Witnessing the spectacle of an Aussie Rules game in Melbourne last month made me realise how much I miss watching live sport. Apart from last years baseball game, a sumo tournament, a couple of Rugby games (Ireland v Japan, Newcastle Falcons v NEC Green Rockets) and a few Kashiwa Reysol games I’ve not seen much in the flesh during my time in Japan.
I wanted to support Nagoya Grampus Eight when I came here because of the Gary Lineker connection but living near Kashiwa in my first year in Japan I ended up going to see them four times. Three defeats and a draw so I wasn’t much of a lucky omen. The fact that they didn’t win at home all season in 2004 perhaps indicates that it wasn’t totally my fault!
Seeing that Reysol were playing in Tokyo for some reason on Sunday the 2nd of September I jumped at the chance of seeing them play at the National Stadium against Yokohama F. Marinos. Sadly I couldn’t get a ticket in the atmospheric end behind the goal as it was sold out so I had to settle for a 3000 yen seat in the corner.
An explosive start to the game saw Reysol go ahead inside the first minute via an own goal which stunned both sets of supporters and after that the game descended into a fairly dull game with Marinos dominating possession but apart from one effort never looking like scoring. Anyway, it’s only taken four seasons but I have now finally seen Kashiwa win.
The strange thing about Reysol games is that all the singing on the terraces (and there is lots) seems to have no reflection on whats going on on the pitch and never seems to change and seems to resemble a karaoke session in some ways rather than football chants. All of this is a far cry from the English Premier League and indeed the second, third and probably even the fourth tiers!