Having looked back on 2002, it's now time to turn our attentions to 2003.
So here is my personal wish list for the new year. I have three wishes.
First, I hope that soccer continues to grow in Japan in 2003, and that the fans continue to support it.
Since the J.League kicked off in 1993, there have been a couple of crisis moments in terms of support from the public and from the corporate world.
The most serious of these was when the Yokohama Flugels merged with the Marinos at the end of the 1998 season, after one of the Flugels' two main sponsors withdrew.
Attendances were dropping dramatically at this time, too, but in the past couple of seasons they have bounced back.
Hopefully now, the J.League can look forward to stability, and fans will support the game because it has become part of society rather than because it is a trendy thing to do.
One J.League bubble has already burst, but the fan base is now more solid. Even with the World Cup long gone, I feel sure people will continue to watch J.League.
I also wish that Japanese players will continue to go abroad and improve themselves in the European leagues.
Naohiro Takahara is the latest Japanese export, and his move to Hamburg puts top-class Japanese players in three of Europe's four big leagues: Germany,England and Italy.
Even though J.League stars are leaving home, there seems to be many exciting young prospects coming through, so this should keep the fans interested.
My third wish is for the J.League itself to fall into line with the rest of the soccer world and switch to a one-stage league system for 2004.
Abolishing extra time and the golden goal for 2003 is a massive step forward as games will now end at 90 minutes with a draw and a point for each team.
This is how it works around the world, with extra time and golden goals deciding kncokout cup games rather than league games.
The J.League has admitted that extra time and golden goals are not part of the mainstream soccer world; well, neither is a two-stage system and playoffs.
It is unfair and inconsistent, and hopefully Jubilo's success in both stages in 2002 will encourage the J.League to think again at the end of next season.
So these are my three big wishes for the J.League in 2003: fans supporting the game for what it is; top players continuing to go abroad, and an end to the two-stage system.
I hope my three wishes come true.
And that yours do, too.
Happy new Year!