Sometimes we do need to state the obvious

November, 30/2022 - 07:07
A great photograph emerged this week of the Japan dressing room, after the team had left. And yes, you’ve guessed it, spic and span.
Despite losing, many Japan supporters helped to clean up the stadium after the match. AFP Photo

Quang Minh Nguyen

This has been the World Cup of shocks. Saudi Arabia beating Argentina, Belgium losing to Morocco and Japan toppling Germany.

It all makes for great viewing for neutral supporters, but a minority of die-hard fans have overstepped the mark with their reactions.

Take Belgium for instance. A team sitting number two in FIFA rankings, but one you could argue have underwhelmed on the big stage.

Their recent loss to Morocco, a team ranked 20 places below them, should have been a moment to savour for the northern Africans.

But instead some of their supporters living in Belgium reacted in a way nobody wants to see anymore, harking back to the dark days of the 1990s when football hooliganism was the norm.

Supporters from Japan have built up a fabulous reputation, doing similar acts at both the last World Cup and the women’s tournament. But why?

The news outlet Al Jazeera spoke to a number of supporters after their historic win over Germany. One fan told them: "Our heart is clean, so the stands must be clean. This means the team reaches its destiny."

Another said: "What we're taught is that leaving things cleaner than the way you found it is atarimae. And that we should always express gratitude."

If you are wondering, atarimae roughly translates as 'stating the obvious'.

Another supporter added: "What we're taught is that leaving things cleaner than the way you found it is atarimae. And that we should always express gratitude."

Stating the obvious. It’s a simple philosophy really, and one maybe other fans should follow. Now I’m not suggesting every supporter of every team in the competition takes bin bags into the stadium before the game to make sure they don’t leave a mess, but rioting in the streets? After your side wins?

Come on, let’s state the obvious here, that’s just ridiculous.

It was also nice to see that this Japanese tendency is also evident within the squad of players and coaching staff.

A great photograph emerged this week of the Japan dressing room, after the team had left. And yes, you’ve guessed it, spic and span.

I get different cultures have different ways of behaving. But surely setting cars on fire and squaring up to police officers is a downright ludicrous way to act.

Or am I just stating the obvious?

Quang Minh Nguyen.

E-paper