Thursday, 8 March 2012
Having lived in Japan for over 11 years, I can tell you easily that one of the biggest problems for a foreign football fan living in Japan is getting information on our favourite game in English. Yes, of course all of you out there will be screaming 11 years! And you can't speak Japanese. Well, firstly let me tell you that it's very difficult, secondly that I have been rather busy teaching the English language to Japanese students where the need for Japanese ability is not required or promoted. My level of spoken Japanese, although far weaker than I'd like, is fine for basic every day communication but when it comes to reading the language, that's another thing entirely. I have often been frustrated by my inability to find out about even the simplest of things like ticket prices and availability and where to buy them. As for reading about the players, teams, fans and what's going on in Japanese football generally, it's been nigh on impossible unless you read Japanese perfectly. However there is good news on the way, with the advent of social media and the internet a small group of English speaking J League fans have started spreading the word and even more vitally for people like me, information on the J League. In the last few months this has developed further and a magazine on all things Japanese football has appeared on the scene. Edited by Alan Gibson, an Englishman based I believe in the Kansai region and with a long interest in Japanese football dating back to the inception of the J League in 1993. Alan is a passionate guy about his football and this comes across in the magazine and also on the accompanying website. He deserves respect for gathering together investors to back this project and deal with Japan's company law, which I would imagine could be quite intimidating for a foreigner attempting to set up a small project. The result is a very pleasing read and the magazine is called, JSoccer Magazine. So far there have been 3 issues. I am not sure how regularly they are published but for English speaking fans of Japanese football, I think they are a must. Give JSoccer magazine a try! The cover price is very reasonable at 600 yen plus postage and I'm sure you won't regret it. Having only just discovered the magazine myself, I am feeling better informed for the start of the new season than ever before in my 11 years in Japan. Alan can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org and you can follow him on twitter @JSoccermagazine.