I wasn't planning on watching the World Cup this year, given the wokester garbage coming out of one of the FIFA officials, but well, I can't keep my eyes off of it.
If you haven't already heard, Japan routed mighty Germany in its first game of the match, 2-1, which was a huge victory and came as a surprise to everyone.
Yes, Japan has always had a decent national soccer team, but Germany is in the giants' league, nobody expected Japan to do that. Surprises like this make watching the matches fun.
But not everyone likes this stuff, and yeah, the point scoring tends to be low -- which is why Spain's 7-0 victory over powerful Costa Rica, also in Group E, along with Germany and Japan, got a lot of attention, too.
Now, these are multi-game matches, and anything can happen in the meantime; sometimes these wins are just flukes of luck.
One thing, however, did stand out at that Japan-Germany match that wasn't a fluke:
The Japanese fans, at a time when they might have been expected to celebrate wildly and obnoxiously, flinging drinks and blowing Vuvuzuelas, but instead calmly cleaned up after themselves after their celebration, leaving the stadium and the locker room cleaner than they found it.
What an amazing example of social capital, and what a beautiful reminder that leaves to the rest of the world about Japan and why it is just a little better than plenty of countries and cultures. Instead of expecting someone to clean up after them, as most fans do, leaving the job to poor immigrant workers, they cleaned up after themselves, spontaneously, and entirely on a voluntary basis, taking responsibility for the celebration they celebrated.
One fan on Twitter had an excellent observation about why this cleanup job from the Japanese fans and players was so resonant:
No kidding. Instead of teaching kids to be grievance-group victims and look for wedges from which to seize power, Japanese kids are taught to clean up after themselves, leaving all places better than they found them. It's a humble, yet empowering act, spontaneously done, that reflects so beautifully on the entire nation of Japan.
Others observed that the Japanese do this all the time -- Koreans, too, which P.J. O'Rourke described in one of his books, (rioters cleaning up after their own riot). My own observation is that this is not a full pan-Asian phenomenon, just the cultural capital of some special places in the Far East. Based on what I observed in state-oppressive China, where I have spent time, people litter with amazing insouciance because they have no sense of ownership the way the Japanese do. But we can see this social capital in places like Indonesia -- where citizens take it on themselves to lead rescue and cleanup operations after an earthquake -- read this New York Times story here --- and in New Zealand, South Korea, and above all, Japan.
It's a thing of beauty, known as omoiyari in Japan, or, the thoughtful consideration of others, and all it does is make more people root for Japan as its team progresses in the World Cup.
I know who I'm rooting for.
Asian countries in this World Cup 💪 pic.twitter.com/5WWCs2RdS4