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The Valero Alamo Bowl draws fans from across the country, but recently we received a ticket order request that was truly unique – this one came all the way from Japan.
Koji Tada is a huge football fan who has lived his entire life in Japan. He saw his first live American football game in 1993, when he went to Super Bowl XXVII and saw the Dallas Cowboys beat the Buffalo Bills at the Rose Bowl Stadium. Three years later he was back at the Rose Bowl for his first taste of the college game, this time to see USC play Northwestern.
Seventeen years after his first trip to a bowl game, Koji has now seen 70 bowl games in 28 different cities. This year, as part of a seven-day, five-game trip to the United States, Koji will be attending his sixth Alamo Bowl, having previously attended the game in 2000, 2003, 2007, 2010 and 2011.
Koji’s trip will also include stops in Orlando for the Russell Athletic Bowl, Atlanta for the Chick-fil-A Bowl, Tampa for the Outback Bowl and Miami for the Discover Orange Bowl.
Koji received his introduction to the game watching the Rose Bowl on Japanese television as an elementary school child. He was immediately drawn to the excitement of the sport and has been a fan ever since.
He went to school in the Kansai region, where football is popular – the Kansai League has games every weekend throughout the fall, and the 2012 championship game drew a crowd of more than 20,000 people. But, through the majority of his early fandom, his only way of tracking weekly results of his favorite American teams was by purchasing an American newspaper on Monday morning, and even then he could only find scores for teams ranked in the Top 25.
The evolution of the internet has made it much easier for Koji to follow the progress of the college football season. The growth of online streaming allows him to watch live games online every weekend and even mid-week, as he recently shared with us how excited he was to watch last Thursday’s match-ups of Oklahoma vs. Baylor and Oregon vs. Stanford.
However, none of those things can replace the feeling of being at a live American college football game, so every year Koji continues to fly across the Pacific Ocean for a fast-paced weeklong trip as he attempts to witness as many games as possible.