Hey, welcome! Yeah it was almost the same for me. I was lucky enough to play File 1 for a few weeks before it closed. I wasn't able to play File 2 online at all. Soooo, most of the last decade, I've spent playing this game alone.
A good place to start is here: http://www.obsrv.org/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=545
That link gives a good overview of what it takes to get connected, and provides helpful links. And you can either use your PS2 OR an emulator. An emulator is a bit more work, but if you're like me, and don't have a Japanese PS2 with a network adapter, it's probably the way to go, otherwise you'd have to purchase one. Good luck, hope to see you on!