Just Happy To Be Here
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Throughout the World Cup, Japan has been giddy over the (marginal) success of its football team, the 'Samurai Blue'. In part this is due to near-zero expectations resulting from the team's abysmal circuit of pre-tournament friendlies, during which it managed to lose to everyone it played save Hong Kong and Bahrain, but in part it results from the subconscious belief on the part of many (most?) Japanese that Asians cannot compete with non-Asians in athletic activity that does not involve pre-teenage girls performing triple somersaults. Complete rubbish, of course, especially on the football pitch, but there you have it.
Japanese players were welcomed home yesterday by enthusiastic fans and an even more admiring media, and the atmosphere at the post-arrival press conference might have confused some into thinking Japan had won the World Cup. A sharp contrast to the receptions that met the French and English teams after their elimination from the tournament.
As Crash Davis would have said, "I'm just happy to be here."