In the early hours Saturday, about 30 people, many of them football enthusiasts, gathered after work at sports bar Rooney 2008 in Shibuya Ward, Tokyo, to watch the 2014 FIFA World Cup group draw ceremony on television.
In the latest FIFA rankings, all three countries Japan has been drawn to face in Group C are ranked higher than Japan, but they are not giants like Spain, which won the World Cup in 2012, so fans in the bar were excited at the prospect Japan may advance to the final rounds, saying things like, "We did it!" or "We can win!"
When Japan's position in the draw was determined shortly after 2 a.m., excited yells of "Yoshi!" (OK!) rang out in the bar.
Kentaro Kira, a 30-year-old company employee in Suginami Ward, Tokyo, came to the bar with three friends.
"The prospect for Japan to advance to the Round of 16 is better than last time. Maybe we will win all three group matches!" said Kira, who is planning to travel to watch the matches in Brazil.