Discover Yokohama F.Marinos In Hot Summer
A warm & dry weather of Japan welcomed us during our visit to one of the most established J.League clubs, Yokohama F.Marinos in August 2016. This was not our first time to the Yokohama club
A warm & dry weather of Japan welcomed us during our visit to one of the most established J.League clubs, Yokohama F.Marinos in August 2016. This was not our first time to the Yokohama club as previously we did visit their training ground at the Marinos Town. Unfortunately, the well-structured training ground, Marinos Town had to make way for other construction.
As compared to the Marinos Town, the new training ground, Nissan Field Kozukue was located at a much more friendlier location – it’s just situated right beside the home ground of Marinos’, Nissan Stadium. So from the nearest train station, Shin-Yokohama, it took us approximately a good 25 minutes on foot to reach Nissan Stadium, and probably another 10mins to reach the team’s training ground. In another word, you can visit the training ground and the home ground of Marinos together. Do not worried about losing your way though, as there are plenty of creative manhole covers on the ground acting as the directional sign!
On the day of our visit, the friendly crew of Marinos’ informed us that they were going to switch their training venue to another pitch 5mins walk from the Nissan Field Kozukue. The reason given to us was the field was not in the best shape to be trained at which actually came as a surprise to us. The pitch condition at Nissan Field Kozukue looked amazingly good and excellent. That explanation was indeed a benchmark of their professionalism.
When we arrived at the alternative training field located 5 minutes away from the original training ground, there were already many Marinos’ fans gathering around the perimeter of the field observing the training. Weather was unbelievably hot but the support from the fans was even warmer. We received our Media Passes from Marinos and off we went shooting by the pitch side.
August is known to be the hottest month in Japan. One of the first setup that the Marinos team focused on prior to the commencement of the training under the scorching hot sun was the portable thermometer. We did notice the portable thermometer setting off a continuous beep sound once the temperature hit certain degree Celsius. For everybody’s record, it’s an average 36 degree Celsius that very morning.
Marinos’ first team players warmed up by doing a combination of some running and stretching with the aerobic bands. Followed by small-sided combination play and eventually progressed to 2 sided game. Several water breaks were given to the players due to the hot weather and that could probably be the best opportunity for the football fans, estimated about 100 of them surrounding the football pitch premises, to catch a glimpse of their favorite players.
Among all players including current Japan International, Saito Manabu, former Japan International, Yuji Nakazawa got our attention immensely. Not from the striking yellow Puma Para Mexico boots which he had on his feet, but from the way he liked to gargle the water for at least 5 to 8 seconds before he swallowed his water! That’s a very unusual way of drinking water.
The entire training took about 1-hour 30mins or so but most of the players continued to stay back for their individual training. By then, most of the football fans would have already gathered outside the entrance/exit point waiting for their favorite players for a quick autograph.
The very next day, we were back at the Nissan Stadium. And this time, it was an extreme great honor to be interviewing one of the Japan’s forever greats, Shunsuke Nakamura!
In order to find back the pure enjoyment of football, the former Celtic’s Midfielder retired from the National Team a few years back to concentrate on his remaining career with his one and only beloved Japanese club, Yokohama F.Marinos. It was no surprise that he had shared how much love he had for his club during the exclusive 1-hour interview. With great respect for the other overseas football clubs which he used to play for, he had fond memories which he openly shared with us both on and off the recording too.
Before we met Shunsuke, the impression that we had garnered from various TV interviews, magazines and etc was that he probably could be a man with very little comment and facial expressions. His long hair could have hidden much for that though.
However, it was true to a certain extent that he did come into the interview room that we have been patiently waiting for him, but feeling equally excited, giving all of us the aura that we had been anticipating – he’s not going to speak much. And to further justify our assumption, his Manager told us that the interview had to be conducted in strictly Japanese language. If not, we could have to use Shunsuke’s second best language, ironically it’s Italian. Well for sure, the world’s most commonly used language, English was out of question for the day. We couldn’t be happier that we have actually engaged a Japanese-English translator for that occasion.
As we moved along with the interview, the twice J.League MVP Award winner seems to be feeling more at ease. Jokes and laughters from him soon flooded the precious 1-hour interview. At that moment, we thought that we could continue to dig more of his untold stories especially those pertaining to his younger days. Unfortunately, Marinos’ representative had to halt our unexpected great fun and enjoyable session by informing us that Shunsuke had to continue with his rehabilitation (injury).
Good times don’t really lasted but we are glad that the visit to Yokohama F.Marinos and the interviewing of such a great profile, Shunsuke Nakamura did materialize. Just when we thought that the Exclusive Interview that we have done with Shunsuke would already be a huge achievement, Shunsuke’s Manager acknowledged that Junpiter Futbol should the first ever Singapore football media Shunsuke has ever accepted such an interview with! Honorable experience, isn’t’ it!
Before we decided to call it a day at Yokohama, we made our way to the official merchandise store, Tricolore One. The size of this new store was almost similar to the one which we had previously been to at the Marinos Town. It was a merchandise store with an in-house restaurant but unfortunately we did not have the spare time to try out the dishes.
We can’t thank everyone who makes this trip and interview possible enough. Big thanks and shout out to Japan Football Association (JFA), Yokohama F.Marinos and SingaCup, Singapore’s Premier International Youth Tournament.