I am waiting outside an Ebisu sports bar with a very specific cohort of people. If you made a Venn diagram of Fatboy Slim fans and soccer fans in Japan, you would get this excited group.
The bar is hosting an event to watch the Brighton & Hove Albion (Albion) versus Liverpool game alongside the creator of dance music hits such as "Praise You" and "The Rockafeller Skank" (both from the DJ's breakout album, "You've Come a Long Way, Baby," which celebrates its 25th anniversary this year). Fatboy Slim, whose real name is Norman Cook, is a long-time Albion fan and has been a part-owner of the club since 2002. Thanks to the team’s promotion to the Premier League last season, the Brighton native can watch matches wherever he is in the world, and since the club has fans across the globe, he’s meeting local supporters here tonight.
One fan shows me his T-shirt from the Fatboy Slim 2002 Japan tour. “I’ve been to see him every time he’s come,” he says proudly before pulling on a panda mask with a flourish. The musician is in town as part of his Fatboy Slim Loves Japan tour, performing two nights in Tokyo and one in Kyoto.