As the United States stood disconsolately on the field after its shocking defeat in the 2011 Women's World Cup final, one Japanese player broke away from her own team's joyous celebrations.
Aya Miyama sought out every American player she could find and hugged them, while her teammates rushed over to the sidelines before parading around the field carrying a giant banner.
Miyama had every reason in the world to be wrapped up in her own emotions, with her nation having won the tournament for the first time, while paying tribute to the victims of the devastating earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster that struck north-east Japan four months earlier (hence the touching banner that thanked worldwide fans for their support).
Yet, she could not ignore the Americans, some of whom stood, some crouched, some simply slumped on the field in Frankfurt's Commerzbank Arena, unable to comprehend how victory had been snatched from them by Japan's dramatic late comeback and subsequent penalty shootout triumph.
Miyama sought out U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo, a friend with whom she had exchanged emails before the game. The pair chatted and Miyama offered words of consolation, before Solo urged her to go off and enjoy the moment.
"She wanted to show the Americans respect because she knew how much it hurt us," Solo told David Letterman after returning home. "I had to tell her, 'Aya, you won the World Cup, the first time in your nation's history, celebrate please.'"
But first Miyama went around the U.S. group, giving kind words. There was a squeeze of the shoulder for Christie Rampone. A hug for Megan Rapinoe. A smile and whispered tribute for Heather O'Reilly.
"It is important to understand the feelings of another person or another football player," the 30-year-old said. "We are all football players and everybody wants to win, but it is only possible for one team to achieve that. You must have respect for them and their effort. This is what I love about the game of football."
- USA today Sports:
Meet the USA's best friend and biggest threat on Japanese World Cup team
Yamato Nadeshiko es una expresión japonesa que hace referencia a la “personificación de la mujer japonesa ideal”, o al “epitome de la pureza y belleza femenina”. La expresión es una metáfora floral; Yamato, es el antiguo nombre de Japón, y Nadeshiko, es una especie de clavel cuyo nombre científico es Dianthus superbus.
I’ve made vector versions of my family’s kamon (family crests). The left one is Takanoha and the right one is Nadeshiko.
I’m still researching their meanings and their ties to my family. I’ve had one conversation with my grandmother about them, but it was a few years ago now and it was less historical information and more a conversation with my grandma.
There’s a small amount of stuff online in English, mostly from other descendants of Japanese immigrants like me. This is really special to find because in New Zealand it’s pretty uncommon to be ¼ Japanese. In fact, other than my cousins I’ve met one other family that has a similar lineage. There’s something quite cool about finding out there are more sansei in the world (and that sansei is even a word).
Like anyone else that comes from a mix of cultures it’s always going to be difficult to find a balance. I live a very kiwi life, and I feel like a part of me is locked away somewhere I won’t ever find it. And if I do find it, I’ll never understand it properly, not like if I was proper Japanese.
These crests come to symbolise more than just family lineage to me. There is a hope here, that by connecting with these images that I will be able to connect with this part of myself. Perhaps I don’t have to stay on the periphery of understanding, and that learning about these kinds of things is a part of a journey I’m on.
My local printer is now able to do fabric printing. I want to make this up as a pattern, get it printed as fabric and then get it made into something, or a few somethings. Not entirely sure yet.