Episode 244 - J1 Matchday 27 & Groundhopping Special

September 25, 2018

In this bumper episode of J-Talk, Sam Robson guests to fill us in on all the goings-on in J1 Matchday 27, and then Chris Hough and Tobias Dreimann share their experiences of watching the J.League in our Groundhopping Special.

Sam and I begin with what is now shaping as a proper title race in the top flight, after Kawasaki continued to ramp up the pressure on leaders Hiroshima with another key victory against an in-form side (Nagoya), while Sanfrecce dropped points for the second straight week. We then look down the table, with half the league either in serious relegation strife or looking over their shoulders with seven games remaining (to 51:55).

Then Tobias returns, and Chris makes his J-Talk debut, to discuss their J.League watching experiences, Tobias having made several trips to Japan and working in a number of games on his travels, and Chris getting to almost 20 different grounds this year having made his J.League-watching bow on a cold Wednesday night up in Sendai in March. The guys share not only their favourite places to go, but also the nuts and bolts of planning a trip from scratch, right down to the nitty-gritty of buying tickets and finding places to stay. Hopefully, if you are thinking of taking the plunge and getting to a J.League stadium, advice from Chris and Tobias will come in handy.

Follow my guests on twitter and the web:

Sam - @FRSoccerSam

Chris - @LifJapan

Lost in Football Japan

Tobias - @condrei

Transfermarkt.com Japan

J.League Germany @jleagueDE


Episode 243 - J1 Matchday 26

September 18, 2018

Sean Carroll and Dan Orlowitz guest to round up the goal fest that was J1 Matchday 26.

We begin at Todoroki, where Dan watched Kawasaki batter Sapporo 7-0 - could this be a launching pad for another late-season title push for Frontale (to 13:00)? The stumble by leaders Hiroshima at Tosu might just have reignited the title race (to 19:45), then we move on to the 'race' for 3rd, with FC Tokyo remaining there by default despite a sixth straight game without a win (to 27:30).

We move on to Kashima's chances of making a first ever ACL semi final 'away' at Tianjin on Tuesday night (to 31:50), then after Dan hops on a train and off the pod, Sean and I discuss yet more frustration for Ange Postecoglou and his Yokohama side against Urawa on Sunday night, before moving on to Nagasaki's shock win over Nagoya, and the rest of the #RelegationDogfight picture, before looking ahead to the J1 Matchday 27 fixtures (to 55:25). We finish with a brief review of Japan's 3-0 win over Costa Rica last week, a performance lit up by Shoya Nakajima.

Follow my guests on twitter:

Dan - @aishiterutokyo

Sean - @seankyaroru

Sean's Sakka Nihon website


Episode 242 - J2 Special September 2018

September 11, 2018

Stuart Smith and Jon Steele return to the pod for our latest J2 Special, with just under a quarter of the second tier season remaining.

We begin with a check of where the playoff contending and relegation battling 'lines' are, before looking at the situation at the bottom of the table, where FC Gifu have sunk like a stone on the back of nine straight defeats. Stuart searches for answers and speculates on the future of manager Takeshi Oki - how long can he hang on? (to 16:20). We then move on to the other battlers (to 21:20), before a long overdue check on J3 and the implications of awarding J2 (& J1) licences for the following year's campaign so late in the season (to 30:45).

We then move to the top of the table and current pacesetters Machida and Matsumoto, review the playoff prospects for teams currently in the top six, and discuss whether those on the outside looking in - Omiya & Tokushima - can unseat one or more of them.

We finish with a quick check of the Levain Cup quarter final results, and look ahead to Japan v Costa Rica on Tuesday night.

Follow my guests on twitter:

Jon - @J2KantoBites

Stuart - @sushi_football

Stuart's We Are Gifu blog


Episode 241 - J1 Matchday 25

September 4, 2018

Adrian Serna and Neil Debnam return to the podcast to offer very different perspectives on J1 Matchday 25.

