Watching the London Olympic Games
No.2012_05 [ August 30, 2012 ]
The Olympic Games in London were hosted between July 27 and August 12. Olympic games taking place where I live! I had to go see three soccer games, my favorite sport, because, who knows, this may be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. The first game I went to was a women’s game between Japan and Sweden in Coventry in Central England. I had already heard that soccer wasn’t the most popular event during the Olympics and, sure enough, I saw many empty seats in the stadium. What surprised me though was the number of Japanese spectators, which made the match felt like a home game in Japan. The game ended up being a draw with no goal. It was a little disappointing, but you know now how well the women soccer team did since then!
The next game I saw was the second men’s qualifying game against Morocco. This game took place in New Castle in North East England, which is about 3-hour drive from Manchester where Piolax is located. The Japanese spectators overwhelmingly outnumbered the opponent’s. Although I was impressed with the players’ skills at the women’s game, I could see the difference in the speed here at the men’s game. Nagai kept up his speed all throughout the game and the team scored a goal toward the end of the game to win it! I was able to really enjoy the exciting game in the front row, too! By the way, in England, closer to the front you get, the cheaper the seats perhaps because it’s harder to see what’s going on from there. But I actually enjoyed the thrill of feeling like I’m part of the action as I got the cheapest £20 (about ¥2,500) ticket for all three games.
The last game was the men’s quarterfinal against Egypt. I actually had already bought the ticket before finding out which countries would play because it was taking place in Manchester, which is close to where I live. As luck would have it, Japan made it through qualifying round in first place and got to play the game at the Old Trafford Stadium, home to the famous Manchester United. It’s definitely one of the places to visit if you’re a soccer fan. The stadium was near capacity at over 70,000. Fans from other countries including Great Britain cheered for Team Japan and the atmosphere at the stadium was amazing! The result? Japan won hands down (3-0). After the game, I even waited for the players to come outside and scored their autographs, which was a great way to end an excellent day.
Although the Olympic Games are now over, Kagawa is joining Manchester United while Miyaichi is being loaned to Wigan near Manchester. I’m looking forward to seeing how well they’ll do. Maybe you should take in some soccer games next time you’re in England?
August 30, 2012
Special Correspondent in U.K.: S