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On August 6, 2012 was held the football match between France and Japan, a semi-final of the London Olympics in 2012. I attended it in Tokyo, in the presence of Japanese television camera.
My Monday was normal. My program was a lesson in Japanese and see friends. But guess what, an unexpected last minute message changed everything.
Around 1:00 p.m., Yuta, the owner of International Mickey House Cafe in Takadanobaba sent me a message asking me if I wanted to watch the football match between France and Japan. He said the game would be released around 1:00 am (time shift) and that Japanese television would be on site to film us. So I accept the invitation and has proposed to Jean-Paul (which you can find the story of his experience at Kagaya Izakaya here) to join me.
France vs Japan: an evening under the sign of the television
Around midnight so we headed to Mickey House Cafe in Takadanobaba. Once there we found that two cameramen and journalists were present on site.
It was quickly asked us to install, so that the French were in a group on one side of the room and the Japanese on the other side. But a small problem was concerning me. I wore the jersey of Japan (the one which made me get controlled by a curious Japanese policeman) and I wanted to support the Japanese team (not that I support either one but to experience local fans lifestyle).
I could see, all throughout the evening, that my position of a Gaijin supporting Japanese team really bothered journalists. And yes, it should be noted that during the evening, we were asked, repeatedly, to “simulate” situations: sing, bear, … The goal of course was to be able to make an interesting report. A report which was to appear natural but in the end that was all there in more organized.
Japan vs France: supporters with a very different behaviors
During the match, so we were organized into two groups: French fans and supporters Japanese team (except me who was with the Japanese). And let me tell you we had two types of fan’s behavior:
the French; noisy, grumpy, roomers, having fun, enjoy, laugh, trying to sing, talking about everything except football …
the Japanese; serious, quiet, attentive, focused on the game, …
At times I wondered if the Japanese fans were not about to follow a tennis match or even a chess game, because they were so concentrated.
Several times I tried to make them react, and sing but it was very difficult and it was often unsuccessful.
Fortunately, the Japanese team scored in two occasions, which has unbridled the atmosphere a little on the Japanese side. The final victory was, just, celebrated in song and some jumping of joy.
Three interviews for Japanese TV, but … no broadcasts
After the match, journalists began to conduct interviews of people. Besides, I had the right to make three interviews: one before the game, one at halftime and at the end of the match. So I was thinking I would get on TV.
During my interviews, I was playing the role of the Gaijin that supported Japan. I was entitled to questions like “why you support Japan” but also more “ridiculous” questions like “Your country has lost against our country which was stronger and the best, how do you feel? “. What made me hallucinate is the fact that they insisted on the presumed superiority of the Japanese team. They seemed to tell us “And yes we are better than you.”
Finally, the next day, I saw the video of the evening which was aired on ZIP channel. In fact: my interviews were not released. I appear only for few seconds, jumping around, on the whole story. I was a little disappointed but nothing more. I had the opportunity to spend a wonderful evening, have a good laugh and enjoy myself.
Oh, by the way, the Japanese team won 2-1 against France. At the end, it was a great of experience of the Olympic games.