Yoree Koh reported from Tokyo that Japan lifting the Women's World Cup was more than a sports win. Coming four months after the devastating March 11 earthquake and tsunami, and weeks of bungling by the nation's leaders in response, the title gives the struggling, weary country a tenacious national symbol to rally around.
"After all that they have been through, they have conveyed hopes and dreams to Japan," said Shigeki Sagami, the general manager of Fiori, a sports bar in Tokyo's Shinjuku neighborhood, which stayed open all night, like many around the country, so fans could watch the game that kicked off 3:45 am Japan time. Red-faced fans toasted the women with paper cups ceremoniously filled with wine, and wiped away tears.
"Lawmakers need to learn how to fight like Nadeshiko," said the 54-year-old manager, referring to the team's nickname, chosen after a pink flower seen in Japan to symbolize a combination of beauty and strength.
"Politicians always just lower their head and apologize when they make a mistake or something goes wrong perhaps in a way to protect only themselves. But Nadeshiko Japan kept on fighting. They didn't give up," said Sagami.