunnar has also been chairman of the club for a long time. How Gunnar was invited to the Japan trip, I do not know, but I know Gunnar was 100 per cent concentrated on getting well through the process. Mrs. Cederberg had packed two larger suitcases for Gunnar, where there was clean clothes with banknotes on to each day. In addition, Gunnar had such a man-purse with passport and money, which was hugely tucked away behind the shirt, shirt and T-shirt. There was nothing left to chance. Gunnar said to me repeatedly, “Thomas, you must say if I have told you before, but I have been a personal friend of the last three mayors in the municipality of Herlev: Ib Juul, Kjeld Hansen and Thomas Gyldal Petersen, and I am sure that Thomas Gyldal becomes prime minister one day. ”
When we arrived at the new hotel in Osaka, also a Daiwa Roynet Hotel, where we had to stay for three nights, there was once again a struggle to get hold of the keys and get up to the rooms. This time Svend Olhoff went out of character and grabbed his key to him and Mrs Majorie Olhoff, and as a real lawyer, Svend would like to see what the room looked like before paying. The problem was just that the Japanese have devised an efficient payment system, which requires special payment machines at hotels and at many restaurants before access to room and food. This meant that Svend was fast at the front desk and had to enter the queue for the payment machines. There is efficiency in Japan. “No pay, no cure” – you can say.
The next few days went with a nice tourist program in Kyoto and Hiroshima, respectively. A lot of miles were piled on the sore and tired legs from Kyoto, (just 12-13 Miles) but the following day in Hiroshima a bus was arranged for us with a guide who took us around so that we could get an impression of this terrible story of this city with the atomic bomb of 6 August 1945, and the many human fates that followed in the wake of the bomb. It was a hard diet in line with my visit to the Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem a couple of years ago.
Tournament in Chiba On Friday, April 7, 2017:
We left the hotel in Osaka on a bus that took us around the city and to the beautiful and magnificent Osaka Castle. There was lunch at an Italian restaurant, and the afternoon was completed with a boat trip in the harbor. Then we were dropped at the Kyoto Station to take the Shinkansen train with all our luggage, which drove us to the city of Chiba, where the main football tournament was to be played. We were accommodated at the little Spartan hotel Chisun Inn, which was so little motel-like, located close to a motorway junction with a gas station and three franchise restaurants. It was not the world’s most charming place, as Kim and John had found.
Next day, the football tournament started at the major sports center in Ichihara. Lovely grass fields and small changing rooms. It was raining all the time during the tournament, but it did not mean much for the football games. It was most sour when we went back and forth between the hotel and the Football complex that it was pouring down (cold rain) all the time. We lost 2 matches and won one. Mads Thuesen scored three goals in our 5-2 win. Our American friends qualified for the final and won the tournament after the penalty shootout. It was really nice and we were a little envious. Too bad we did not get the game against NC United in the tournament. It would have been a good match.
Saturday evening there was a party for the teams with talks, food and drinks. The American +60&65 teams (from Georgia), who also played in Saitama managed to get right before us and attacked dinner buffet. The Georgia team lost almost all their football matches, but they knew exactly when the food was served. Pretty annoying. It was also that evening where both Vagn Ludvigsen, Svend Olhoff and Ole Kaysen had decided to wear red pants. It was ‘Danish Herremoderåd (Dress to Impress Association when at its best. There was a Georgia American who came over to me and asked, “Is it a gay party?”. “No, no, they are just old hippies living in the 60’ies,” I replied.
Tokyo and Olympic Park On Sunday, April 9, 2017:
We travelled again by train and luggage back to Tokyo and a new hotel APA Hanzomon, where we were going to spend the last 5 nights of the trip. A great idea to change the hotel on Sunday evening, where the train and metro traffic after all was a bit more moderate. We had become smarter. The hotel was in a nice neighborhood with lots of restaurants and the possibility of short trips to sights and shopping centers. John and I checked in as usual and shared the sparse room after which it knocked on the door of our room. It was a serious Bjorn Larsen who would just say that he and Lotte had a single room and that they simply could not be there. Was it possible to get it switched to a double room? John went down and looked at the matter. It turned out that Hotel APA had won the first price in the smallest rooms in hotels in Japan. These were double rooms, but you could hardly turn in there. The solution was that humidifiers, empty suitcases, redundant bathrobes, etc. were placed in the hallway, so there was a little more room. But it never worked. It was by this time that I found out that John Andersen invented his own verbal word “for sixteen”. That’s what John says when something goes wrong “Dam-it for sixteen”. I have tried to look up this term, and there is only something called “for seven seventies”, and this term is characterized as a mild expression. Typical for a state-authorized accountant that the numbers should be messed up, so it’s not for us ordinary citizens.
The Monday was spent on sightseeing in Tokyo. The museums in Tokyo are closed on Mondays, we found out in the hard way (closed gate), so we took it easy since there was football again Tuesday. Unfortunately, the matches in Komazawa on the old ‘Olympic Park’ game took place in a monsoon-like rainfall. However, on a modern artificial turf that could take all the water. We played 0-0 in the first match, and then Niels Yde (back to his own self) in the last game of the trip and scored a true hat trick in our 3-0 win. The one goal was more beautiful than the other. 6 International matches for Denmark is not to be denied. John Andersen immediately began to announce us as winner of another tournament as NC United could only master a 0-0 and a 1-0 win. Unfortunately, there was no time (and effort?) For a final that could have decided the winning question. Did NC United not meet us?
After the matches in the historic park of the Olympics in 1964, a nice lunch was organized with the Japanese players and their wives. But God’s help us the +60/65 teams from Georgia again stood at the buffet and took care of the all (the best) dishes when we arrived. How did manage this? Was there a hidden camera on? Well, we are very open minded at AB, and only Vagn Ludvigsen had his red pants so we did avoid the smartass remarks about ‘Gay Parade’. Niels Yde continued the success of the field, and sang ‘Bella bella musica’ so no eye was dry. And Pelle Jandrup also gave a nice number for the laughing Japanese. Generally, there was not much drinking on the trip, but here there were good opportunities. The beer came into big bottles, so it went a little extra.
The last few days without football On Wednesday, April 12, 2017:
We were on the very big bus to Lake Ashi and went sailing on the lake and took a Gondola up the mountains. We had a superfriend guide in Taka-San on the trip. There was a lot of beer on the bus, which could be bought, but there was not much going on in the sale of it. Maybe because we had also had enough day before. Finally it was announced that the beer was free (as rediscovered Glenn Hiroshima offered all the offended a beer on his account for his 2 hours’ disappearance ) It helped a little bit on the thirst, so Tim Rishøj and I had to ask the bus driver for a(nother) toilet stop on my way to Tokyo.
The last day Thursday, April 13, 2017: we packed and shopped a little (and apparently forgot about the 8 Mile walk of the Imperial Palace and Tokyo) before we left (our hotel by bus to) our SAS flight to Copenhagen on Friday. The last evening I ate with (my) mates, John Andersen and Gunnar Cederberg, at a restaurant near the hotel. It turned out that Gunnar could well get the money to pay out of his man-purse, and that John could actually drink white wine, as long it is a quality wine. Together, Gunnar and I thanked John for the effort to plan the trip.
It has been a huge work done by John and Kim Bergenser.
Thanks for the tour (de force).