to left, Carl Gough and his wife, Tomoko, Yoshiko and her partner.
ex-pat, Carl Gough tells
us about Japan's preparations for the up and coming World Cup.
19th April, 6.30pm, just finished work in Minami Aoyama.
I am heading down to Roppongi, a local "gaijin" (Foreigner) hangout
for a few quiet ones with the head of IT for a large software storage
Eamonn is 18
months into Tokyo, from London and having a ball. We meet at the
local Irish bar, "The Shamrock" always good for a decent pint, although
very overpriced at 1200 yen (6 GB pounds).
The Topic of
conversation on everyoneís lips is up and coming World Cup, more
specifically, the local TV and the portrayal of "British Hooliganism".
the girls are buying all the blue and white face paint possible,
the guys are playing it smart by picking up the latest state
of the art plasma screen TVís for home."
For two weeks
straight, Fuji TV and Tokyo Broadcasting Station have been playing
footage of the worst kind, running pitch battles between rival British
clubs and of course, the 'Euro' which achieved worldwide coverage.
The message they are sending out is clear. Hooligans are coming
from England. Batten down your doors.
That is exactly what is going to happen at kick off on the first
game of the tournament.
Shops will close
due to a fear of a riot and in their typical schizophrenic way welcome
foreigners to Japan and forbid them to stay in certain hotels. Xenophobia
is still rife!!
be hoping the England fans will behave themselves during the
Eamonn and I
discuss the finer points of Tokyo living and chuckle at the thought
of hundreds of fans heading in totally the opposite direction of
the stadium on one of Tokyoís many spider web subway systems.
On the whole,
most of the Japanese TV stations are getting enthusiastic. Merchandisers
even more so - they'll sell lots of useless trivia at a good profit.
The fans are practicing their cheering "Ganbare Nippon" (Do your
best Japan), in the deluded view that they'll help lift their team
which may be difficult if you're assigned a seat as there is no
alcohol and you definitely can't stand up to cheer.
In almost every
instance, foreigners will have their name printed on their ticket
and have to carry a passport to get into the games. As for the security
- they have no idea (of a hooligans dream).
are paranoid at the prospect of rampaging hooligans.
it will take 48 hours to check everyone going into the 40, 000 man
As this is unrealistic they still plan to do it! What this means
is that anyone not looking like they're a local (i.e. Japanese)
will be searched. Smart move.
If all else fails and a riot ensues, the local riot police will
be there with the newly invented "Net Gun" Ė thatís right, a gun
that fires a net over troublemakers.
While the girls are buying all the blue and white face paint possible,
the guys are playing it smart by picking up the latest state of
the art plasma screen TVís for home.
that Beckham will get his foot sorted out in time for the games,
and thatís the feeling of most Brits in Tokyo, some even going so
far as thinking that it was sabotage.
I on the other hand am very upset as this means he will be spending
more time at home with Posh Spice which dramatically ruins my chances
of stealing her.
all national museums will be waved, to encourage foreigners
to experience Japanese culture.
As I sip my
4th pint of Guinness I can only think of closing the deal with Eamonn
and getting away from it all when it starts.
Maybe I'll go to Guam, a little tropical island like Hawaii, two
hours south of Japan, assuming I can get a room in a hotel of course.
On the brighter
side, Japanís Education Minister Atsuko Toyama announced that, during
the World Cup, fees for all national museums would be waved for
foreigners showing a passport.
that this was to expose foreigners to as much Japanese culture as
possible. Lucky devils!