|LIFE IN JAPAN
|Photo by Maki Nibayashi
Golf tee importer and football team captain
Time in Japan:
Ten and a half years
Where are you from?
Born in the north of England, moved to Singapore as a kid, went back to Wiltshire. My base
now is Ashford in Kent. A mongrel from all over the place.
What brought you to Japan?
Originally on a ship through no choice of my own with the Navy. Then I went to Australia,
travelled around South East Asia having fun, and ended up in Japan as a bar manager.
What made you decide to stay?
I saw the opportunity for teaching so decided to give that a go. I went back to England
for a year and did my RSA, came back and I had my eye working at ANA Stranton, which was
one of the top schools back then. I got in with them and I was quite happy-good work, good
pay-and I joined the British Football Club. It was a very nice lifestyle. Some people say
you like Japan because you can' do the same thing in England, but actually I gave up a
job that would've paid a whole lot more. I chose to come here because the lifestyle suits
What do you do?
I've basically given up teaching now, except for at one university. Now I work at this
golf company. I handle importing biodegradable golf tees. But most of my time is used up
organizing the football team.
Tell us about your team.
It's a team of mainly foreigners. We have one great Japanese player. It was founded in
1980 and I think we're the oldest gaijin football team in Tokyo, maybe even in Japan, and
I've been with them for ten years. We play almost every weekend in the International
Friendship League, but we're always looking for teams to play with. I also manage and
design the team webpage.
How would one join the team?
Emailing me, begging me profusely then buying me lots of ciders at What the Dickens should
do the trick. We take any nationalities, even Americans.
What do you think about soccer in Japan?
Soccer in Japan has progressed a long way. Some of the greatest players in the world come
and play in the J-League, but it doesn't help with the system they've got here, where a
team that totally bums out in the league can win on penalties. It's ridiculous. Another
problem is the Japanese mentality. It's not suited to football. But I think football in
Japan will improve from having the World Cup here.
What is the weirdest thing you've seen in Japan?
Something that I thought was weird when I first got here was when I was on a bridge of a
ship at 8am and this music goes off and everyone starts doing these exercises. Eating live
fish was definitely weird. You catch them in this net, dip them in raw egg and eat them
alive. I think you have to chew them to kill them, but I felt really bad so I swallowed
them. Then they had me eating shirako, which is literally globefish sperm.
Recipe for a happy life in Japan?
Eight strawberries, a good long splash of tequila, half as much again of Cointreau and a
load of ice cubes all mixed up in a blender, sit down in front of the TV watching Sky
Sports with Premier League football and my fiancée under my arm. That, for me, is a happy
Find out more about the British Football Club at www.twics.com/~sputt/BritishFC.Tokyo
Sid Lloyd spoke to Maki Nibayashi.
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