Japan making huge strides in American football
Football fans around the world are witnessing the growth of American football in various regions of the world. Pigskin enthusiasts may be surprised to know that their favorite sport is also alive in Japan.Today, there are more than 400 high school teams in the country, with more than 15,000 players competing at this level. It is estimated that more than 50% of high school players in Japan continue playing the sport once they get to college.The Kanto Collegiate Football Association is an organization with several divisions where teams compete for the Japan Collegiate Championship. The winner of the collegiate championship ultimately squares off against a corporate X league team champion in the “Rice Bowl”, the Japanese version of the Super Bowl.The Rice Bowl has been a tradition in Japan since 1984. Earlier this month, the Obic Seagulls won their fourth consecutive Rice Bowl title by defeating the college champion Kwansei Gakuin University Fighters 34-16. The game was played at the Tokyo Dome in front of nearly 30,000 fans.Japan has also enjoyed tremendous success versus foreign competition. In 2007, the city of Kawasaki, Japan hosted the American Football World Cup. The team won the silver medal after losing to the U.S. squad in overtime.Over the past two years, the national champion Obic Seagulls have travelled to Germany twice to play clubs from the German GFL. The Japanese team was victorious in both games even tho they played mediocre teams.Now, another big game between the two countries looms on the horizon. Germany and Japan are set to play for the second time during an intercontinental game hosted by the Japanese in Kawasaki. The game is set for April 12, 2014. And a lot of football insiders have Japan winning big over Germany. The last meeting between these two football powers resulted in a 24-14 victory by the Japanese in Dusseldorf. The rematch game is sure to be an exciting event, as both teams come into the contest hungry for a win. For the German team, the game will be a firm test as they also prepare for the European Championships this upcoming June in Austria.German-Japan-Bowl II will also be a major opportunity for each team to prepare for World Cup 2015.