Adventures from the Far East and Beyond

Bye Bye Kuze May 8, 2008

Filed under: Chiba Lotte Marines,JEF United — orientalmix @ 1:27 am

JEF UNITED – Yikes. Seven straight J. League defeats and now JEF United Chiba is short of a manager. Josip Kuze was fired yesterday, just a day after losing 3-0 to Urawa Reds. They only have two points from the opening 10 matches this season. I was lucky enough to catch the game they tied but they totally could have won that game. (Just like Lotte’s game last night!)

LOTTE MARINES – Last Thursday’s hometown game was a blast! The weather was cooperating and there was a good crew. I wish I took pictures to show how much fun it was. I hope more and more people will come out and enjoy the game from the “stand deck” section!!

(The really strange thing about the “stand deck” is that they don’t really want you to stand there… some of the staff were giving us the evil eye but they learned not to bug a bunch of happy gaijin.)

My childhood friend from B.C. (that’s British Columbia, Canada) is coming out to Chiba tonight and tomorrow. We will be hitting up the Lotte vs Rakuten game tomorrow night. Hope the weather cooperates!


Vissel, JEF call it a draw April 2, 2008

Filed under: JEF United — orientalmix @ 11:39 pm

On a cold Wednesday night, 8694 fans went to show soccer colours. Some wore “deep red” while most of the crowd were clad in bright yellow, a bit of blue, and a dash of green. Die-hard Kobe fans made it all the way to Soga to cheer on Vissel but they didn’t dampen the cheers of the hardcore JEF fans who stood in line at 7:00AM to test their luck of the draw. True fans of JEF stand in line early in the morning to draw numbers which will determine how to line up in the afternoon. The lower the number, the closer you are to the front of the line and to the desired seat right behind the goal. They cheered their hearts out as usual last night.

JEF United (April 2)

The first three minutes of the game turned out to be one of the most thrilling moments. Daisuke Sato took a shot on goal and gave JEF the lead. There were many other close moments but neither side could seal the deal – until the 43rd minute in the 2nd half. Chiba-born Norio Suzuki nailed a penalty shot and changed the game. It turns out that Suzuki used to play for JEF’s Jr youth team when he was younger and just signed with Kobe this season. He tied the game and gave Chiba their third draw of the season.

During the game, I strained my ears trying to figure out what the hardcore fans were singing. I couldn’t even tell which language they were sining in to be honest. Luckily, it turned out that the reserve players actually sit in the stands so I went and gave a copy of the New Gateway to Koki Yonekura (who just recently had his first J. League goal) and asked him what the fans were singing.

For the curious, they were signing:


(oretachi no hokori, JEF United.)

Our pride, JEF United.


Fuku-Ari’s Appeal

Filed under: JEF United,New Gateway — orientalmix @ 12:40 am

Fans at Fuku-Ari

Here is an article that I wrote about JEF United for the spring edition of the New Gateway:

Home team JEF United Ichihara Chiba is kicking off its 16th season as a first-division club in the Japan league (J. League). The team holds the record for being the only team to maintain its first-division position. There is no doubt that 2008 will be a turning point. Croatian Josip Kuze, who has had experience as manager of Gamba Osaka, is set to take over as the new manager of the club. Though many key players left since the end of last season, younger players now have the opportunity to shine. Make sure to catch them on the pitch.

Fuku-ari’s Appeal

Thousands of supporters clad in Rastafarian colors will trek through Soga station to Fukuda Denshi Arena (Fuku-ari) to cheer on their local heroes. The arena hosts 18,500 seats and opened as recently as October 2005. Unlike many of the massive soccer stadiums built to host the Korea-Japan World Cup in 2002, this arena was scaled to match the number of JEF soccer fans and J. League matches. Not only do soccer supports enjoy the easy accessibility of Fuku-ari, they most importantly appreciate the closeness to the pitch. In 2007, the stadium was recognized for its architectural excellence and was given the “Good Design Award” from the Japan Industrial Design Promotion Organization. It’s not just the fans who enjoy being close to the players. The players are grateful for the proximity. Homegrown JEF defender Mitsuki Ichihara (no. 13) explains that he appreciates being able to see the fans up close and “feels a great rush when (he hears) the roar of the supporters during games.” Midfielder Koki Yonekura (no. 22), another Chiba-born former high school star, says he loves playing at Fuku-ari because he feels close to the fans.To him “it doesn’t matter what language people are cheering in, the team appreciates everyone’s support.”