Well, another World Cup football game against Japan Blue Samurai is over. The centre of the trip. The excuse for drawing 4 others into our traveling party this time. Joining with the Green and Gold Army. Cheering for the Socceroos. Read about it elsewhere as they say.
The gathering of the Green and Gold Army supporters at the Hobgoblin Hotel in Roppongi was a good start to the day, but I did wonder whether planning this gathering with a 50 minute subway ride was the best idea. Somewhat different than in February 2009 when the warm up venue was a nice 15 minute walk from the Stadium.
Anyway, as a public transport nutter, I had sorted the fare and line details out pretty easily for getting to Saitama Stadium from the nearby Namboku Line station. Me and my four buddies are right. Lets go!
Before we could enter the station a throbbing, yelling mass of yellow and green descended on the ticket machines, confused by how to find Urawa-Misono station. Barking instructions to the restless mob using the Asahi voice I did not realise I possessed: “960 Yen, Saitama Line” – the first crisis was avoided. I expect much to the pleasure of the bamboozled Tokyo Metro staff looking on, gathering in increasing numbers and with growing dismay. Are the Railway Police needed?
Tokyo has numerous subway lines, and the Namboku Line took us all directly to Urawa-Misono station where there then is a walk to the Stadium. 50 minutes underground! Oh for such a subway system in Sydney!
Going across Tokyo at 4.00pm can only bring crowds into the subways, this added to by tens of thousands of fans. The train was packed tight. Suggesting it was packed like sardines does not do it justice. It was so packed that one guy chanted so that we could breath in and out in unison.
The atmosphere in the carriage was electric with anticipation, and also friendliness. While language is a barrier, a smile, a nod and a few gestures can make an effective conversation.