Before I had even watched a single second of my chosen J-League game I had
pre-conceived ideas. I tried to block them out, however it is always hard to when
you don’t know what to expect or have heard bad publicity about it in the past.
One of my pre-conceived ideas was that the J-League was of poor quality and
that I would not enjoy it. I can happily say that I was totally wrong when it came
to this idea. I could and very happily follow a team from Japan and watch their
league. I would personally rather watch the J-League compared to the A-League.
This is based on two main reasons. The quality of football is better in Japan than
it is in the A-League and also the passion that there is from the Japanese
supporters compared to the Australian ones. From what I could tell, there were
no problems between the home and away supporters. I cannot understand
Japanese so obviously I cannot confirm that but from what I saw on the channel
it looked that way. The Japanese play a very smooth, on the ground type of
football compared to the Australians. J-league athletes don’t look as physically
intimidating as A-League players, yet their ball skills and footwork was far
superior to the average A-league player.
I also believed that the physical size of the players would go against them when it
came down to the physicality of the game but again they surprised me with how
they used their body to their advantage. When the defenders got close enough to
tackle, the men of the opposite team on the ball managed to keep their body in
between the defender and the ball forcing the defender in order to try and win
possession to go through the body causing a foul. The ball skills were incredible
from the Urawa Red Diamonds CAM (central attacking midfielder). He reminded
me of the Spanish CAM Santi Cazorla who plays in England. Having this epiphany
helped me make sense and understand the tactics and play of the Japanese.
Culturally, I found that Japan was not such a shock for me as I had recently
visited Japan. Although the stream was difficult to find I think that this was
mostly because it was on an Australian server and writing it into YouTube in
English writing rather than in Japanese. I had not thought of this when I was
writing my first part. However, now that I think about it, I’m sure it was an
integral part in the online selection process the internet made for me.
Recently the A-League has been experiencing a massive influx of Asian
footballers as it tries to expand. This influx I’m sure has a lot to do with money,
but I still can’t believe the number of Asian players who play in the A-League.
The A-league has over 10 Japanese player whereas the J-league has only two.
With football being the fastest growing sport in Australia I’m sure that there are
plenty more Japanese footballers who will make their way over to Australia in
Another thing that was a very cultural difference was the style of music that was
being played before the game had even started and even after it. There were not
drums or singing but just an instrumental sound track playing in the background.
Also, that I thought of when I was watching the game were the past players I
have played with. I played in the premier division of football in the south coast
Illawarra district for Bellambi FC. This is where I met Shu, (my friend) and some
other of Japanese boys who I ended up playing with throughout the season. They
all were fairly short apart from Shu who was the same height as me (about 6ft).
At the time, I was not sure if most Japanese people were short or that it was just
these guys. Although I soon came to realise after my travels in Japan that most
Japanese people are fairly short. This was not as much of a shock then when I
saw the game and I’m guessing that none of them looked over 6 ft. Usually there
is always that one tall lanky guy, but there wasn’t in my selected game.
Lastly I want to address my perception of football as a whole, and how after
watching this J-League game has my shaped my view on how I compare football
globally. With football continuing to grow, I look forward to seeing how this
helps shape the J and A-leagues into better competitions. Football being
Australian’s fastest growing sport and Japans 3 rd fastest, I’m sure will present
great things in the future for both countries.