Interiors: Have a ball

Who says you need tickets to catch a piece of World Cup action? Tama Miyake puts on her party hat to help you plan a Tokyo-style soccer shindig in your own home.

Make some noise with help from FIFA

If you weren't willing to cough up the yen for a stadium seat for the World Cup—and even if you were—you're probably planning on parking yourself in front of the TV for the next month to watch your favorite team take to the field. But if you're anything like Posh Spice, you'll banish the couch-potato blues and take this once-in-four-years opportunity to throw your friends a lavish World Cup theme party. The Spice Girl herself invited 400 friends to "Beckingham Palace" a few weeks back to send off Team England and raise some £500,000 for charity. Featuring geisha girls, shiitake mushrooms, 600,000 orchids and everyone from Sir Elton John on down, the Far East-themed party spared no expense.

But presuming you don't live in a castle and have millions of pounds at your disposal, you can still throw one heck of a World Cup cocktail party here in one of the two host countries. Just tell all your friends, fire up the barbecue and follow our tips for an evening of football fun.

 

Spread the word
Pick up face paint and afros at Tokyu Hands

You could do it the old-fashioned way and send your friends postcard-style invitations with a World Cup theme (Ito-ya sells 10-card packs with FIFA mascots for ¥200) by snail mail, but why not use every modern host's favorite medium and arrange your party by www.evite.com? This handy website lets you design your own party page or choose from one of several prepackaged ideas, send invitations by email, and track RSVPs. Potential partygoers can then log in and view the guest list, write pithy comments and view maps to your apartment.

 

Dressing the part
Even if you've been living in Japan for longer than some World Cup players have been alive, you probably still bear a patriotic streak when it comes to your favorite sport. And being in Tokyo doesn't have to stop you from putting your team on your sleeve—or anywhere else, for that matter. National team jerseys, hats, headbands, face paint, pins, pants and much more can be found throughout the city. Drop by the official FIFA store in Shibuya for colorful T-shirts (from ¥3,000), trippy ties (¥4,800-5,800), jesters' hats and kidswear for every team and from every venue. Take it one step further at Tokyu Hands with wigs in team colors, "special big afros" (¥1,300) in blazing red, World Cup 2002 kimonos and enough face paint to redo the walls of your apartment. Feeling really sporty? You can even strut your stuff in Triumph's soccer bra and underwear set (available at department stores). But if painted faces and frizzy hair arouse suspicion in the neighborhood, not to worry. Just slip on one of soccerphile.com's specially designed T-shirts proclaiming in English and Japanese, "I am not a hooligan."

 

Deck the halls
Bring the bar home with help from Loft

There's something about tatami that just doesn't jive with sweaty men running after soccer balls. But AstroTurf—that's more like it. Tokyu Hands sells artificial grass by the roll for just ¥1,540/meter. Cut it up, lay in on the floor, and you may even save yourself from soaking up spillage all night long.

"Since we don't have so many parties, we don't have specialty shops," says Satomi Takeda, a Tokyo-based interior designer. "I normally go to Tokyu Hands or Loft. They have enough for a party."

Tokyu Hands has established itself as the place to find all kinds of appropriate party decorations, from French and Brazilian flags to Japanese-style lanterns in team colors. The home and lifestyle superstore has a World Cup display on level 1C of its Shibuya branch, where you can even pick up a miniature foosball table for ¥3,980. Tokyu Hands also stocks a wide range of regular party supplies from streamers to disco balls, as does Loft. See the sixth floor of Loft for fireworks sets as cheap as ¥2,000, noisemakers, party games and more.

 

Let's make some noise
Challenge your friends to a game of foosball

No party would be complete without tunes, and thankfully there's no shortage of CDs to get you in the soccer spirit. The lead-up to the world's largest sporting event has already seen the release of Fever Pitch: The Official Music of The 2002 FIFA World Cup (see review on p. xx, ¥2,400 from www.amazon.co.jp), featuring the lyrical stylings of everyone from Jennifer Lopez to German punk rockers Die Toten Hosen. Other compilations include World Cup 2002 with such favorites as "We Will Rock You" and "I Will Survive," and 1998's international collection Music Of The World Cup: Allez! Ola! Ole! featuring Ricky Martin and the Gipsy Kings. If you're feeling a little more patriotic, check out the selection of country chants and soccer songs on titles such as Scotland Fc: Scottish World Cup Anthems and Futebol: The Sound of Brasilian Football, all available at www.amazon.com.

 

Eat it up
The perfect party shirt could also protect your reputation

Your outfit set and pad prepared, it's time to think about the menu. Beckham fans looking for a taste of home are in luck: the Foreign Buyers' Club has launched a British food shop on a trial basis through June12. More than 2,500 items are available to tickle your fancy, whether it's baked beans or treacle. If the trial is successful, the FBC will continue the mail order service from September 1. A little closer to home is Hanamasa, a 24-hour grocery chain that sells generic snacks, steaks, vegetables and more in bulk. Hanamasa has stores throughout the city, allowing for easy access to Aussie beef and last-minute beer runs. If you choose bulk amounts of beer as well, you may want to consider one of the many keg-style beer sets from Tokyu Hands or Loft. Other accessories sure to add to the party atmosphere include barbecues, blenders to make frozen drinks, cocktail sets and beer-can coolers. If you want to keep things simple and true to theme, see International Dining for where to find newly launched World Burp Beer.

 

Final countdown
The last step in the party planning process: turn on the tube. Metropolis will run TV listings throughout the World Cup (see TV listings). All that's left to do is sit back and let the games begin.

 

Shopping list:
Foreign Buyers' Club
www.fbcusa.com. Tel (English): 078-857-9001, tel (Japanese): 078-857-9000. Fax: 078-857-9005. mail@fbcusa.com

Hanamasa
www.hanamasa.co.jp. Several outlets around the city, most open 24 hours. Akasaka: 1F Sun Terrace Akasaka Bldg, 2-12-32 Akasaka, Minato-ku. Tel: 03-5545-3029. Nearest stn: Akasaka.

Loft
Open 10am-8pm Sun-Thu, 10am-9pm Fri-Sat. 21-1 Udagawacho, Shibuya-ku. Tel: 03-3462-3807. Nearest stn: Shibuya.

Tokyu Hands
Shibuya: 12-18 Udagawacho, Shibuya-ku. Tel: 03-5489-5111. Open 10am-8pm daily. Nearest stn: Shibuya.

Soccerphile
sales@soccerphile.com. www.soccerphile.com

Photo credit: Tama Miyake, courtesy of soccerphile.com

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Buyline
Shibuya’s Zenmall (29-4 Udagawacho, Shibuya-ku; 03-3770-1641), known for offering large clothing for men, is holding a two-day Early Bird Pre-Summer Sale. The sale will take place on the mornings of April 12 (Sat) and 13 (Sun) for three hours (9am-noon) each day. During these times, nearly everything will be marked 20-80 percent off. Some of the bargains include suits with a spare pair of pants for \9,800 (sizes 3-8L), and summer casual jackets for \8,000 (3-6L). Imported designer suits by makers like Calvin Klein and Boss are also marked down to \39,000 and \59,000, respectively. Those who spend over \10,000 can take part in the Cash Grabbing Contest, where shoppers can dig into a box full of cash. Spend over \30,000 for two chances to grab, and \50,000 for three. Don't miss this rare opportunity, as it could be one of the few chances for those looking to buy large sizes in Japan, especially at affordable prices.

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