From Tokyo to Aomori. From the capital city to the Northern point of Honshu, the main island of Japanese archipelago. From the massive city to the underpopulated countryside, as we always do, we’ve been looking for abandoned football pitches. Even though the landscapes did not look as much as paradise as the ones in Mexico, the diversity we saw hit us in the face like a random shoot from John Bostock. The contaminated stadium from Fukushima, 5 a side pitches on the rooftop of Tokyo buildings, or the Aomori University field, there’s a story for each one of the football grounds we’ve seen.
As we were desperately trying to find someone to sell us black market tickets for the J League game between Yokohama Marinos and Hokkaido Sapporo, we caught sight of this pitch behind the bushes. Japanese young guns playing a 9 a side tournament in the shade of their heroes. The Marinos who, a couple of weeks later, will be lifting the J-League trophy.
Less than a Mile away from the authentic restaurant we had a ramen, stands this dirt pitch, probably the playground of all these Athletics teachers in tracksuit we met while having lunch. Sports seems to play a central role as a social connector in Japanese countryside.
Not far from the previous pitch, this new one offers a beautiful view on the mountains surrounding. As we’re taking some shots in the middle of the pitch, we’re suddenly feeling the aftermath of that ramen. We have no choice but going back to the car and leave as soon as possible for the closest toilets. Sorry, but that’s why there are only two pictures of this stadium.
Right by a fresh river, this beautiful pitch host games of the local school, where kids run after the ball for the most simple of pleasures.
We took the time to tell a detailed story about this radiated football ground in Fukushima, a witness of the eternal scars left by a nuclear disaster. In Fukushima, more than anywhere else, we found a pitch forever lost for football.
The end of the road. In Honshu, there is no way to go more North. This stadium belongs of the University, and have no other choice but being the home ground of Baseball, Rugby and Football teams at the same time. A peaceful place where athletes from different sports all play at different times, without any jealousy or rivalry. And it’s fair play to the football team, because looking at the state of the pitch, it might not be easy to control the ground after rugby players destroyed the lawn.
Protected inside the walls of a school, this is the authentic football ground you can find in Tokyo. As they belong to the schools, it is not really off a good behaviour to get in with a camera to take pictures. Especially if you want to avoid looking like a pedo, which is not something that is really appreciated in this country. By consequent we have to stay outside to shoot the nice kids… heu… this nice pitch.
When the day ends on the country of the rising sun, a pretty special atmosphere covers the city. It’s under a new light that Tokyo express itself. Everything seems more peaceful. Right before bright neon lights and the craziness of the night start, it’s the perfect moment to lose yourself wandering in the empty streets. You can find pretty amazing playgrounds, like this one surrounding by the buildings in the middle of the city.
Above the hysteria of Tokyo nightlife, when you can lose your head but never the reason. As we’re climbing a rooftop to scout a location to shoot a music video with a drone, we discover this 5 a side pitch that Tokyo ballers can book for crazy games looking down to the busy streets. Life is good. Sometimes
Photography by Jeremie Roturier, who burned more than 1.5GB of data (7,500$) on his iPhone during this trip.