Round 21 – St Kilda v Sydney: Pride in Pride Game and Japan calling

  1. AFL Round 21: St Kilda v Sydney Swans

Etihad Stadium

Saturday 13th August 2016, 7.20pm


Acceptance. Love. Connection. Games. Football. And life.


Life in Japan with eldest Rachel. Canasta. Rummy tiles. Backgammon. Going to Snake Café. Having and holding snakes. One climbed over Rachel’s glasses. Red, white and black snake, on table in glass box. Wonderful food. (Not the snake.)


Before coming, started taking iPhone photos to post every day for 365 days, my proviso – must have red, white and black in them somewhere.  Not hard proviso to fulfil in Japan, or at home, so far. Taking photos and sharing on Facebook with Deborah Hartmann Brownstein (wonderful photographer and wife of editor Glenn) and others. Enjoying the challenge.  Red, white and black everywhere.


Pokémon Centre and Rachel having a spree with gift money. Watching all girl group sing and dance below. Shopping.  For food.  For chicken soup ingredients. For supplies for my breakfast in hotel room.


Cooking huge pot of soup, freezing said soup for supply once I am gone.  Pretty damn good soup.  Pretty damn good mother.


Pretty good daughter too. SIM card and Wi-Fi for phone set up.  AFL Global Pass bought.  Tolerating and joining Mum watching footy, both Western Bulldogs and Saints games. She’s my only Saints child. Very excited to be there in spirit and here in body. Lost to North. Hmm.  Still excited.


Walking heaps. Walking to catch Pokémon and catching my first on Rachel’s phone. Thousands out walking, catching Pokémon everywhere. Go to Shinjuku Gyoen and thousands play Pokémon Go while I walk the length and depth of park, watching all the players. Sleeping for a moment under the shade.


So hot, am using wet “shmattah” or tea-towel around my neck everywhere.  Natural air-conditioning. Find I am only in sandals and lightest clothes EVERY day. Borrow a blanket from Rachel because the doona’s in hotels are always too hot for my feet. Sleep with air-conditioning. Very rare.


Walking at night back to hotel because so many people are out and about. Heat. Humidity. Buy a shade umbrella.  Buy another to keep off the big rains. Walking using phone navigation, and then learn my way.  Walk back every night.  Loving the movement.  The freedom.


Discover a love to Japanese curry, only mild.  Curry Co.  Am in love with Curry Co. And home delivery.  Of everything.  Food.  Home essentials.  Packages. Books. Larger back up battery for phone. Delivery next day. Every day.


Good daughter Mimi back home sends medication I have forgotten, but go to doctor to get local script in case it can’t get through. Good daughters.


See red, white and black everywhere.  Not just posting one photo a day, but as many as turn out. Keep in touch with news and sport via Age APP and ABC APP. Loving technology.  Loving my children and younger people who help me set UP my technology.


Message Yoshi heaps.  About football and life. Finally meet up in Shin-Osaka from a fabulous Shenkasen ride, speeding through the countryside and suburbs. Yoshi and I have wonderful lunch.  Watch the game, half in station area and half at Aussie pub.  Glorious day, glorious Saints win against the Blues. Enjoy my friend and distracting my friend.  He has a great day too.


Rachel, in the meantime, is in Kobe and attacking the Pokémon Centre there.  Her home is Pokémon heaven. Her surname she changed at 18, and she is now an Articuno.  A beautiful blue Pokémon bird.  My beautiful blue bird. Get to my little bird after a great win against Carlton.  Rest for an hour before heading out to the harbour area. Ferris Wheel to see the view.  Love views and photography up high. Eat good food and walk the long way back – Pokémon Go is moving my immovable daughter.


Next day, red, white and black cable car up to the Kobe Herb Gardens. Very hot and humid. Happy in my Saints coloured cable-car, happy with view of harbour and city. Eat up top of mountain, and walk it off as we go down.  So many flowers.  Think of my mother Elfie and her love of flowers. The last time in Japan was in December, when she became critically ill and nearly died.  That holiday sucked.  Worried ALL the time.  Mum passed away end of January.  Needed this true holiday. Needed to be with Rachel, and watch the recorded service together.  Both teary, and then she accidently wiped my portable hard drive.  Panic, and even nerd magic couldn’t get it back.  Her best friend nerd will have a go when I get back, but as I save things in many places, was able to restock most of it from ICloud and computer itself.  Nothing major lost, I think.  Daughter extremely embarrassed.  This sort of stuff happens to me, not her.


Dinner at Kobe, beef cooked in front of us by the hottest man my age I have seen for ages.  The whisky didn’t help.  They poured me a big glass of Yamazaki single Malt Whisky, 12 years old. Same one I had with Yoshi. Really cute chef, really good whisky, a little tipsy Mum and laughing daughter.  Beef too rich, found it hard to sleep, but it could have been the hot chef OR the cooked fatty, yummy Kobe meat.


Back in Tokyo, meeting Rachel at different place which required some independence. Got lost, of course.  First train caught went opposite direction.  Second time, a kindly older lady speaking English knew that I was stuffed because the train was going to go back the same way and not ahead.  So lovely Sachi led me off that train and helped me onto the correct one and I made my destination. Swapped details, she emailed me, loved my art and my card I give out and we met for dinner a few nights later.  Another lovely friend. Sachi used to work for Sony Japan, and now at 75 works to produce music, works as a cleaner to pay for the production work.  Loves to keep busy.  Loves the music she supports.  She gave me two discs. Original music on new instrument – part flute, part pan. A wonderful take on some traditional pieces.


Read like crazy. Biography of John Lennon after reading same author on Paul McCartney.  Best biographies I have ever read by Philip Norman. (And ordered “Shout” which is his history of Beatles as a group.) And Molly Meldrum’s’ “The Never um Ending Story”. Enjoying my past music passions and paths.


