Part 2: Autoethnographic analysis of the J-League

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

the future.

 

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.

 

 

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