Japan has always have special place in my heart. Brazil will always be my #1 favorite, but Japan comes close. Watching Japan plays is another type of excitement you can only get when you see their crazy defensive skills. Japan is no powerhouse when it comes to hitting, but everyone who loves volleyball knows when it comes to floor defense, Japan is on another level. I think the fact that they are shorter than all the other girls forced them to work on their defense floor more. some people say they wish Japan has taller players. i say, no. because their size is actually their advantages when it comes to floor defense. look at russia. they are almost, if not more than 2m, and they move like snail on court.
japan has given me some of my all time favorite players. the legendary kimura who was one of the best all around players of all time. the best thing about kimura is her attitude on court. she never shows arrogance, always humble, and smiling. and during her last years on court, she was like the big sisters to the younger players. even when she was no longer on her glory days, she often rose to the occasion when needed. her floater serve is just amazing to watch and her defensive skills is always entertaining. kimura, ebata, sakoda, and the iconic takeshita and sano made me fall in love with Japan NT even more.
these young players, especially this new Olympic cycle, is quickly caught my attention. the team on the Rio Olympic cycle lacked something, I don't know what. but i lost my interest watching them. but this Grand Prix team brought back the spark.it is nice to see Koga finally playing like that future star that she is destined to be. she is much, much better this time than the last cycle. Ishii and Shinnabe always provide the support system that the team needs. I might be bias but Miyashita is my favorite setter of Japan. I hope she will step up her game. her defensive skills are amazing but she lacks precision and connections. but when she gets it right, she gets it right real good.
kinda funny as well that i also fell in love with japan men nt recently because of their performance in world league. yanagida, yamauchi, otake, and fuji caught my attention. and of course my japan favorite boy, ishikawa, these new generations of players, both men and women, seems promising. i am excited to watch these two teams in more tournament after this.