Even half a decade ago the scene would have been implausible – the coach of the reigning A-League champion perched high in the stands of Tokyo's ageing National Stadium enthusing about what he's learned from Japanese football.
While other coaches, not just in the A-League but indeed in many other nations, prefer to look to Europe for inspiration and education Rado Vidosic bucked the trend by spending the past 10 days in Japan – literally living with the staff from FC Tokyo.
Just as Kawasaki Frontale did to Central Coast Mariners three seasons prior, the footballing demolition that FC Tokyo issued to Brisbane in March made many realise just how high the J-League clubs have raised the bar in terms of technical proficiency and tactical acumen.
It was that performance – along with one he watched firsth and a week prior at the National Stadium during the Japanese Super Cup – that convinced Vidosic his first major task since taking over Roar should be to visit FC Tokyo and see what he could learn.
In these days of fawning adulation over all things European there remains a vast misunderstanding of not just the level that much of Asia is at – but more importantly, how it got there.
The Japanese situation bears perhaps closer scrutiny than any other; for barely two decades ago there was no football to speak of.
A corporate-backed league that would attract barely a handful of supporters and which was, by and large, unable to export more than a trickle of players to major clubs has today become the envy of the rest of Asia and is, in my opinion, one of the planet's top-five competitions.
While Vidosic doesn't totally discount the importance of Europe, it's a watershed moment for Australian football that he chose FC Tokyo as a model from which to observe and learn.
"I think Australia can learn a lot from Japan and they are obviously our closest opponents in the Champions League and World Cup qualifiers," he said.
"They are one the most advanced countries in Asia so to come here I wanted to learn more about their football and their mentality.
"There definitely needs to be more attention paid to Asia, I mean this is on our doorstep.
"It's much easier to scout players here and they've got fantastic youth development programs.
"I'm not saying we should ignore Europe, we found some of our best players in Europe, but we should definitely focus here as well.
"Adnan was fantastic for us, Song was great at Newcastle, likewise Byun, Hyuk-su Seo, Shin Tae-young. The list goes on and I think now we can start looking for younger players and open our door to them.
"I think it can be beneficial to everybody."
In FC Tokyo, and its enigmatic coach, Ranko Popovic, the two clubs may have found an ideal match.
Vidosic was allowed to film the Super Cup from inside the stadium as he scouted ahead of its ACL match – a rarity – and the two coaches were seen deep in discussion during Tokyo's stay in Brisbane.
Then, upon arrival in Japan last week, the club sent a staff member to collect Vidosic and Popovic invited him into his own home, taking him to local Japanese restaurants where he ate fish 'so fresh I think it was still alive' and learnt about Japanese life as well as football.
"I've been living with Ranko so it's been a 24-hour experience for me; they really allowed me to come into and be part of their club," Vidosic explained.
"I have viewed their training sessions and I had a number of meetings with the technical staff.
"I spoke with the assistant coaches and we did some analysis together and shared video files and some ideas.
"It's been a great experience from a coaching point of view and now if we can get some benefit in terms of exchanging players that will be even better."
Many A-League clubs have formal links with Asian sides but there has been little tangible benefit from these – Sydney and Shanghai certainly spring to mind – and so Vidosic is reluctant to enter any 'tie-ups' but rather wants to build links on a personal level that could benefit both Roar and the Gasmen down the track.
He also admitted that he had been seriously impressed by a number of FC Tokyo players including goalkeeper Shuichi Gonda, defender Masato Morishige and midfielder Aria Jasuru Hasegawa, but concedes that a move for any of that trio may be out of Brisbane's financial reach.
"I wouldn't mind sending some of our young players to train with them for a year and also taking some of their players maybe on loan or long-term," he said.
"I know they are much richer than what we are so maybe there's the potential that we can sell some players to them.
"Now we need to find a way between the two clubs."
Vidosic believes it will take at least 10 years to bridge the gap between the two countries but is confident it will happen.
"The way the Japanese clubs operate, the discipline the players have and obviously the technical ability is at another level," the first-year A-League head coach said.
"They have influences from all over the world; some clubs play in a typically Brazilian style or a certain European style and some have created their own way.
"I think with the current skills acquisition program led by Han Berger we can catch Japan but it will take a generation.
"“But for me to come and watch, observe and learn it's a great starting point and maybe a good final one, to be honest."
The question is will other A-League clubs follow Brisbane's lead?
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