Victory against Germany: Japanese fans clean up the stadium – and the team clean up the dressing room

While the start of the World Cup was more than unfortunate for Germany, the Japanese were able to celebrate a "historic victory", as the international media dubbed the start of the "Samurai Blue" tournament.

Victory against Germany: Japanese fans clean up the stadium – and the team clean up the dressing room

While the start of the World Cup was more than unfortunate for Germany, the Japanese were able to celebrate a "historic victory", as the international media dubbed the start of the "Samurai Blue" tournament. But before the fans celebrated the victory, they cleaned up the Khalifa International Stadium in Qatar.

In pictures circulating on social media, Japanese viewers can be seen packing food wrappers, empty bottles and cups into blue garbage bags. They meticulously cleaned the venue – and not for the first time. Similar scenes were seen at the World Cup in Russia after a 3-2 defeat by Belgium in the round of 16. The Japanese also cleaned up the garbage at the start of the tournament this year. After a game in which her own team was not even involved. Ecuador and Qatar were in the opening game.

Back at the 2018 tournament, Scott North, a professor of sociology at Osaka University, told the BBC that for the Japanese, cleaning up means "showing pride in their way of life". Cleanliness is considered an important part of Japanese culture that people learn from an early age. "Cleaning up after football games is an extension of the basic behaviors taught in school, where children clean their classrooms and hallways," the expert said.

The fans from Japan have often received exuberant praise for their exemplary behavior. What looks like an extraordinary action for many nations is simply everyday life for the Japanese. The British "Express" quotes the fans as saying: "Japanese never leave garbage. We respect the place." For this purpose, they are often even supposed to bring their own garbage bags to the games.

Not only the fans tried to leave the stadium tidy, but also the team itself. They left the changing rooms in the stadium sparkling clean. The towels folded and stacked, the rest of the food lined up on the table in the middle. Players even left a thank-you note in Japanese and Arabic, along with intricately folded origami birds.

Sources: BBC, "Eurosport", "Express"

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