Tomorrow morning readers of the FT magazine, distributed in the UK and Europe with the Financial Times newspaper, will get a special treat. This summer Robin Harding, one of the FT reporters based in Tokyo, was ‘adopted’ by the Team Espresso Pachigi ROBO-ONE soccer team and had the rare opportunity to experience what it’s like to be on the inside. Robin’s 8 page article (see a brief sample below) will let readers experience the trials, tribulations, challenges, success and defeats that few westerners could even imagine.
Here’s the opening three paragraphs of Robin’s report:
“We are 1-0 down with two minutes to play when my teammate goes down in the corner of the pitch. "Substitute!" shouts Mr Sugiura. This is it, my super-sub moment. I think of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in the 1999 European Cup Final as I step up, plug in, press forward - and watch as my alter ego, Tiny Wave, flops down with a languid whirr of servos.
Oh hell. Everyone is looking at me. At least the ball is stuck in a goalmouth scrum at the other end. It's not plugged in properly. That's better. I fumble with the controller - a hacked Playstation pad with levers protruding in odd places and a Bluetooth chip for remote control - and Tiny Wave's body goes rigid, wobbles, and with what feels to me like a reproachful look, he keels over backwards. That was the 'Standby' button.
1-0 it finishes, and Team Espresso Pachigi have lost their first match in the 3rd Robo-One Soccer Cup. There's nowhere to hide. Mr Sugiura, pressed by the announcer for a post-match interview, ponders and says: "I don't think the alcohol has worn off yet."
Alert readers will recognize the ROBO-ONE Soccer team leader “Mr. Sugiura” is also the creator of Dynamizer, and the father of Yuta Sugiura, creator of Kitro and key member of the Keio Media Design group that developed Foldy.
Read the full FT article here.