Monday, August 22, 2005

Japanese fans soak in Scottish atmosphere

The fortunes of Shunsuke Nakamura added to an electric atmosphere in Paddy Foley's Irish Pub in Roppongi, Tokyo, home to the Tokyo Celtic Supporters Club, reported Anthony Fensom, for The Herald of Glasgow. He noted that traditional Celtic songs mixed with Japanese cries of "ganbare" (try hard) as fans urged on the first Japanese Hoops player and his team.

"Despite the mingling of Celtic and Rangers fans of all nationalities along with locals in a packed basement pub, the only casualties of the night were a few knocked-over beer glasses. The pub crowd of around 60 people was just a fraction of an audience of up to four million for the live broadcast. Satellite channel Skyperfectv is now showing all of Celtic's Scottish Premier League games live, something Paddy's manager Neil Day was smiling about as the cash register rang up more sales," he wrote.

A shop assistant at Soccer Shop Kamo in fashionable Shibuya told Fensom that "Celtic shirts are already very popular with Japanese, so I'm sure those with Nakamura's name on the back will sell by the truckload." But Tokyo football shops said they had problems getting Nakamura shirts from Nike, Celtic's new kit supplier, and may not get stock for another four months.

"While Nakamura is arguably second only to Bolton Wanderers' new signing Hidetoshi Nakata in the hearts of Japanese fans, Celtic have a lot of work to do to establish lasting interest," Fensom commented. "Despite recent glowing Japanese media reports from Scotland about the new bhoy's time in Glasgow, the SPL is virtually unknown in Japan."

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