Rachel had a farewell for one of her friends going back to the States to finish study, and met part of her people and another mother too.  We ate great food and told stories, they kept on ‘til late while I walked home.


Found whole floor of foreign language books at Kinokuniya Shinjuku.  Seven floors of books and music. Love finding current Japanese writers.


On morning of meeting Rachel’s friends again to see the Yokohama Pikachu Invasion, I am thinking of Melbourne and football and listening to SEN1116, and forget there is a 14” drop from the hotel’s bathroom into the bedroom and fall, twisting and bruising my foot. Manage to make it to Yokohama, me using the ice I now carry for the heat to stop the swelling, and a new umbrella as a crutch.  As I painfully limp, I wonder how footballers manage worse injuries, all the time.  At the Invasion there are 12 short human beings inside Pikachu’s and they waddle along in perfect time, to the joy of young and old alike.  We ponder who they use to walk in these huge suits on such hot days. Then there is a small show of Pikachu’s and dancers skating on the stage below. We eat a fabulous lunch at “Bubby’s” (the name my kids called my Mum) before the pain is so bad, (with Rachel’s friend Ako got on the phone looking after me) we travel many miles back by taxi to Shinjuku. By the time we’re in my suburb, she had found a specialist.  Medical system so different. No GP, just straight to specialist, who fitted me in, x-rayed on the spot, and thankfully, no breaks but bad bruising. Bandaged and buggered, I rested.


We ate at the top of Shinjuku Station, a fancy restaurant with great views. I tried different whiskies. I bought presents. We shared hugs, taxi’s, cooking, sweat, and carrying heavy food home. I wore the same sets of clothing on alternate days, the coolest stuff I bought, and sandals all the time. One umbrella as crutch, another for shade. There were buses, trains and taxi’s. Under passes and over passes. The Olympics quietly in the background.  Notes written for the taxi’s to take me to Rachel or home.  Taxi’s everywhere once limping.


Seeing a great 360 view up high, 50 storey building that had Anime exhibition.  I looked at the views, and used my “magic fingers” to distract a crying baby.  Amused her parents and my daughter explained I do this all the time. (Especially on planes when babies are distressed.) They forget the distress when the mad old lady makes her fingers light up and the light flick from one finger to another.


There are naps.  There are harder beds than I am used to. There is Google Maps and the photo challenge.


And then the Pride Game, the magnificent occasion of celebrating our uniqueness. The preparations, the interviews, the coming out of Nicky Winmar’s son Tynan.  Nicky Winmar once again challenging the football and larger community by championing a cause close to his heart.  Tynan proves to be a magnificent soul too, and with all the other interviews the Saints and the AFL have aired, it is a time for thinking differently.  Time to accept people for who they are. The hard work of Jason Ball and Sam Gilbert, and the Saints Club and the AFL, and Saints Pride group and even Francis Leach interviewing live on Facebook which I caught all the way over in Tokyo.  Wonderful stuff.


There is the great first half of the St Kilda v Sydney Swans game, where the Saints play a stunning brand of football to match goal by goal with Sydney, and then injuries (and others tell me umpiring decisions), change the game. It is a terrible second half that sees injuries to Saints.  Tom Hickey, who’s had an outstanding year, bravely tries to battle through. Sam Fisher, so good for his few weeks of return, is out for at least one game.  Jarryn Geary was withdrawn after warm-up.  Sore back.


Sydney Swans just stomped the Saints – they were bigger, stronger and meaner.  And of course, there’s Buddy Franklin (6), Papley (3), Parker (3), Richards (2), while Paddy McCartin (2) was our only multiple scorer.  We did well when we did well. A gutsy effort.


On the last day in Tokyo, perhaps to divert myself and Rachel from my departure, I finally succumbed to Pokémon Go and downloaded the game. I am pretty good. And have been addicted ever since.  It gives me another communal connection with my daughter so far away, and another reason for my other two to roll their eyes at their mother.  As if there wasn’t enough already.


For all that’s said about it, it has got me moving too, in three days I have walked 10 kilometres more than I would normally.  When I begin to flag in the day, I go out and catch a few more and walk more. The foot, still sore, protests, but the 1kg I lost on one 5-2 day weight loss day, shows me I am on the right track. It is back to babysitting, hosting friends from San Francisco for two nights (2 adults, 2 kids) and cooking a big Friday night dinner before the Richmond v St Kilda Game and a night of Beatles Music played by Australian musicians. I’m rocking and rolling, proudly wearing my Pride Saints scarf everywhere and hope my Saints boys can have the energy and fight that I feel at this present time.


Go Saints. Go Pokémon Go.


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About Yvette Wroby

Yvette Wroby writes, cartoons, paints through life and gets most pleasure when it's about football, and more specifically the Saints. Believes in following dreams and having a go.


  1. Hi Yvette,

    Thanks for sharing nice stories of your time here in Japan. I’m glad that you enjoyed staying here.

    I admire you taking photos of red, white and black. Maybe you could send them to the club to show how passionate you are of the mighty Saints.

    Once again, thanks for everything when we met up in Osaka. It was so great to talk to you and to watch footy together.

    I hope your foot is getting better soon.

    Six words at the beginning of your piece are very important for us Almanackers. It’s a nice reminder!

    Have a good weekend!


  2. jan courtin says

    Lovely story Yvette. Covers it all really!

  3. Earl O'Neill says

    Great call Yvette. Love the short sentences, bang, bang, bang!
    ‘Shout’ is one of the first and best band bios, I highly recommend Dave Marsh ‘ ‘Before I Get Old.’

  4. Lovely yarn Yvette. Enjoyed reading your lovely stories

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