"I always knew I would come back to Nagoya one day, and there's no better way than to come back with Arsenal, another love of my life," said Arsène Wenger at his press conference in Japan on Thursday.
Arsenal's Asia Tour 2013 has just entered its second week but, for Arsène, today was like a homecoming. He managed Nagoya Grampus for nearly two years before taking over at Arsenal, and the Gunners' next opponents are understandably very proud to count him among their alumni, and have made him and the club very welcome in Japan.
The Arsenal boss shared the press conference top table with Ivan Gazidis and Dragan Stojkovic - Arsène's protégé and former player when he managed here, between 1995 and 1996.
The press conference got under way after the main guests watched a traditional Japanese fan dance, prompting the boss to say: "I will ask my press officer to arrange that for our press conferences, it might relax the journalists in England which is needed!"
As well as reuniting with 'Piksi' Stojkovic, Arsène renewed acquaintances with several other members of his old backroom staff who are still at the club today.
If it felt like a homecoming to Arsène, then that is exactly what it was for Ryo Miyachi. His family home is just 20 minutes from the team hotel in Nagoya, and he is understandably a huge attraction for the fans out here.
Meanwhile the rest of the squad were also out and about, meeting fans and sampling the culture as they either coached at an Emirates Soccer Clinic or took in some live sumo wrestling.
For the next few days though, the focus of the tour will be entirely on football. There will be double training sessions for each of the following three days, with no commercial events in between. The Japanese leg of the tour starts amid an altogether more sedate atmosphere than those experienced in Indonesia and Jakarta.Copyright 2014 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 19 Jul 2013