Atsuto Uchida feels that Japanese and Germans have similar philosophies when it comes to football.
The 24-year old Japanese right-back, who joined Schalke 04 from Kashima Antlers in 2010, has become a regular for the Gelsenkirchen club and puts his adjustment down to the similarities between the two nations.
“Nothing in particular has changed since when I played in the J.League,” he said in an interview with the Asahi Shimbun.
“Japanese and Germans have a similar mentality toward the game, and I was able to transition smoothly. More than anything, the spirit of self-sacrifice, ‘for the team,’ ‘for the win,’ is greatly respected.
“This is strongly emphasized in meetings by the manager and coaches as well. Before going to play in Germany, I had imagined that individualism among the players would be stronger overseas than in Japan, but that is not the case, and I was a little surprised.”
Uchida, who has made 15 Bundesliga appearances this season for a total of 59 for Schalke, said that team mentality was a lot stronger in Germany than he experienced in his homeland.
“Even more so than in Japan, the tendency to act as a group here is strong,” he added. “At away games, all the players come together for a meal at the hotel, and it’s an atmosphere where you don’t feel satisfied unless everyone expresses their thanks for the meal as one group. In Japan, players are free to go to the restaurant at a time of their choosing. They eat, and then go back to their own individual rooms.
!In Germany, no one is ever late for scheduled meeting times, either. On our team we also have players form Peru and Nigeria, but everyone obeys the rules without complaint. I guess we all understand that if we don’t adhere to the rules we won’t be playing in Germany for long.”