The Season in Blogging: Aishiteru-Tokyo.com in 2009

An entire season has come and gone, and for the most part I managed to blog about all of it; or at least the parts that mattered 😉

I’ve written about 102 posts in 2009, compared to about 30 posts in 2008.  Granted, the bulk of those posts were certainly earlier in the season before I got a bit overwhelmed with work and the like, but I’m certainly happy with how I managed (mostly) to keep up with things.  I’m nowhere close to what Furtho & Agent Orange are up to over in Omiya (300+ posts this year alone!), and sometimes I have trouble consistently getting up reports as regularly as Barry over in Shimizu, but for a two-bit operation I don’t think I (or my guest writers/assistants, Lantis and Andre) have done that badly considering that this was basically the first “full year” of operations for the blog.

The site currently receives a couple thousand visitors a month; plus a fair number of RSS feed reads.  Although to be totally honest I have no idea how many of those hits are actual people since people rarely write comments =P (Seriously, people, comment! Let me know what’s up!)  Additionally, @aishiterutokyo on Twitter has about 50 followers, the vast majority of them Japanese fans.

In 2009 I attended 28 games; 20 league, 7 Nabisco Cup, 1 Emperor’s Cup. 7 of these matches were away, including 3 stadiums I’d never visited previously (Hitachi, Kashima, and Nihondaira) plus my first J1 match at Saitama Stadium.  In addition the Nabisco Cup group stage match against Shimizu brought me to Komazawa Stadium for the first time.  Schedule conflicts prevented me from attending 3 home games (including Ishikawa’s hat trick vs. Omiya, the tie vs. Kyoto, and the Nabisco semifinal vs. Shimizu), and while I may be forced to miss a game or three next Spring due to similar conflicts I intend to make it up in my away matches.  With the help of Andre I managed to complete the tifo I’d been mulling all season; the three 8.5-feet-tall nobori we created ended up in many a photo after the Nabisco Cup.

This was also an important year for me in that I started to establish connections within the supporter community.  I met Yuji, the webmaster behind Tokyo Web Life (pretty much the authoritative FC Tokyo fan site).  For the first time in my three years (!) of supporting the team, I finally made an effort to befriend the members of LA12, the main group of ultras that organize tifos and lead chants.  I’ve criticized LA12 in the past, and I’ve always felt that they were somewhat resistant to the idea of me being behind the goal, but after a few of them saw my blog this year they finally started to understand that I’m not some tourist and there’s now somewhat of a mutual respect.

I’ve also continued to improve my knowledge of ‘the game’ itself; this is part of overcoming a disability known in the soccer world as “being American.”  But I’ve learned enough to be able to tell when a player is diving, when offside is really offside, and when Tokyo will utterly fail against a set play (sadly, the answer to this is ‘nearly every time’).

With that in mind, I’ve already got a laundry list of things I want to do for next season.

  • Add More (Japanese) Writers. While Lantis (hopefully) and Andre (probably) will continue to contribute next season, my grand plan is to assemble two or three Japanese writers with good enough English skills to handle translating articles.
  • Better SNS & Multimedia integration.  Anyone who’s been following @aishiterutokyo on Twitter knows that it’s been really easy for me to post brief notes as well as live updates from matches.  I’ve experimented a little with the Lifestream plugin for WordPress this year, but for next year I’m hoping to find a better method.  The same goes for YouTube videos and photos.
  • Visit More Practices.  This is unfortunately tied to my work schedule, but I would like to make the trip out to Kodaira more often and talk to the players.
  • More Collaboration with Supporter Groups.  I’m not sure what form this will take but hopefully it will go towards getting more foreign fans to stand with us behind the goal; I’m planning on doing romaji versions of the ‘song sheets’ that fans can pick up at The Shack on gameday.  Furthermore, the idea of doing a joint scarf or tee-shirt design has been floating around.  I consider scarves to be quintessential supporter gear and have a couple design ideas percolating.
  • Flesh out the site a bit more.  The long-waiting “How To Buy Tickets At Lawsons” section, maybe a bit more for history and statistics, that sort of thing.
  • Form A Penya.  FC Tokyo recognizes groups of supporters as penya – you don’t get anything from the team except for acknowledgment that you exist, but it’s still Something.  My intention is to submit for an International Supporters Penya under the TOKYO DAMACY 1999 slogan.  Hopefully if we get more foreign supporters behind the goal, we can actually do stuff as a group… we’ll see how it turns out!

Is there anything I’ve overlooked?  Let me know!  The comment section is there for a reason 😉

In any case it’s already shaping up to be an exciting 2010 for FC Tokyo and Aishiteru-Tokyo.com, so I hope you’ll all continue to stop by this blog!  Thanks to everyone for your support and I hope you have a good offseason.  In the meantime I’ve got photos to choose for my exhibition in 10 days, but early next week I’ll be doing a rundown of Tokyo’s signings and releases.

5 thoughts on “The Season in Blogging: Aishiteru-Tokyo.com in 2009”

  1. Congratulations my friend, on a job well done. I am lucky to have met Dan, to have been able to work on one of the biggest projects that I have ever ever worked on in my life ie. the nobori; and to be able to have someone save me a seat behind the goal on matchday. To have a friendly face with you at FCT games is a wonderful thing. I’m a pretty quiet guy, more or less, so if Dan hadn’t started to talk to the new “foreign face” in the crowd against Nagoya during Nabisco Cup time I would not have had the amazing experiences I have had. I will do all that I can in contributing to Aishiteru as much as possible from here in Canada, until I can get back to Japan sometime near the end of 2010. It was an amazing year: Nabisco Cup champs!, Top 5 in the league (and with ultimately a very different team than the season started with). Thanks to LA12, The Shack, Bandiera, for being ever so friendly. Can’t wait until the spring. Until then…Peace!

    Andre

  2. Well done, Dan. Have enjoyed reading the blog throughout the season, your passion for the club comes through in each post.
    I probably should’ve posted more comments, but I didn’t want to bore you with my natural pessimism! If I recall correctly you predicted we’d make the top three (four?) at the start of the season, and I thought that was way too optimistic with only two foreigners, but to finish fifth with only one from about halfway through the season was a fantastic achievement, especially considering the midweek games we had on our way to CUP GLORY!
    Ah, the Cup Final. What a day. What a performance. (What a miss by Juninho!) I’ll be forever grateful for those extra tickets you got us mate. Absolutely fantastic.
    Such a shame that Nao missed the final, but he was absolute dynamite and will be back better than ever next season.
    So, all in all a great season in the wash-up. The emergence of Yonemoto and Gonda. The outrageous hot-streak that Nao got on. Konno’s class. The departure of Fatty.
    There are a lot of questions we face in the off-season, one has already been partly answered with the signing of Morishige. I’ll leave you with one Dan: How many foreigners will we have on the pitch in our first homegame next season?! For the record, I say one. And then we’ll have the same discussion we did at the start of this season! Ah, football, its a funny ol’ game.
    Cheers Dan. Bring on the 2010 Season!

  3. Your plans for the blog sounds all very good, and I think it would be brilliant if you manage to do everything by next season:-)

    With there being so many gaijins in Tokyo, it might be able to form a proper “gaijin supporter group” for FC Tokyo, and would be cool if you pulled it through!

    anyway, im doing a season review for a scandinavian sportssite called http://www.norskefans.com, and was thinking about doing some interviews with various J.League supporters. Would be nice to interview a Tokyo-supporter as well, so if you’re interested send me a mail at kaare.ingvaldsen@hotmail.com and then I can send you over the questions!

    Cheers,
    Nipponbasse

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