The Japanese fans let themselves wallow in the disappointment of their team’s 1-0 loss to Costa Rica after having just spent hours chanting and applauding under a scorching midday sun. However, they can take heart from knowing that Japan was not the only country at this World Cup playing with its head held high.
But they quickly shifted gears and got to work packing their gear and cleaning up after themselves—a habit that has become a trademark for Japan at this World Cup.
They cleaned up the mess as soon as the final horn sounded and spectators began to exit the stadium. It didn’t matter what it was or who had left it behind, such as half-empty Coke bottles, orange peels, or filthy napkins. As they left, the soccer fans shuffled the trash across the aisles into bags and handed them to the grateful staff.
The moment, though, was brief, as the blue garbage bags soon appeared. At Ahmed bin Ali Stadium, a group of Japanese fans who had been deliriously singing for their team moments earlier began cleaning the stands by gathering trash left all over the rows of seats close to them. This was the return of a post-game custom that had everyone at the World Cup.
There are many great things about being a soccer fan. One of those is that it brings people from all corners of the world together to celebrate their love for the game. Another great thing about being a soccer fan is the sense of community and camaraderie that comes with it.
Fans get excited when their team scores and feel sadness or disappointment when their team loses. But one unfortunate downside to being a soccer fan is cleaning up after everyone else.
In 2022, Qatar is the host country for the FIFA World Cup. Despite enjoying wall-to-wall support during games played in stadiums, supporters were just as likely (if not more so) to be seen cleaning up after themselves immediately following matches.
While some supporters will be cheering their country on from stadiums or living rooms around the globe, others have taken their support one step further by creating “cheer bags.” These cheer bags are large sacks filled with homemade banners, flags of various sizes, whistles, noise makers, and other assorted goodies meant to help create a festive atmosphere during matches.
Spectators use all sorts of chants and songs to cheer on their favored team or player (or yell loudly). Some of these cheers are pretty common such as “I Believe That We Will Win!” while others are specific to certain countries or regions (like Mexican supporters chanting “El Tri”). No matter what type of chant you may be using, world cup cheer makes everyone feel like they’re a part of something bigger than themselves!
This wasn’t limited to home soil; when Japan traveled abroad for games in South Korea and Europe, its traveling fan base ensured that any litter or leftover food was properly disposed of – leaving those stadium surroundings spick-and-span!
Japanese fan support has been so impressive that it has also caught the attention of other countries.
Unlike many countries where fans leave mountains of trash after major sporting events, spectators in Japan embraced the idea of cleaning up after themselves. However, any celebration was short-lived as these same Japanese fans quickly cleaned up the mess left behind by others.
In a heartwarming display of sportsmanship and good manners, they took it upon themselves to tidy up the stands – even going so far as to pick up trash off the ground! This selfless act has won them widespread admiration on social media, with many people hailing them as true role models.
“It’s a sign of respect for a place,” said Eiji Hattori, a 32-year-old Tokyo-based fan hauling a bag full of empty bottles, ticket stubs, and other stadium debris. “This place is not ours, so we should clean up if we use it. And if it is not our garbage, it’s still dirty, so we should clean it up.”
Amidst all the cheering and chanting, however, there was one other clear message: picking up trash. As spectators quickly emptied their cups and gathered their garbage to take it with them, commentators on social media noted it.
It was heartwarming to see so many people taking pride in keeping their surroundings clean – especially after such an intense match. This isn’t new behavior for Japan; throughout this World Cup tournament, they’ve been setting an example for other nations by consistently cleaning up after themselves no matter what game or venue they were playing in.
“For Japanese people, this is just a normal thing to do,” said Hajime Moriyasu, the Japanese team’s coach. “When you leave a place, you have to leave it cleaner than before.”
After their big victory against Germany in the World Cup soccer match, Japanese fans took it upon themselves to clean up the stadium. Videos and pictures of their cleaning efforts have gone viral on social media. This “cheerful” act has caught the attention of others as well – The Japanese team’s locker room was remarkably spotless when FIFA recently posted a photo of it following their victory.
Following the Japanese example, other team supporters have also begun cleaning up after games.