As mentioned in my last J-League post, I said that I hoped to go to a couple of Shizuoka-based games whilst in the vicinity during the recent Japanese Golden Week holiday. Having arrived at my parents-in-law’s holiday home in Ito only the night before, I left them all behind on Saturday 29th April to go on a fairly lengthy journey to Fujieda to see a J3 match between Fujieda MYFC and Kataller Toyama. Shizuoka prefecture is quite a large one so this was still a two hour plus trip and that was just between the relevant stations.
It was a fine day and Mount Fuji was clearly visible from the train window en-route to Fujieda station which I arrived at just after 11am. I then had to get a bus to somewhere near the Fujieda Sports Complex Park but there seemed to be a difference of opinion between the lady in the tourist information bureau and the various bus drivers I asked. Eventually, I decided that the latter knew better and so I caught the Yuraku-Line bus from stop #3 and after about ten minutes I got off (the only one to do so!) at Horinouchi Shita and began to walk to the stadium following my maps app.
The countryside views (above) were wonderful but after ten minutes I still hadn’t seen anyone who looked like they were going to see a football match and my mind started to wonder if it really was taking place on that particular date! Thankfully as the one stand of the 13,000 stadium came into view, I could see a full car park though there were still very few people around. The park itself was beautiful and there were some wisteria flowers in bloom to rival those that my wife and I saw at the Kameido Tenjin Shrine Wisteria Festival in Tokyo three years ago.
This particular match-day will no doubt be remembered more for the drinks promotion taking place in the concourse where six different types of sake were on offer at the very reasonable price of nothing and whats more you could drink as much as you like! With the entrance ticket only costing 1000 yen this was a very good deal with the football thrown in too! It was to be a day of many red faces in the crowd due to a mix of the alcohol and the gloriously hot sunshine too!
One wonders how this kind of promotion would fair back home in the UK! No doubt some would just forget about the match and prop themselves up near the bar for four hours or so! I’m not really into sake but free is free and it would’ve been rude not to sample a little right?! As it was, I tried all six of them (two at at time!) before the half time whistle had even been blown! In the second half one staff member even took a bottle out amongst the crowd to top up some glasses!
All that alcohol made me hungry and as the second half had just got underway I ducked down into the concourse to get the delightful treat you can see below!
For those looking for a match report, here is the usual solitary paragraph detailing the on-the-field activity. The away side were on top in the first half yet Fujieda took the lead with a great strike by striker Keisuke Endo into the top corner following a neat chest down by his teammate. The Fujieda goalkeeper was caught off his line in the second half and lobbed from about 30 yards after a lovely through ball.
As the match went into injury time I decided to make my move as I really needed to be on the first bus away from the stadium in order to get the train that would connect best with the very local line we were staying on where trains are very infrequent.
Final Score: Fujieda MYFC 1-1 Kataller Toyama