Their national team may have lost their World Cup game against Ivory Coast yesterday morning, but Japanese fans didn’t forget their manners, it would seem.
Like all good kids who remember to say thank you to their friend’s mother after playing at their home, Japan’s passionate football fans reportedly grabbed refuse bags and cleaned up after themselves before leaving the stadium following their team’s match against the African side.
During my first winter in Japan, I went up to Sapporo with some friends to check out the Snow Festival that I’d read so much about. As I was walking along taking in the spectacular ice sculptures with my fellow sightseers, the woman just in front of me suddenly stopped dead, making me almost trip over her son, who can’t have been more than three years old and barely came up to my waist. The woman apologised, then quickly squatted down to pick something up off the snow-covered ground.
Thinking that her little boy must have dropped something – a handkerchief or cherished toy, perhaps – I peered around him to see if I could help. It was then that I realised his mother was crouching down to pick up two ketchup-slathered french fries that had fallen out of the paper cone she was carrying.
She then produced a tissue from her pocket, wrapped the soggy snacks up, and stuffed them in her bag before whispering a quick sumimasen (excuse me) to me and leading her son off in the direction of an ice sculpture carved into the shape of Doraemon.
It was at that moment that I realised how incredibly considerate people in Japan are when it comes to cleaning up after themselves. If it had been me, poor excuse for a civilised being that I am, I’d have probably mourned the loss of my food but resolved that a) we were at an outdoor festival, so a bit of spilled food is to be expected and b) it was only two little fries, and left them in the snow. But here, in the middle of a crowded festival, was a women stopping human traffic to rescue two fallen slivers of potato.
But cleaning up after themselves is one of the things Japanese people do best. During hanami season, for example, thousands of people descend on public parks to eat, drink and have fun. Rarely are dedicated refuse buns provided for revellers to use, but equally rare is it to find any mess left behind at the end of the day since people also taking along rubbish bags to carry their waste home in.
It would seem that fans of Japan’s national football team have remembered their manners despite being thousands of miles from home, as this same hanami spirit was seen at the World Cup stadium in Brazil yesterday.
Shared by Twitter user World Cup Problems, these photos of Japanese fans cleaning up after themselves have since gone viral, with people all over the world applauding them for their behaviour.
Well, that and for their awesome costumes.
We’re sure there were plenty of Ivory Coast supporters who were just as considerate and ensured that they left their section of the stadium as clean as they found it, but these Japanese fans really are an example to us all. Wouldn’t it be great it every fan – regardless of whether their team wins or loses – took the time to clean up after themselves when the game is over?