“Japanese tyre-manufacturer Yokohama Rubber will spend over 50 million British Pounds per year to sponsor Chelsea …..”

“We have many extremely ambitious and successful companies in our industry but I think the days that SDL or LionBridge will become shirt sponsor of any major Premier League or Champions League football team are far away.”

“Anyway, I don't want to go to Chelsea.”

These were my thoughts when I was welcomed in Ghent yesterday-evening by the blue & white neon-lights of the fantastic new football stadium of my home team AA Gent, also known as La Gantoise.

Ghelamco Arena

I was not on my way to a Champions League match, and not on my way to a match of the football team that we are sponsoring: the indoor soccer team Yamagata Europe. No, I was on my way to the opening of the Japan Square Film Festival

Japan Square Film Festival

Since the very start of the festival (it was the 6th edition this year), we have been the main sponsor, and we want to keep it like this. The festival is organised by a small team of Japan lovers and film enthusiasts and is the major Japanese film festival in Belgium. So, in its league: Top Notch Premier League. Half of the movie theatre was filled with Yamagata invitees and employees. Will Yokohama ever fill half of Stamford Bridge?

This years' opening movie was a samurai drama about the decline of the jidaigeki, the traditional samurai film in Japan. With a special focus on one of the typical roles in these type of movies: the kirare yaku, or the guy who gets killed in a sword fight, sometimes in a twisted shrimp-shaped fall called the ebizori.

Ebizori

The festival always puts an old fashioned focus on “content”: great selection and positioning before the movie starts. You get an intro to the art of ebizori, jidaigeki, uzamasa, and by the time the movie starts, you have already mentally arrived in Kyoto. And you stay there after the movie, thanks to the sake, Japanese waitresses, sushi with shrimps and hybrid Japanese beer brewed in Belgium, ...

Real value for money and fun: that is what we like when we sponsor!

And for the record and out of huge respect for our indoor football players: you can follow their adventures here.