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Saturday, June 21, 2014

Japan not so impressive .... but their fans steal the show - FIFA Brazil

After office moving to Karapakkam, I use MRTS – often when there is not much crowd (on rare occasions) one would find some sleeping on the seats, denying others a chance to sit….it is a common sight to see people ontrain (be it MRTS or others) stretch their legs and put them on the otherside, where commuters have to sit … upon seeing somebody they would take off their legs without guilt – no matter whether the seat is dirtied or …

Japan is one of the most successful football teams in Asia, having qualified for the last five consecutive FIFA World Cups with second round advancements in 2002 & 2010, and having won the AFC Asian Cup a record four times. The Japanese team is commonly known by the fans and media as Soccer Nippon Daihyō- though  the team does not have an official nickname  often it is referred with addition of team manager – it is also nicknamed as "Samurai Blue".


At Brazil, 2 goals in two second-half minutes saw the Ivory Coast come from behind and beat Japan 2-1 in a dramatic World Cup Group C encounter; later the match against Greece was rather uninspiring match ending goalless draw – leaving all disappointed.  The Greek skipper was sent off with a red card; Japan  had most of the chances yet failed to convert them. They failed to break down Greece even after the latter was reduced to 10 men.

The players and coach may not have won accolades – but the fans certainly have…. For what the team did on field – remaining clean.  Media is agog with reports praising the way  stands of the stadium and its bathroom were left  unblemished.  Japan coach Alberto Zaccheroni feels his side need to go back to basics if they are to stand any chance of keeping their FIFA World Cup  dream alive; but it turns out that Japanese football fans have a tradition of cleaning up the stadium after matches at home, a practice which the fans vigorously undertook  in Brazil.

The World Cup is an opportunity to learn from different cultures and the national team. In Japan it is considered appropriate to clean up after yourself at public events such as concerts, sporting events, and festivals. Some even take the trash home if there is no place to dispose of it on the spot. Moreover, it is common after eating in a restaurant, to clean your table, leaving it the way you found it. After the match ended in a goalless draw,  Japanese fans were shown cleaning all the trash that was left on the stadium.  Newspaper reports quote business consultant Kenji Yoshida, who lives in Los Angeles as saying  - “It's our tradition. Living without waste is much better,”  He and his wife Haruko Yoshida were among the approximately 15,000 Japanese who rocked the Arena das Dunas with shouts of “Nippon!” meaning Japan, in their native language. After the loss the fans were seen cleaning up the mess. 

Though it was not highlighted much then, it is stated that even after the Samurai Blues lost their opening match in the Pernambuco Arena to Côte d'Ivoire, Japanese fans stayed after the match to clean up the empty stadium. “We have started this tradition a few games ago or a few World Cups ago. We try to do little bit of clean-up to show respect to the host country and just, you know, show off how clean things are in Japan. And we like to make it so here, too,” Japanese football fan Kei Kawai told NPR. Kawai added, “we are all told in school that we clean up our things and when we come somewhere, we just clean up even better than when we come in.”

Brazilians, the host nation seems amazed, “This is fantastic. A great example for us Brazilians,” one fan told the local news outlet, while in social networks people have been calling Japanese fans the “most respectful” and “best fans at the World Cup.” …. This found mention on the social media by Subramania Swami too, who concluded – ‘Let's have vision of Clean India, we must be passionate about a clean India’.

Before we blame the Society, let us pledge not to do such acts in public ... let us never place our leg on where others are supposed to sit ... let us dream about clean India...

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

21st June 2014.

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