Saturday, 20 February 2016

Up on Year Number 9


While trying to think up a '9' related header for this post, the only thing that kept repeating in my mind was Bryan Adam's late 90s soft rock classic. As a result, this post is best enjoyed as it was composed: the Groover from Vancouver providing the background beats.

So anyway, why 9? Because, believe it or not, 2016 marks the ninth year we've been doing this. 
Stop us if we're boring you
Posts slowed down since Twitter took over a few years back, and became a crawl over the last 12 months. Who can blame us? Watching S-Pulse under Oenoki's reign was a thoroughly miserable experience. But we've been doing this too long to let a little relegation stop us, so on we soldier into 2016, full of a lovable, boyish sense of hope. (Now playing: Best of Me)
A year watching Oenoki's S-Pulse, summed up in one face

A lot's happened since 2008, not least Twitter's arrival. Employing the little blue bird means much less needs to posted on here, with much more getting much further, much more easily than a blog can accomplish. More relevant to the actual content of this site is the agreement I struck with S-Pulse. Match reports going up on the official home page made it pretty redundant having them here as well. Even if it meant I could rant and rave a bit more, I get that done on Twitter anyway, so there's little point in having a second report here. (Now playing: 18 Till I Die)

If last season was an unintentional practice run (and there was little in the way of hoards clamouring for a return to weekly match reports), then this year it's official; we're not bothering with team listings, substitutions, and match summaries. We'll be more active than last year, but will focus more on the adventure than the details.

We're in J2 then, but with a whole load of new teams to visit or, if the Sunday kick offs prove prohibitive, at least welcome to Nihondaira. One way or the other, it's going to be journey. You can bemoan the lack of in-match spontaneity in Japanese football fan culture, but it provides no shortage of colour and entertainment, with each club unique. I can't wait to see how Renofa or Machida roll. (Now playing: All I Want is You

In the J. League the term derby has been entirely reimagined to serve a purely publicity related function. Two teams wear the same colour? It's a derby. Two teams start with the same letter? It's a derby. I shit you not. I've been here so long I have to remind myself how ridiculous it is, but then it's all part of what makes the J. League such a fun ride. Two of the nation's top producers of oranges go head to head? Opening week at Nihondaira,  I present you "The Mikan Derby" Why the hell not? I'm amazed it wasn't picked up on by the marketing bods, to be honest. (Now playing: There Will Never be Another Tonight)
Ehime - what you got?
Bring it on, then. One week tomorrow I'll be back up the IAI, staring out at a snow-capped Mt Fuji, but no doubt finding something or other to moan about. Regardless, I'll hopefully be witnessing the seeds being sown of a long overdue enjoyable season. You never know, when the curtain comes down in November, maybe it will even have been a successful one.

Now playing: Can't Stop This Thing We Started - ain't that the truth. Happy New Year and Forza S-Pulse, mother fuckers!!