Inori Kato from Japan
Once around the world
Inori Kato saved for a year in order to be able to see VfL Wolfsburg live.
Since Makoto Hasebe signed for VfL Wolfsburg in 2008, it has not been unusual to see his fellow country-folk from Japan at the club’s training ground. Armed with a camera and a smile, there was one particular fan who could be spotted at sessions between March and April. Inori Kato is VfL fan, lives in Japan and made the trip to Wolfsburg to spend a month as close as possible to the Green-Whites.
It was a dream comes true for Inori Kato. A fan of VfL since 2008, she finally got to see her heroes in the flesh and grab the odd autograph. For over a year she saved up her money and holidays to make the trip to Germany: “I wanted to experience the atmosphere in the stadium for myself. It looked wonderful on television but in real life it’s really breath-taking.” In order to get really into the mood, the 21 year old had a friend organize the VfL fan chants for her. Using her i-Pod, she used every possible minute to practice “Grün-Weiß VfL” and “Immer nur du”.
More than a Hasebe fan
Inori Kato first became aware of VfL with the signing of Makoto Hasebe: “Then there was the title win in 2009 – that made the whole thing even stronger,” explained the young Japanese fan who has since become an avid supporter. She has taken the whole issue to heart – with bag, mobile phone cover and ever her finger nails in Green-White. On her jersey though, she does not sport the name Hasebe, but rather her own: Inori. “I am a fan of VfL, not just Makoto Hasebe.”
The Japanese youngster is football crazy! She watches almost every game live on television and has the time to do so, with most VfL games being broadcast in Japan late at night: “I watch other games too, for example from AS Roma. Even there, there is a connection to VfL, with ex-Green-White Simon Kjaer now at home in Rome. On her trip to Europe, Inori watched over ten games – the highlight of course being those from the ‘Wolves’. Whether at home against Dortmund or away in Berlin, Inori was there! Other top games on her visit were a trip to Rome (to see Simon Kjaer), Augsburg (for Koo Ja-Cheol), to see Schalke in Gelsenkirchen (Europa League versus Bilbao) and also to Bremen.
And Inori has already begun planning her next trip to Germany: “I will either visit Wolfsburg in December, to soak in the Christmas atmosphere, or I’ll return next summer”