In Part 1 Nagoya correspondent Adrian revels in Grampus's remarkable (my word of the week) transformation that has seen them rise from the foot of the table to 11th after seven straight wins, the latest of which was a 6-1 away pasting of Iwata on Saturday night. We discuss how Nagoya's five big summer transfer window additions have helped turn things around, Jo's remarkable (there's that word again) purple patch, and the progress of Adrian's crowdfunding campaign to get a tattoo of Grampus manager Yahiro Kazama's face on one of his butt cheeks (to 21:45). We then finish off Part 1 with a check on the Matchday 25 results for other teams in the bottom half of the table (to 30:30).

Then in Part 2 Kawasaki correspondent Neil is in a slightly more somber mood after Frontale wasted their chance to keep a semblance of pressure on leaders Hiroshima by losing 2-0 away at second from bottom Gamba Osaka on Saturday. We analyze Frontale's failure to build momentum throughout the season, and particularly since the league resumed after the World Cup, and wonder whether the team has returned to its previous flaky ways (to 45:30). We then wrap up the episode with a check on the remaining results from the matchday, and touch on Hajime Moriyasu's first Japan squad, with the Samurai Blue set to face Chile and Costa Rica in the next week.

Follow my guests on twitter:

Adrian - @758adrian

Neil - @frontalerabbit

Neil's Frontale Rabbit blog


Episode 240 - J1 Matchday 24

August 28, 2018

After another bumper weekend of J1 action, Dan Orlowitz and first time guest Lionel Piguet guest on this week’s podcast to wrap it all up.

We begin at the Noevir Stadium in Kobe, where Takefusa Kubo upstaged Andres Iniesta and Lukas Podolski by scoring Yokohama’s opener in their 2-0 away win, then move on to the Best Amenity Stadium, where things went appreciably better for Iniesta’s fellow Spaniard Fernando Torres, who netted his first league goal for Tosu in their 3-0 home win over struggling Gamba Osaka.

Lionel then has to leave us (at 29:35), so Dan and I wrap up the rest of Sunday’s action (to 38:30), before we turn our attention to vital 1-0 wins for both of the top two on Saturday, then cover the other games and look ahead to this weekend’s Matchday 25 (to 55:40).

At the end of the podcast I ask Dan to fill us in on his initial impressions of his new job at The Japan Times.

Follow my guests on twitter:

Dan - @aishiterutokyo

Lionel - @lionelpiguet


Episode 239 - J1 Matchdays 22 & 23

August 21, 2018

Sam Robson and Scott McIntyre guest to review the week's two J1 matchdays.

We begin with Sunday's top of the table clash between Hiroshima and Kawasaki, and discuss the outlook for both teams moving forward (to 15:20), then move on to FC Tokyo's recent struggles, Sapporo's staying power, and round up the results for the rest of the teams in the top half, with a special mention for Kashima as they set out to conquer Asia (to 41:35).

Then we turn our attention to the 'wrong end' of the table, beginning with Nagoya's stunning winning streak, but then a bleaker outlook for current relegation zone occupants Tosu, Gamba Osaka and Nagasaki, with an obligatory Yokohama chat thrown in at no extra charge (to 1:21:50). We finish off with a quick check on Japan at the Asian Games and the Women's Under 20 World Cup, with the briefest of J2 updates right at the end.

Follow my guests on twitter:

Scott - @mcintinhos

Sam - @FRSoccerSam


Episode 238 - J1 Matchday 21

August 14, 2018

In this raucous episode of J-Talk, Alan Gibson and first-time guest Tobias Dreimann come to us live from The Harbour Tavern in Kobe to review an action-packed J1 Matchday 21.

We begin with Gamba Osaka's much-needed win at home over FC Tokyo on Friday night, and discuss the situation at the foot of the table, which tightened up appreciably with all of the bottom four at the start of play winning over the weekend (to 15:15).

We then turn our attention to the top, with Hiroshima strengthening their position at the summit thanks to a home win over Nagasaki on Saturday night in the 'Peace Match', that Tobias was lucky enough to take in as part of his three and a half week ground-hopping tour of Japan.

