July 22, 2009
Notre Dame, Ind – Coach Lou Holtz spent Tuesday night at a leadership training seminar set up for the Japan Bowl sponsors by GE-Asia. Holtz had breakfast last February on his PR tour to Tokyo for the Japan Bowl with Fujimori-san, the president of GE-Asia (and a former football player for Tokyo University) and that’s where the idea for the seminar was hatched. Holtz spoke for a half hour and took part in a panel discussion. A third speaker was the former president of Tokyo University (also a former football player). About 150 event sponsors attended and listed to the seminar with ear buds via direct translation.
Holtz also expressed an interest in seeing the famed Tokyo fish market, with discussions ongoing for a potential 4:00 a.m. Thursday departure for that event.
Another leftover from Tuesday night – the dinner at Roti was set up by restaurant owner George Synan of K&K Shogun Management. The president of K&K, Kagami-san, spent some time at the reception with former Irish star Chris Zorich.
Wednesday dawned foggy and wet once again, with a steady rain falling as the Irish left for practice. But by the time the buses reached Nihon the rain had halted and practice began under moist, muggy and humid conditions, but at least with no rain.
A couple of nifty touches at the Ritz-Carlton? Heated toilet seats and mechanical window blinds that keep the rooms completely dark.
A handful of people in the Notre Dame party had planned to travel to Yokohama (a 30-minute train ride south of Tokyo) for a Tuesday night baseball game against the Tokyo Giants but the wet weather cancelled that idea.
Family members and other members of the traveling party (non-players and coaches) left the hotel at 2:45 p.m. to meet the squad at the Asakusa temple and shrine area. The Notre Dame group spent two hours in the shrine area (with plenty of time for souvenir shopping), then headed for dinner.
Tim Brown is expected to arrive today after fighting through some passport issues.
The Nihon football staff graciously offered its football meetings rooms for internet access to some of the Notre Dame staff – good for a couple of Notre Dame logo shirts in trade. No shoes were allowed in the team room or the coaching offices.
The Irish today were in shorts and helmets only, with no pads.
Holtz, Brown and Tony Rice are expected to attend the formal pre-game press conference on Thursday and also do a clinic.
Former Irish captains Mike Goolsby, Melvin Dansby, Derek Curry, Bobbie Howard and Brandon Hoyte head to Maru Thursday for a business reception – and Holtz, Patrick Steeneberge and Chris Zorich are part of another corporate event on Thursday evening.
At the pre-practice team meeting Wednesday, Holtz talked about WIN – what’s important now. He talked about the necessity to out-hit the Japan team and be more physical, be the best fundamental team on the field – and he emphasized togetherness and the idea that only the Irish control all these elements. He also mentioned his football commandments – no turnovers, make Japan earn whatever it gets, no missed assignments, no foolish penalties, play well on the goal line, third downs are critical — and win the kicking game.
For the second straight day, Takayuki Sunaga watched practice. He took one snap for the Scottish Claymores of NFL Europe versus the Berlin Thunder in 2000 as the lone non-American to play quarterback in the league. He’s now offensive coordinator of the Team Japan Under-19 squad that finished third at the recent IFAF Junior World Championships after defeating Mexico on July 4 in Canton, Ohio.
Dean Greg Crawford of the College of Science made the trip to Tokyo along with Dave Morrissey and Greg Girzadas from the Notre Dame corporate development staff to explore potential Japanese business connections this week.
There was a total eclipse of the sun in Japan late this morning, though the overcast conditions made it difficult to notice. At the time it took place, the sun (completely covered by the moon for about seven minute) was directly overhead.
Today is the wedding anniversary of Lou and Beth Holtz.
Post-practice interview requests from the Nippon Television Network involved Tim O’Neill, Jeremy Akers and Brandon Hoyte.
Ball-boys for the game will be Chad Holtz (grandson of Lou Holtz) and Drew Pana (grandson of Chuck Lennon, Note Dame alumni association chief).