Category Archives: Site stuff

Aishiteru Tokyo and On the Gas present Gas Talk Episode 2!

Met up with Ben yesterday evening at our usual izakaya to record the second episode of Gas Talk! Despite Graham's absence and unusually loud music over the house PA system, we managed to bring you another (hopefully) enjoyable episode of commentary. Here's a rundown of what you'll hear:

Part 1: a review of the team's preseason activities including reactions from Sunday's PSM at Thespa Kusatsu. Also an injury report roundup.

Part 2: this one's mostly me because Ben was admittedly unfamiliar with it, but I talk about Yuto Nagatomo's full transfer for 160 million yen and what it means for FC Tokyo and Japanese soccer as a whole. We also talk a bit about Jade North, the Australian NT player who's been participating in team practice since last week.

Part 3: a preview of this Saturday's match against Sagan Tosu. Highly suggested that you check our respective blogs on Thursday/Friday for the latest updates and a more accurate picture of what the starting eleven will be.

Apparently there are a couple technical issues w/ the audio but hopefully they won't get in the way of your listening experience. I've also been told that you can now subscribe to Gas Talk through the iTunes store, even though the podcast details are a little wonky (apparently Ben wants all the credit 😉 And we aren't doing the podcast in Japanese, at least not yet!).

Stay tuned for our next episode after the Tosu game!

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Aishiteru Tokyo & On The Gas present Gas Talk!

There's some stuff to report; Tokyo is currently in training camp in Kyushu, playing a bunch of training matches that don't really matter because they're training matches.

More importantly, I've started on yet another project! Last Thursday I joined forces with Ben and Graham from On The Gas to record the first episode of Gas Talk, the world's first (and only as far as we know) FC Tokyo-centric podcast.

In this episode, we introduce ourselves, talk a bit about Tokyo's history and their troubles in 2010, and talk quite a bit about offseason moves and tactical predictions for 2011. It was very fun to make, and I hope you guys have fun listening to it as well!

And if you'd like to save it to your hard-drive, you can use this handy direct link. We hope to be listed on iTunes and all that good stuff in the near future, but until then you can manually subscribe to the podcast using this RSS link if that's your sorta thing.

We're all still very new to this (well, at least to the idea of an FCT-centric podcast; Ben is an old hand at the whole podcasting thing!) so if you do listen, please let us know what you like and didn't!

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The One Year Hangover

Man, what did I drink last night… oh, hello, blog!

Hey Dan. It's been a long time!

Yeah, it has, hasn't it? But it's good to be back! I had the strangest dreams… four horsemen, angels pouring out stuff from bowls, trumpets, and somewhere I've never heard of called Tottori.

Oh. Really. *cough*

Well, apparently I needed the downtime, because I guess I've been asleep for about 4 months now. And it's January! Almost time for another J1 season.

Um, about that…

I see the schedule's been released… another home opener to start the year! And it's against… Sagan Tosu?

Listen, I hate to be the one to tell you, but–

Did they get promoted? I knew Kofu and Kashiwa had it locked up… well, good for them at any rate!

No, it's not…

And week two is away at…

Will you pay attention for one seco–

…Fagiano Okayama.

…yeah.

Seriously?

…I tried to tell you…

Seriously.

…honestly, you're better off having slept through it.

That bad?

Yep.

So dumping Jofuku for Okuma didn't really do much, did it?

Well, Okuma did okay, but it wasn't him on the pitch, was it.

I suppose not. So we never recovered, did we.

Oh, we came close.

How close?

Last week of the season.

Son of a bitch. So we still could have… how bad was it?

Pretty bad.

Well, fuck.

Yep, pretty much how we felt at the time.

So that's it, huh? A year in J2?

Hopefully.

No TV broadcasts, less media coverage, minuscule away support, away games in the countryside where the trains don't run, no Nabisco Cup, and all the big teams are in J1 fighting for the title?

Well, yeah, but look at the plus side.

What plus side?

I mean, what other reason is there to go to Toyama? Or Kitakyushu? Or Tokushima? You've always wanted to see Japan, here's your chance! All those stadiums with great local food, great views, and teams you've always heard about but never saw play!

Well, that's certainly a plus.

And while J1 gets a month off, J2 just keeps on going! Plenty of soccer to get you through the year, and every game matters!

Good point.

And best of all… we get a Tokyo Derby again!

Okay, I'm convinced that maybe this won't suck as much. But isn't it going to suck not having any of our star players? Konno, Yonemoto, Ishikawa and the rest have all been sold off to J1 teams, right?

Actually, they've all stayed on.

You're shitting me.

Nope, most of Tokyo's starters are still on the books.

But we're in J2 now! How do we have the money?

Well, Murabayashi resigned, but before then he promised that we'd be back in J1 in a year, so the personnel budget was untouched. Oguro, Ricardinho, Maeda, and that Korean dude who never played are all going back to their former teams. And we did get rid of a few players…

Like who?