The rest of the Matchday 21 games are rounded up (after I initially forgot Nagoya's 4-2 home triumph over Kashima!), in and around a look ahead to two massive rounds of fixtures this Wednesday and Sunday, with a preview of Kobe v Hiroshima beginning at 37:40.

#AUDIO ISSUES# Alan and Tobias were both sat in the pub, and therefore there's an awful lot of background noise as other people went about their business of enjoying their Monday night - I apologise as certain sections of the podcast will be difficult to hear - perhaps crack open a beer yourself, put your headphones in/on and imagine you were there, too!

Follow my guests on twitter:

Alan - @JSoccerMagazine

Tobias - @ConDrei

J.League Germany


Episode 237 - Yokohama, J1 Matchdays 19 & 20, J2 Update

August 7, 2018

Plenty to catch up on in this week's episode of J-Talk, and Sean Galbraith and Stuart Smith are on board to chew over the goings-on in the top two divisions.

In Part 1 Sean discusses Yokohama's recent tough run, that has seen them lose their last three to the top three in the J1 table - the latest a 2-0 Kanagawa Derby defeat to Kawasaki on Sunday - before we look ahead at F.Marinos' prospects of pulling away from the relegation zone (to 27:40). We then move on to round up the week's two rounds of matches, that saw FC Tokyo further reduce Hiroshima's buffer at the top, while Nagoya's fruitful week saw them edge up to almost within touching distance of safety (to 46:20).

Then in Part 2 Stuart returns to review a busy two months since our last J2 Special. We begin with how the current top six are travelling (to 1:12:45), before checking in on some winners and losers from the last 10 matchdays.

Follow my guests on twitter:

Sean - @1amSage

Stuart - @sushi_football


Episode 236 - Moriyasu, Summer Transfers & J1 Update

July 31, 2018

In our first episode since Japan's World Cup exit, Dan Orlowitz and Sam Robson guest to round up a busy period in the Japanese game.

We begin with Hajime Moriyasu's appointment as Japan manager, and how he will handle dual duties in charge of the Samurai Blue and Japan's 2020 Olympic team (to 8:20), before moving on to a very hectic summer transfer window.

The arrivals of Andres Iniesta and Fernando Torres (heard of them?!) lead off our chat (to 16:00), before we turn our attention to notable domestic transfers, including Mu Kanazaki joining Torres at Tosu, and Nagoya retooling as they attempt to right their sinking ship (to 32:00). We then move to European matters, with Wataru Endo and Naomichi Ueda taking their talents to Belgium, and we focus on Yoshinori Muto's move from Mainz to Newcastle United (from 37:00 to 43:50).

From there its matters on the pitch in J1 all the way, as Sam and Dan each choose a couple of 'winners' and 'losers' from the three (almost complete) matchdays that have taken place since the league resumed.

Follow my guests on twitter:

Sam - @FRSoccerSam

Dan - @aishiterutokyo


Episode 235 - Japan 2-3 Belgium

July 4, 2018

After Japan's crushing late loss to Belgium in the first knockout round in Russia, Cesare Polenghi and Scott McIntyre guested for a post mortem on the 3-2 defeat, and the Samurai Blue's campaign as a whole.

The players who impressed, Akira Nishino's blind spot re: Eiji Kawashima, and whether Nishino is the right man to take Japan forward are just a few of the topics covered before Scott, coming to us from a (very atmospheric) train platform in Russia, literally has to depart (at 39:00), before Cesare broadens our horizon with opinions on how the Japanese game and the national team can be taken forward, and we wrap up the game.

#On Wednesday, several Japanese media outlets reported that Jurgen Klinsmann has been lined up to replace Nishino - we were not aware of these reports during recording.#

Follow my guests on twitter and the web:

Scott - @mcintinhos

The Asian Game podcast

Cesare - @CesarePolenghi

Football Tribe