June 16 - A seemingly futuristic sport of bubble soccer has just crowned a new king in Japan. Jeanne Yurman reports.
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While the World Cup may be drawing mass attention from around the world, there's another championship in Japan that has fans riveted...bubble soccer.
Like its traditional counterpart two teams duke it out to score goals.
But in this other-worldly version of the game, originally created in Norway, stealing or heading the ball is a bit more tricky.
And all players are essentially the same size.
This levels the playing field, so to speak, says bubble soccer organizer, Makoto Kawakami.
(SOUNDBITE) (Japanese) BUBBLE SOCCER ORGANIZER OF ECOLOVE CO, MAKOTO KAWAKAMI, SAYING:
"Rather than soccer this is actually closer to American-style football. It evens out the women's and men's soccer skill level so it is something that women enjoy just as much as the men."
After battling for two months in Bubble Cup matches in Tokyo, eight teams of these spherical competitors were left to vie for title of "Bubble King".
Takashi Kuwano is team leader of the quintet that took home the crown.
(SOUNDBITE) (Japanese) 37-YEAR-OLD, TAKASHI KUWANO, SAYING:
"Amazing. I'll take on any challenges."
And while it may not match World Cup figures, the winning team also took home 70,000 yen or nearly $700 U.S. dollars in prize money.
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