Shingo Akamine will be staying with Vegalta Sendai, and they're also borrowing Matsushita for a year. Kim Yong-gun got picked up by Omiya, but we did make a decent amount of money from that. Shigematsu is going on loan to Fukuoka for a year…Ryo Hiraide will spend a year in Toyama… Abe is gonna defend the posts for Shonan… Other than Kim and maybe Shigematsu, nobody we'd really miss.

So, did we manage to sign anyone?

Oh yeah, lots of players. Three Brazilians! Roberto, Roberto, and Pedro Jr.

How did we get three? We only had one last year, and we were dark horse favorites for an ACL slot!

Better late then never.

By the way you repeated yourself, you said Roberto twice.

Oh, no, there's two of them. One's 25 and a forward, the other's 31 and a volante.

Well, that's promising. Did we pick up anyone else?

Oh yeah. Midfielder Kazumasa Uesato from Sapporo on a loan… Taiki Takamatsu from Oita too. He's a good striker, will probably back up Hirayama. As far as full pickups, Tatsuya Yazawa at midfield, Tomokazu Nagira from Fukuoka on defense, and Satoshi Tokizawa from Kusatsu for a 3rd goalkeeper.

All in all, sounds like a pretty solid set of acquisitions. A year too late, perhaps…

…well, if wishes were horses Urawa would be in the Saitama Prefectural League.

…but at least we're on the way back.

That we are.

Gonna be a long year.

Yep.

Let's get started.

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From Tokyo To The World: TOKYO DAMACY 1999 Begins!

(日本語の大要:この度、国際交流向きなペーニャ「東京魂1999」を誕生します!詳細は日本語の良くある質問ページに参照してください。初集合は、3月6日対横浜FMの開幕戦後に調布駅であるKenny's Pubです。興味がある方は以下で書いてあるメールまで連絡してください。宜しくお願いします!)

With J.League less than 2 weeks away, I figure it's about time to make public (or at least official) what I hope to be this site's big initiative for the 2010 season.

On Sunday evening, I attended a meeting at EL LOCO in Tokyo. This meeting didn't produce any answers (nor was that its intention), but was instead meant to ask an important question:

Where do Tokyo's supporters go from here?

With the 3rd-highest attendance in J1 (nearly 26,000 per game in 2009, trailing Niigata and Urawa), top-tier finishes in the last two years, and a recent championship that was one of the fastest sellouts in recent memory. Yet, when 26,000 attend each Tokyo home game, over 20,000 seats are still empty in the cavernous Ajinomoto Stadium.

The unfortunate reality is that a capital team in a capital city has to compete with… a lot of other things in the capital. In Tokyo's case there are are two professional baseball teams, hundreds of livehouses, clubs, and bars (any one of them running an event on a particular night), movie theaters, and some minor-league pissant soccer club that wears green uniforms. There are any number of reasons as to why those 20,000 seats are empty, the question is what can be done to fill them.

I've been supporting Tokyo for nearly 3 years now and recently received my fourth SOCIO pin in the mail; the team is responsible for a lot of friendships I have made and incredible experiences I have had since I came to Japan. I made this site on a dare from users over at The Rising Sun, it's now taken on a mission to spread news of FC Tokyo to English-speaking fans both in the city and around the world. Supporting the team has been a life-altering experience and I've always encouraged my friends and colleagues to join me behind the goal. I believe that while we have yet to take part in international competition, Tokyo has the potential to be a world-class club team and more supporters outside of Japan should be paying attention to what we're up to.

To that end, beginning near the end of last season I started considering how I could start to do this on a greater scale. The obvious answer was, much like the S-Pulse UK Ultras or the now-defunct (?) MOIST, to start a supporter's group aimed towards non-Japanese supporters, especially those who might not consider supporting a Japanese team when they have a team back home cheer for.

But of course, that would be way too exclusive; and would defeat the purpose of a supporter's group: to have fun, to make friends, and to share in victory and defeat together. So, in the spirit of Tokyo's international community, obviously an international supporter's group was called for.

Therefore, after consulting with several friends and supporters on both sides of the pacific, my previously-stated goal of having an internationally-oriented supporter's group will move forward under the name TOKYO DAMACY 1999. I've applied for and received penya status from the club; we're #74.

For now, the goal is to start gathering regularly at the stadium or after matches and then hopefully move towards more proactive support (away trips, making flags/banners, you name it).

I've written up FAQs in both English and Japanese, those can be found here (or on the TOKYO DAMACY 1999 tab now included in the top navigation):

TOKYO DAMACY 1999 FAQ – English

TOKYO DAMACY 1999 FAQ – 日本語

My idea for what I hope this penya to become is included in these FAQs, so hopefully once you read it you'll understand the possibility of what we can accomplish (and will want to join in on the fun!)

To start with, our first official gathering will take place on March 6th, after the Yokohama match. The location will probably be Kenny's Irish Pub in Chofu, just because it's so close to the stadium and will probably have enough room for all of us (whether we're 5 or 15). If you're interested in attending, leave a comment or drop me an email at tokyodamacy1999@aishiteru-tokyo.com. Exact details (including times and directions) will be posted here in the near future.

