By Wendy Brown, U.S. Army Garrison Japan Public AffairsFebruary 4, 2019
CAMP ZAMA, Japan (Feb. 5, 2019) -- Staff Sgt. Kiki Hill is a dedicated football fan, but this year marked the first time for her that Super Bowl Sunday came and went and she woke up Monday morning not knowing who won the game.
No matter. She gladly ate her breakfast of bacon, eggs, biscuits and orange juice and cheered for Tom Brady as she watched the New England Patriots take on the Los Angeles Rams in real time, albeit 14 hours ahead in Japan, at the Camp Zama Community Club.
Hill, assigned to the 78th Signal Battalion, said this was her first Super Bowl in Japan, and it was a little strange watching the game at 8:30 a.m., but it was still a lot of fun.
"I like the fact that everyone is still together as one big group watching the game," Hill said.
More than 300 members of the Camp Zama community gathered in the ballroom at the Camp Zama Community Club and the club's Game Time Sports Bar and Grill to watch Super Bowl LIII, said Randy Benton, special events coordinator for Camp Zama Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation.
"It's one of the biggest sporting events of the year, and just because you're out of the country we don't want them to feel like, 'Well, we won't enjoy it,' or, 'We're just going to miss out on it,'" Benton said. "It's a huge game. It's important to us to provide a venue where everybody can come together and watch."
While patrons dug into traditional Super Bowl foods such as chicken wings, nachos and hot dogs later in the game, most went for the breakfast spread when they first arrived.
Parish Jones and his son Alex, 21, Camp Zama family members, camped out next to the coffee table and kept their cups filled throughout the game.
Parish, a Pittsburgh Steelers fan who works as a substitute teacher and coaches, said he has lived in Japan for 16 years, but this was the first time he had watched the game at the club.
"I'm glad I'm here," he said. "I'm enjoying myself. It's a perfect setup with the services."
Alex, a University of Maryland University College student who wore a vintage Houston Oilers shirt with the name of running back Earl Campbell on the back, said he liked all the screens throughout the ballroom -- he could watch the game every way he turned his head -- and he appreciated the live performances by the Jubilly Dance Crew.
The game also gave local nationals a chance to watch the game in an American environment.
Ryuichi Miyajima, a college student who works part time at Costco, said he became a Patriots fan during his stay in Connecticut as an exchange student, and he watched the game with several of his friends from work.
Miyajima said he likes American football because it is dynamic. His favorite player is Patriots tight end Robert Gronkowski.
"He's strong. He's the best," Miyajima explained.
Meanwhile, Mary Wanjohi, an administrative specialist at Army Community Service, invited her friends Noriko Yoshida, Naoko Hashiguchi and Akihiro Hashiguchi to watch the game with her. They wore Tennessee Titans, Miami Dolphins, Dallas Cowboys and Kansas City Chiefs shirts, respectively, but cheered for the Rams.
Ultimately, however, the Patriots won out, 13-3, and Hill did a victory lap around the ballroom in celebration.
"Tom Brady is the GOAT," she said, the "greatest of all time."