Hi.

It was really hot last weekend. How did you cope with it? Stayed at air-conditioned home all day long? Or went to the sea? Or ate ice cream?

Or watching FIFA World Cup Football matches??

I hope that our friends know that JAPAN IS PARTICIPATING.

We belong to Group E, with Holland, Denmark and Cameroon. Mmmm, all of them are strong teams!

Japan won the match with Cameroon by 1-0.

But, we lost against Holland by 0-1 yesterday….

The next match will be ON THE 24TH. WITH DENMARK.

If we win or draw, we can go up to the final tournament.

So, please support Japan together with us!!

As for the succor, Japan was not visible before 1990’s. We did not have national professional league and just had several club teams which big companies owned.

It was in 1993, when the first professional succor league named ‘J-LEAGUE’ came out and thanks to their strong promotion, so many school kids turned into football from baseball, which was the king of the sports for the boys for more than 50 years. This national movement created many talented young professionals who are competent in the world. You may know NAKATA and NAKAMURA, who played brilliantly in Italy or U.K.

The ‘SUCCOR HEAT’ turned to its peak in 2002, when Japan and Korea co-hosted the FIFA World Cup. Japan won several matched to be best 16, while Korea did very well to be best 4!! This event also played a very important role to enhance friendship between these two East Asian countries, and since then the ban of introducing Japanese music and films has been lifted in Korea, where the reluctance against normalizing the relationship with Japan was very strong due to the sad experience at WWII caused by Japan’s militarism. Japanese people also welcome Korean contemporary culture, especially the films and TV dramas.

Korea is also participating in this World Cup and currently is ranked no. 2 following Argentine in group B. I hope that you will also keep watching their play!

Frankly speaking, I belong to the old generation in terms of sports. I spent my childhood in 1980’s when it was baseball that boys must follow. Even though TV anime serial ‘Captain Tsubasa (Majd in Arabic)’ attracted our generation so much and many of our friends started to shift to football, still, in such rural towns where I lived, school club activities using the limited ground space were still dominated by baseball. ‘The Golden Hours’ of television (around 19:00-22:00, when all family members get together for watching TV at home) consisted of at least two professional baseball matches, one of which must be played by most popular team ‘Yomiuri Giants.’ Now J-LEAGUE replaced the role of the baseball and I think more than half of school boys go for football rather than baseball.

But, baseball in Japan is also changing its face recently and has been internationalized dramatically.

Some of the most brilliant players started to play in the Major League in the U.S., which could not be imagined in my childhood. The first one who marked wonderful records over there in the 90’s was the pitcher, HIDEO NOMO Later on, many followers challenged the Major League. The most successful player is ICHIRO SUZUKI. He made world record of the annual number of hits in 2004, and 9 consecutive year of hitting more than 200 hits, that is another world record.

I know that there is no baseball culture in Egypt and all of you are crazy about football.

But, if you have even slightest interest in it, I wish that you would dig in baseball in Japan, which still occupies very important part of Japanese identity. If you want to know more about cultural or social aspect of baseball, I recommend you read some of very interesting observation written in English.

“The Chrysanthemum and bat” by Robert Whiting

http://www.amazon.com/Chrysanthemum-Bat-Baseball-Samurai-Style/dp/0380631156

“You gotta have Wa” by Robert Whiting

http://www.amazon.com/You-Gotta-Have-Wa-Vintage/dp/0307455971/ref=ntt_at_ep_dpi_2

Well, we were talking about football.

PLEASE TUNE YOURSELF ON JAPAN-DENMARK, KICK-OFF AT 21:30!!

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