Football (Japan) Lost In Translation . . . Relaunched 2012!
Japan Football: Zaccheroni, Samurai Blue, and general J chatter
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Comment va dire "頑張れ"?
The internet is a magical place, where people can get information at the click of a mouse. We can exchange ideas about a football game with someone living on the other side of the world, and get perspective about a team or player from different types of football fans.

I have been growing more aware of the number of non-Japanese sites where you can find information on Japanese players or the NT or talk about them. [cont'd]
It shouldn't be completely surprising, since a number of players currently play abroad, and the NT plays games with countries around the world. I suppose I was surprised that anyone else cared enough to know more than basics or to talk about things at a deeper level. I recently found a French site dedicated to the Japan NT. Here's one in Spanish. This just blows my mind...! Of course, there are a number of message boards where you can discuss Japanese/Asian teams in English.

I also noticed that many Japanese football fans have started to use what language skills they have to journey out to sites written in other languages.
Online translation tools are available free, and you can usually get a decent picture of what the text says if you combine it with a little common sense. I have to admit, I had less work to do than they did, since I know both Japanese and English, but I have also been trying to widen my horizons by checking out sites in Italian, French and Spanish. Zico's Portuguese version website has already forced me to learn a number of expressions, and reading the Portuguese versions of his statements/comments lets me see what loopholes exist in taking prepared translations at face value. You get a more honest sense of the attitude and intent of the person speaking by doing a self-executed translation, than the gift-wrapped version of the professional translator or shorthand version of the reporter.

Speaking of languages, I realize that the JapanNT have also begun to show some of their language savvy. The Asia Cup04 Jordan game spotlighted Miyamoto's English abilities. And we know that after several years in Europe, Shunsuke, Inamoto, Takahara, and Ono have quite improved their respective resident languages of Italian, English, German, and Dutch. I'm not sure if Kawaguchi spoke with his team/coach in English or Danish. We also have two players in France now (KNakata and Matsui), and although Okubo is currently struggling with the language gap perhaps in a few years he will have some mastery. Of course, there is also Hide, who is now pretty fluent in Italian, and I believe he also studies English. On top of that, we have Alex who of course speaks Portuguese and Spanish. And Zico who speaks Portuguese and Italian (though his true Japanese abilites are still a mystery, I think he understands more than he shows...or maybe not).


This last game against North Korea also presented a novel situation -- two people on the NK team grew up in Japan, and therefore speak native Japanese. I don't know, but is that a first? I can't think of any other situation where the opponent knew Japanese (unless one of the players from an Asian country happened to have studied Japanese, I can't recall).

Ten-fifteen years ago, before the internet had taken off and before there were so many Japanese football players abroad, it would have been impossible for me to imagine myself writing a blog in English about Japanese football, or reading a French person's views about a Japanese player. Learning languages is truly like opening new doors. For the Japanese football player, it may be quite wise to put at least "Learn English" on the to-do list, for future possible transfers abroad. For the rest of us commonfolk, well, it's a pretty good deal too...!


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