Posts Tagged ‘Japan’

Monday, May 31st, 2010

Pre-World Cup 2010 Friendly Report: England v Japan


Much as the word “gay” has acquired in modern times a disgusting connotation foreign to its original, charming meaning, so it is with the word “nip”. This was once the loveliest of English words with a variety of uses; “Nip and tuck”, “Nip in the bud”, “Nip in the air” and so forth. Now, however, it has been effectively and brutally colonised by our oriental foes the Japanese. The same goes for the word “Johnny”. Once, one merrily trilled the word in such ditties as “When Johnny comes marching home”. Now, once again, in conjunction with the word “Nip”, it has an altogether less innocent interpretation. “Johnny Nip” now brings to mind a wholly unpleasant mental image, the image of those who have pillaged our very language in order to signify themselves.

It was for this gross act of yellow appropriation, to say nothing of countless other crimes, that we would exact our revenge upon the opponents ranged against us on the field today. Having been soundly and properly thrashed in World War II, during the 1950s their numbers dwindled to the point in the 1960s there was but one oriental left in the world, a certain Mr Bert Kwouk. Since then, however, it would appear that they have been breeding again – there were moments today when they appeared to be all over the pitch. (Nowadays, I believe, their principal export is pencil sharpeners which double up as transistor radios – they blare out the chimes of some benighted Japanese crooner singing “Rock Around The Crock” upon use). This is not to the good. One refrains from stigmatising a nation according to their perceived characteristics but in all reasonableness, they cannot possibly expect to be taken seriously with names and eyes like that. Exhibit A: A Prime Minister called Takeshita. Prime Ministers with names that do not readily present the opportunity for anagrams alluding to obscene bodily functions versus Prime Ministers with names that do. This was one of the many things at stake in this vital fixture.

The brutal privations endured by British POWs in Japanese internment camps during the recent great campaign are fresh in the minds of an older generation, less so the younger. It is to this end that each year, I invite local children to my estate and stage for them a re-enactment of the horrors visited upon so many of our boys. My manservant Seppings plays the role of the unfortunate POW, while I, in a far more onerous role, play his Japanese tormenter. It is my grim duty to descend into the oriental mindset and devise punishments which Seppings must undergo for the edification of the children. There they sit, cross-legged and watch as, barking mock-Japanese imprecations, I force Seppings to sit on a bamboo spike, rub his genitals with unguents and preserves which attract a nearby nest of wasps, eat his own dog and, in a particularly callous twist on a chastisement mentioned in reports passim, bury him upside down in sand for several hours with his feet, rather than his head, exposed to the baking sun.

The match took place in Austria, a country which has produced and exported many fine citizens and born leaders of men. The lip duly curled all the more as the Japanese lined up alongside the English, as if daring to presume parity. Our own National Anthem was delivered with customary aplomb, with Stuart Pearce nudging mascot Signor Capello to remind him to stand to attention in the dugout and, for Heavens sake, try not to look too Italian. The Japanese infliction, by contrast, an inconclusive, drawn out dirge doubtless sketched out on the side of a teapot in the 16th century, sounded like a tone poem to the pleasures of hari-kari.

The match began with England in imperious mode, and, one trusts, the referee having had a word with the Japanese reminding them that were any of their team to commit suicide by any means during the course of the game, they would be met with a straight red card. England certainly didn’t play with the sullen lethargy of those under contractual obligation to be torn away from their Wiis and Gameboys for about two hours in their pampered fucking lives. Hefty Tom Huddlestone played with customary winged heels, which he would need as the Japanese regarded him with a half a mind to harpoon him. Rio Ferdinand is still living the England dream, with the emphasis on “dream”. Darren Bent definitely might not as well have got straight onto his travel agent at half time to enquire about cut price holidays from mid June to mid July. Rooney’s glances of affection at Theo Walcott when, very occasionally indeed, his end product was slightly less than perfect were veritable love letters, none of them including the letters “T”, “W”, “A” and “T”, followed by the punctuation points “!”. “!”, “!”, “!”, “!”, “!” and “!”.

Astonishingly, however, it was the Japanese who, in an act of inscrutable folly found the back of the net first. The scorer was a fellow by the name of Tulio, which sounds suspiciously non-oriental. I trust that a FIFA biologist, superintended by a member of the English FA, was dispatched to carry out a Race Test at half time, involving blood samples and phrenological examinations of the cranium to check that he was indeed Japanese. Whatever, this was undoubtedly Japan’s Pearl Harbour moment, which served only to enrage and galvanise England’s Allied Forces, who redoubled their efforts and vowed revenge.

Half time reinforcements saw Joe Cole and Steven Gerrard introduced onto the pitch. It is a tribute to the latter that I could have sworn, going by recent performances, that he had already been on the pitch in the first half. And, before long, our efforts were rewarded with a penalty, which was duly dispatched, or near as damnit, by Frank Lampard in an absolutely bloody useful effort. The goal, however, was disallowed on some tedious technicality doubtless introduced by the bureaucratic gnomes of Brussels in order to hamper British enterprise.

This hitch notwithstanding, Japan were finally sunk with two late strikes, much as they were in 1945. Our own fortitude, then as know, had proven superior. Much as we had ridden out the Blitz through cheerful stoicism and the whistling of the tunes of Bud Flanagan, the Japanese, when on the receiving end, displayed a peculiar genetic intolerance to nuclear annihilation. All that remained now was for the USS Missouri to be unmoored and recommissioned, and for a delegation led by John Terry to step aboard and accept the Japanese surrender, on terms favourable to the English, dictating the following terms.

-It’s a restaurant. We want chairs. And cutlery. And to keep our shoes on. And something filling to eat, in which seaweed isn’t the main ingredient. Or cat.

-Do something amusing involving your naked bodies and a cheese grater for our televisual delectation.

The game was won, the match over. However, for weeks, months, perhaps years to come there will be at least one member of the Japanese back four scurrying gamely, around in the long grass of that Austrian pitch, unaware that the whistle has long blown.