I'm not quite sure how big this will become, but I know how big it can become and how big supporters I've talked to believe it will become. I hope to meet their expectations.

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Site Upgrades Complete! & New Material

After quite a bit of wrestling with the bitch-demons known as CSS, I not only fixed the header issue again but the site finally has a proper navigation menu!

The new navigation bar is divided into 4 sections:

-HOME brings you back to the front page. I never took the time to set it up until now! Sorry bout that.

-FC Tokyo Culture will focus on everything that takes place in the stands and off the field

-Team Info will house information on players and staff as well as basic team information and other need-to-know things

-Supporter Guides are all about how to watch the game in whatever fashion you feel is appropriate: whether at the stadium, in the pub, or on your TV/computer at home.

-TOKYO DAMACY 1999 is… well, that will be announced within a few days 😉

I also finally wrote out the page on Pro-FCT bars and pubs in Tokyo, which can now be accessed from the Supporter Guides tab. I’ve written out info on three locations so far, feel free to post a comment if you have suggestions for more bars I should include!

Aishiteru-Tokyo.Com *was*… broken!

Okay, if you're visiting the site normally instead of through RSS feeds, you may notice that our layout has changed and not for the better.

Long story short: I've been upgrading themes and adding some new/nifty features for this season and I broke something.  It will be fixed momentarily (and by “momentarily” I mean “when I get back from work tomorrow”), so don't panic! That's my job.

Edit (11:30PM) I fixed the column issue, the header ugliness can wait till tomorrow evening.

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Still alive!

A very late Happy New Year from Aishiteru Tokyo!

I haven’t been able to put as much time as I’d like towards updating the site over the winter break, but I’m still posting odds and ends on Twitter via @aishiterutokyo so if you’re a Twitter user feel free to follow!

It seems like the team officially starts activities on the 24th, which generally means a press conference with the new players (and hopefully a sponsor announcement, and a foreign striker, and ponies and rocket cars for all).

For now, news in brief:

Schedule News

-The team will have training camp in Miyazaki Prefecture this year rather than spending a million dollars going to Guam.

-Preseason Match: 2/27 at home vs. Albirex Niigata. Not quite as exotic as vs. Consadole Sapporo in Okinawa last year but hey.

-Season Opener: 3/6 at home vs. Yokohama F. Marinos. This will be the second time the two squads have met on opening day; the first was 10 years ago as FC Tokyo won its first J1 match 1-0 on a late goal by Tuto.

-Week 2: 3/13 away at Urawa Reds.  Again. Yippee. Given how much tickets go for I should just buy up as many as I can and make a profit.

Player Transfers

In: Morishige, Matsushita, and a bunch of kids from the youth squad

Out: Asari (retired), Fujiyama (to Consadole Sapporo), Kondo (to Consadole Sapporo), Bruno (unknown), Sahara (will return to Kawasaki Frontale), Moniwa (to Cerezo Osaka)

Rumors: A few still festering but nothing’s gained any traction beyond a day or two. As of right now the squad only has three experienced forwards (Akamine, Hirayama, and Suzuki) on the roster, plus I think one or two of the youth members.

NT News

-Hirayama is the new hero of Samurai Blue after scoring a hat trick to help a team of fresh faces come from behind in Yemen earlier this month.  He, along with Ishikawa, Tokunaga, Nagatomo, and Konno will be on the squad for Japan’s match against Venezuela on 2/2.

-Depending on call-ups, these 5 players may be with the NT up through March 3rd, giving Jofuku difficult circumstances under which to plan his lineup.

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.

Aishiteru Tokyo's Nabisco Cup Coverage

Just a note on our coverage of the Nabisco Cup: because of the compressed timeframe involved in most Nabisco Cup matches (weekday games, several matches in short spans, etc) as well as the fact that most teams don't field League-strength lineups (thus making games somewhat harder to evaluate), Aishiteru Tokyo will not provide previews for Group Stage matches.  Match writeups will be dependent on dokool's ability to watch the game in some form or another but at the very least we'll post the usual stats and a YouTube roundup if available.

Should FC Tokyo reach the quarterfinals or higher, Nabisco Cup games will be given the same treatment as league matches with complete previews, reports, and related coverage.

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Meet The Players 2009: Complete!

With the uploading of goalkeepers, 2009's player preview is complete!  I've moved all of the entries over to pages for the sake of trying to organize our content, but you can access them here:

Meet the Players 2009 – Goalkeepers

Meet the Players 2009 – Defenders

Meet the Players 2009 – Midfielders

Meet the Players 2009 – Forwards

In site news if you're visiting this site the old-fashioned way instead of reading the RSS feed you may notice that we've updated our layout!  Free from the tyranny of two columns, Aishiteru Tokyo can now present info on *both* sides of the main article!  Truly this is only the beginning of a revolution.  Some stuff isn't quite the way I want it to be (you'll notice the lack of a 'Home' button anywhere for some strange reason.  I'm hoping to fix up navigation and get content a bit more organized, so stay tuned!

Tomorrow, our first Match Preview of 2009!

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