March 1998 – email9

Soccer soccer football. HUH?! Yes ineed football is the correct name for this sport. but in America we call it soccer. How about that. Anyway, I saw my first professional soccer game since the summer of 1994!!! Wahhooo!!! How about that one. It was a most impressive display of…. read it baby!! IT’s ALLLLL there! haha.

From: Gary Ploski          
3/15/98   23:50
Subject: XEROX SUPER CUP Jubilo Iwata vs. Kashima Antlers
To: EVERYbody I could think of at the time

Sangatsu ju-yokka March fourteenth

Attendees: Kaz, his mom, his sis, and me – gdp

        This game was to decide who would be the champions of the regular season. Kashima had won the Emperor’s Cup and Jubilo had won the pre-regular season tournament (or something like that – they’d had won some other tournament that put them into this game. Anyway… the game..

        Upon arrival to the stadium in Tokyo I saw the food courts. Not your typical foods were offered, well… if this were a game in  America. Tako-yaki, and various types of suchi, etc. I must say it was pretty cool to see such a thing. Yes I took a picture or two. Then it was the 15 minute walk around the stadium to get to the entrance! It was this walk that didn’t seem to end. It was pretty neat. Along the way I saw a flee market. I was Kazi’s mom who pointed it out “ahh free marketo!” she said pointing to the gitaa (guitar). U like, no.

        Ok enough prelim stuff… NOT! hehehehe. The mercandise avaiable was all the same and yes there were tons of places to buy this stuff. Oh yeah— get this, it was all pretty expensieve. SURPRISE! Not all of it, actually comparing it to other “games” I’ve been to it was on the lower scale. One last thing, people were pushy!!! Yes they wanted to see what was in the display cases! How about that huh! They were actually  bit pushy. At one point some guy was overly pushy and basically shoved me aside. I said “excuse me” in as sarcastic voice I could muster. The only problem was I said it in English. hehehehe. Opps.

        The game — now? Ummmmmm, ok. It started with the typical annoucing of the players. This happened before the players came out onto the pitch (field). On opposite sides of the stadium were the team followers. Yes indeedy they were that — one side was sky blue and the other red. Sky blue garbage bags filled with air were everywhere!!! It was sooooo bright!! Yes indeed I got pixs of that. hehehe. On the other side was red red red!!! It wasn’t as bright because of the team color being darker. BUT, with a capital ‘Bi’, the supporters were in GREAT ABUNDANCE!! HOLY SUPPORTER batman! Get out the shark repelant and clean up your room cause were goin out!!  The flags, banners were HUGE!!!! You’ll see the pixs later. How about that huh.

        The game was pretty good with songs sung from each side… Yellow Submarine, ole’ ole ole ole, popye wasn’t sung – that’s baseball. The words weren’t sung it was the elevator version sung by a few hundred people. It was pretty cool. I had to laugh at a few of the tunes, but I could just imagine what someone who doesn’t know baseball in the States would think of “We want a pitcher not a glass of water.”  Imagine not understanding the languge then having it explained to you… Think of the term “rubber arm” and imagine that one as well. We’re(humans) all strange aren’t we.

        This went on for 90 minutes, the singing AND the game. The fans worked just as hard as the players, dedicated to the team they are indeed. The score was 1-1 at the end of the 1st half and ended 2-1. The final goal was scored in extra time!!!! It was and incredible goal!!! For those of you who don’t understand soccer I’ll explain brifely, for those of you who do skip the next paragraph.

        Soccer games(international rules) are made up of (2) two 45 minute halves. At the end of each half, depending on how much time has been spent outside of play, the referee will add on a certain amount of time. For example, if a player is hurt and 5 minutes pass before the game resumes again, the referee will add on 5 minutes after the regulation 45 minutes have passed. It’s up to the referee to decide how much time will be added on to the ‘extra time’.

        At the end of the game both groups of fans gave their good bye/congratulation cheers.  First the losing team praised their team and then the other team.  Yes that’s correct! They cheered for the other team!!! They were congratulating the winning team! Talk about respect. After the losing team’s fans finished the winning team’s fans began. First singing praises to their team, then the losing team, then JAPAN!! It was incredible!!!!! I was quite impressed.

        People are people. The bags that were filled with air were left amoung all the seats. SO i guess that’s a constant, people are people, we’re all the same in some ways I guess. Bummer huh.

        After that Kazi and I went to Shinjuku, which about a 20 min walk from the stadium. We browsed around a bit and just chilled. Kaz is HAMMERED from all the work he’s been doing at his job. He’s tapped for energy, nothing to use. IT’S ALLL GONE!! Kaz —- drink a JOLT! hehehehe.

        We chatted about Soccer and the possible changes that should/could be made, my choice of leaving Japan – why I decided to leave, April and my relationship – what’s been happening recently (stresssss and personal changes,etc.), Kazi’s changing of jobs (if at all possible) and also stuff that was stupid enough to laugh at but at the same time something stupid enough to be real. Crazy fun stuff.

        Ok — that’s how the event unfolded. I was most surprised by the fans at that game! It was just an incredible thing to witness. I didn’t hear people yelling at the refs when they mad a questionable call. Only eww’s and ahh’s. I have been finding lots of things that are a part of the culture brought into new realms that the societal structure had never planned upon (like every other society in the world – duh Gar)- it’s interesting. I LIKE the way it funtions here, it’s pretty cool! Peaceful and respectful. I like. Ok enough of me saying the same thing over and over. SORRY! with that… have a crazy day. ciao cito

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