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Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Johnsen Transfer Official & S-Pulse at the J. League Awards

A very likeable city, earlier today
Is Yokohama the most likeable city in Japan? If you ask me, for a nice little day trip out of Shiz, it simply can't be beat! It's got heaps of coastline and related nautical attractions, tons of parks around said coastline, endless shopping to keep the girls happy, years of history and foreign influence to give the city a unique multicultural atmosphere, and awesome architecture from all over the world.

Add to that the ease of transport to, from and within the city, the more than ample dining options all around, the brilliantly colourful Chinatown, the Landmark Tower for ridiculously fast elevators and views right over to Mt. Fuji and beyond, the Ferris Wheel and various other fun and games on the waterfront, and you have an all round great place to hang out of a winter national holiday afternoon.

And all this is before you even get started on the sport! As if having the baseball stadium and Nissan Stadium both in the heart of the city wasn't enough, the huge Marinos Town sits just minutes away from all the downtown action. A football town to the core, after the unfortunate and messy Yokohama Flügels affair, the locals got together and formed another team to replace the one snatched from them. Respect for that alone. If I ever had to leave Shizuoka behind, Yokohama would be way up on my list of places to make home!

Anyway, where was I? Yeah, that's it - while I was off enjoying The 'Hama today, the long-talked about transfer of Frode Johnsen was finally announced. I can only presume we had been waiting until either us or Nagoya were knocked out the cup before making the news official. Most S-Pulse fans have known for weeks the 6 foot 2 Norwegian was on his way to 'Daira. Well, it's a done deal, and the height, presence and proven goal scoring record of the ex international will hopefully be the difference between our 5th place finish this year and an ACL spot next season.

In other news, last night the annual J. League awards ceremony took place. Sadly Hara missed out on the young player of the year award to Nagoya's Ogawa, but it was far from a bad night for the Pulse! Who walked off with the award for best pitch in the league? Shimizu S-Pulse. Who picked up the special fair play award across both J1 and J2? Shimizu S-Pulse. And this season's player of the year, Marquinhos, used to play for which team before he moved to Kashima? You guessed it!

OK, maybe I'm scraping the barrel with the last one! But the first two, especially the fair play award, is something we can be rightly proud off. The credit for that has to go to Kenta who clearly instils a fair play ethic into his players. You're building a team we can be proud of, and playing the game the way it should be played - thank you Kenta!