Demonstrating that last year’s victory in the World Cup was not a fluke, the Japanese women’s soccer team, Nadeshiko Japan, defeated the U.S. 1-0 in a match at the Algarve Cup in Portugal. Considering that last year’s final was decided by penalty kicks, yesterday’s victory was the first time Nadeshiko Japan had outscored a U.S. team, having had up to yesterday a record of 4 ties and 21 losses in head-to-head competitions.
It is hard to overemphasize the importance the continued brilliance of Nadeshiko Japan has had on raising the spirits of the people -- not only because the men’s team, the Samurai Blue, play The Most Boring Soccer In The World ™. The World Cup victory last year was a first ray of light into the psychological and physical dark passage the country was lost in following not just the triple disaster of 3/11 but all the other longer-term failures – the lost promise of the 2009 change in governments, the half-cocked sudden stop of Koizumiism and the 1990s collapse of the economic-social-political system. It was not inappropriate or opportunistic for Prime Minister Kan Naoto to award the entire Nadeshiko Japan team the People's Honor Award (a awful lot of medals to be handing out at one time).
So to whomever it was that Kumagai Saki was looking up to on July 18 of last year, thank you again.
Photo image of nadeshiko (Dianthus superbus) courtesy Ayuko0106. Common usage license.