Superfan from Japan is one of a kind

Ellyde Roko

One anonymous Northwestern football fan takes the lyrics of the NU fight song to heart. Based in Tokyo, he is spreading the fame of our fair name around the world with his Web site, www.fareastwildcat.com.

A compilation of updates, stats and wacky graphics, the site has lyrics to the NU fight song, as well as those for every other Big Ten team. It has pictures from the 1949 Rose Bowl game and schedules through 2004.

The man behind it all, who is known only as Far East Wildcat, has been an NU football fan since birth.

“The year I was born was one of the team’s bad seasons,” said Far East, who graduated from NU in 1975. “They only had three wins that year.

“I’ve always been proud of the fact I was born on the day of one of their wins.”

Started in 1998, Far East’s site has attracted NU football fans from all corners of the globe. On occasion the site receives more than 1,000 hits a day during the football season.

“I love Far East Wildcat’s site,” said EuroCat, a Speech ’89 graduate living in Europe, in an e-mail. “It’s a way I keep up to date with the latest news about my favorite team. To think I can sit here halfway across the world from Evanston and read news compiled by a friend in Asia who is all the way on the other end of the world – it’s just unreal.”

Even those close to Evanston use the site for information and entertainment. One of those fans lives in Madison, Wis., and goes by the alias of GoUPurple.

“He definitely has the best Northwestern fan site on the web,” said GoUPurple, Weinberg ’92. “Far East has put a lot of time and effort into his site – and it shows.”

One of the site’s regular contributors, a fan only known as The Waterboy, played football at NU from 1971 through 1974. He found the site while surfing the Internet for information about NU athletics.

“A fan Web site helps real fans to network with other real fans,” said The Waterboy, who is an information technology consultant on the side. “This is just another ‘Hey, we’re a bunch of geeks and we deal with the Internet.'”

But Far East’s site offers more than just game scores going back to 1882 and daily notes about NU’s practices.

“I go (to the site) both for information and the visuals, but the visuals are probably my favorite part,” said Neil Rowe, president of the Northwestern Gridiron Network.

Far East said the ideas for graphics on the site just pop into his head.

“(Illinois) lends themselves to pumpkins because of their orange helmets,” he said.

Other graphics have running themes such as “Crouching Buckeye, Hidden Wildcat,” with a picture of an Ohio State player crouching underneath a Dasani box, and “The Exorcist,” directed by NU football coach Randy Walker.

“It’s been 30 years since we’ve beat the Buckeyes, so it’s like we have to exorcise the demon,” Far East said.

The Exorcist graphic took on a life of it’s own.

“I went into Let’s Tailgate (in Evanston),” Far East said. “They had printed the thing out and it was on their cash register.”

Since his job requires him to move around the world, Far East said he goes through reverse cultural shock each time he returns to the United States. In order to remain in touch, he latched onto NU football.

“He’s a very intellectual guy and a real nut like the rest of us when it comes to Northwestern football,” Rowe said. “We have normal adult lives, but we really like to follow Northwestern football.”

Through his site, Far East has made friends who are as dedicated to NU football as he is.

“I got to meet a wonderful couple down in Sydney who are really diehard Wildcat fans, so I sat with them at (the Alamo Bowl),” he said.

Most visitors to the site are anonymous.

“The anonymity makes it even more fun,” The Waterboy said.

Current students appreciate fans as dedicated as Far East and his crew.

“He’s definitely one of the most dedicated Northwestern fans,” said Aaron Ament, a Weinberg junior. “Fans like Far East Wildcat are putting time into the team and sticking with the team no matter what.”

Now that the football team is on the rise, players don’t have to worry about filling the stadium. But that does not mean players like junior guard Jeff Roehl fail to recognize the dedication of fans like Far East Wildcat.

“Some say the mark of greatness is crazy fans who love you, whether you win or lose,” he said.