|Japanese Ticket Stub|
At the time the game was played, the only real stadium available was old Korakuen Stadium in Tokyo, home of the New York Yankees of Japan- The Yomiuri Giants. Presumably the game was played here, rather than at the Olympic stadium because it would likely attract more fans. The Japanese did not disappoint in coming out to see the first NFL game played on Asian soil.
As some one who has visited Japan on numerous occasions, I have always wondered why American football has never really caught on there like baseball and soccer has. Of course that does not mean it is non-existent there. The sport is played at the semi-pro level with the X-League, as well as the collegiate level with the champions of each level meeting for the national championship in of course (drum roll please)- "The Rice Bowl."
In essence American football is a niche sport that has a decent following, but is not the national rage that baseball is. For us "gaijin" in and out of Japan, we can follow all the action at the English and German website called "American Football in Japan" where the history of the game has been and is being recorded. Of course, once a Japanese national cracks the starting lineup of an NFL or even a CFL squad, presumably as a kicker, that will likely change and the NFL will one day return to the Land of the As football is the ultimate team sport, and in Japan the group is much more valued than the individual, I suspect that when that happens. I sure hope that happens, and it is a topic I will visit eventually at The Autumn Wind.
|The Cardinals huddle near the end zone in the outfield|