Frank Stubbs: Matchday in Nagoya

Open Training in Japan
Japanese fans show their support at open training

Matchday in Nagoya

Writing my thoughts the morning of a match is not something I tend to do very often but having arrived in another new country early yesterday morning it has already been an enjoyable and often amusing few hours.

The first thing we noticed when arriving at our hotel was the sheer peace and quiet! No more mopeds, no more beeping of horns, no more pandemonium! I absolutely loved Hanoi, especially the quite amazing 'Old Quarter' but even waiting for a 'green man' to allow me to cross the road was welcome!

Tiredness (in fact total exhaustion!) had finally caught up so a few hours kip was first on the agenda before venturing out to establish what our latest Asian city had to offer.

The Sakae area of the city is full of everything you could possibly want, from huge air conditioned shopping malls to pubs, restaurants, cafes, open spaces and of course karaoke bars. The big wide streets arranged into a block system very typical of many American cities give a more relaxing feel to busy day-to-day life I feel, such an amazing contrast to our previous destination in Vietnam.

Initially we could have been forgiven for thinking we were in Munich! Somehat incredibly Nagoya's own version of Oktoberfest was in full swing right opposite the hotel with maybe two or three thousand locals very much enjoying the party spirit. Shall we?

Watching everybody jump about to 'Edelweiss' was very amusing and a nice way to start before we headed for some food and into a bar full of football fans with their faces painted as they watched their country take on China in an international on the TV. The atmosphere was fantastic... although it did quieten down when their team let a two-goal lead slip late on to draw 3-3!

Talking to the friendly locals it was hugely apparent they are thoroughly looking forward to tonight's encounter.

The amount of Arsenal shirts we have already seen around the city this morning emphasizes there will be a large Gooner attendance too.

Pre-match fare awaits so over and out for now.


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