Saturday, May 10, 2008

Decisions, Decisions

One of the major differences I noticed between Fighters fans in Sapporo and Fighters fans in Tokyo is that Sapporo fans tend to really get decked out in unique ways to support the team. The Tokyo crowd mostly has standard jerseys -- name/number, the letters in English, and the "unique" people are the ones wandering around wearing the 1993-2003 jerseys with things like "Tanaka #6" or "Nishizaki #21" or "Iwamoto #18" or even some crazy ones like "Hirose #1" or "Nishiura #66". Some brave souls even still wear the bright orange pre-1993 jerseys as well.

Now in Sapporo, you don't see the oldskool jerseys much at all, but you see some really special stuff nonetheless. There's a few major themes I've noticed to the jerseys:

1) Using kanji for player names instead of English letters (ie, "稲葉篤紀 41")
2) Using the player's first name or nickname instead of last name (ie, "Mack 8", "Naoto 5")
3) Adding various phrases to the jersey in Japanese (I'll show a few below)
4) Adding various COLORS to represent each different player (ie, Hichori jerseys have black letters with green borders, Kensuke's have pink borders, Kaneko's have blue, etc)
5) Adding shiny/glittery stuff around the letters (particularly pink shiny Kensuke letters)
6) Adding various other things (My favorite was a girl with a "Konta #52" jersey with the word "LOVE" added underneath it in purple, with little pink hearts all over it)

Kensuke and Hichori jerseys. I thought I wanted to do one like these, maybe.

Really huge Naoto Inada fan who perhaps had one of the most elaborate and beautiful jerseys I saw there -- I really appreciated the amount of effort she put into this thing. She explained that she fell in love with him for his fighting spirit after the Naoto vs. The Cameraman episode during the Japan Series, and I don't blame her one bit for that.

This is Makoto Kaneko's cheer song. On a jersey. How awesome is that?

So the thing is, I have a couple of Fighters replica jerseys -- a current home one with Ogasawara #2 on the back, which I rarely wear; a current away one with no number, and an old Tokyo Fighters away jersey with no number that I bought like 6 years ago. I was originally thinking I'd get a new jersey when I went to Sapporo -- I really wanted one of the beautiful blue Hokkaido ones, but they aren't sold anymore. And then I couldn't decide on a player to get a standard jersey for (I think if they'd actually sold Tadano #16 I would have gone ahead and gotten one, but they didn't), plus I realized -- why get a new jersey when I can just get numbers/letters added to one of the ones I have already?

The Sapporo Dome shop sells iron-on letters in the Fighters uniform font so you can make your own jersey, but it's like 400 yen per letter and 900 yen per number, so when I realized getting "Kensuke 3" or "Hichori 1" would cost like 3700 yen, I decided to think about it for a day or two. And then after seeing all of the crazy awesome unique jerseys around the stadium for the weekend, I decided: if I'm gonna do this, I'm gonna do something really special and different.

When I came back to Tokyo, I stopped by Sports Authority and picked up a uniform catalog, and it seems pretty likely I can get them to do a jersey for me. Now the only question is, WHAT to do?

I think I might get a "Tanaka #6" added to the old jersey, because I really do want something commemorating Yukio Tanaka. Another idea was getting "田中幸雄 #2000 5.15.07" on the newer jersey, or maybe "TANAKA" and then under it "賢介 3 幸雄 6" or something like that.

(An alternate Kensuke Tanaka idea -- since a LOT of women have Kensuke jerseys now, especially with pink borders or shiny borders and with his name in kanji -- was to do his cheer song - どこまでも飛ばせ 賢介 ガッツだゴーゴーゴー 僕らは待つよ 輝く瞬間 - like that Makoto jersey the other lady had, only putting the name Kensuke in huge pink letters. Though I also fear it might be costly to get quite so many letters made.)

Another idea was getting a green-bordered set of letters that says "Piccolo #1" in honor of Hichori's costume at the all-star game in 2006, but I don't know if people would get it.

I also thought about simply getting a weird player that nobody else has. "Imanari #62" came to mind. But who knows if he'll ever make it to ichi-gun, really.

So after thinking about it for the last week, what I really, really, really think I want is a non-player-related one. Namely, I want to get one like this:

Oi, oi, Hokkaido! Banzai! Banzai! Banzai!

The question is, is there anything really wrong with doing something like that? I'm basically stealing someone else's idea, and if they ever see me in such a jersey, maybe they'd get mad. Or maybe they'd be flattered? On the other hand, maybe they stole the idea from someone else to begin with. Who knows.

I really like this one, because it isn't tied to a specific player, so whether or not someone succeeds or fails or LEAVES THE TEAM AND GOES TO THE GIANTS or whatever doesn't really affect the jersey still being cool.

I suppose some Japanese people might think it was pretty strange seeing a foreigner walking around in a jersey full of Japanese writing, but whatever, they think it's pretty strange seeing me walk around no matter what I do. Of course, it might be even WEIRDER to wear it around in America someday, but that's not my concern right now.

Anyway, as soon as I decipher the order form, I'll probably go ahead and get the Oi Oi Hokkaido jersey made, unless I come up with something better in the meantime.

No comments: