Gold soccer ball made to spark tourney buzz

JIJI

A department store in central Tokyo has put a gold soccer ball on display to help build excitement for the FIFA World Cup now on in Brazil.

The 3-kg ball was put on display starting Thursday to draw attention to a gold campaign at Takashimaya Co.’s Nihonbashi store in Chuo Ward. Measuring 22 cm in diameter, it is priced at ¥42.88 million.

“We hope the gold ball will help spur consumption at a time when people are excited” over the soccer tournament, a Takashimaya spokesman said. The special exhibition on the store’s eighth floor will run through Monday.

Other major companies also launched World Cup-related events Thursday.

McDonald’s Co. (Japan) started selling the Japan Burger, available only during the World Cup, at one of its outlets in Shibuya Ward, Tokyo, ahead of its other restaurants. By noon Thursday, some 100 people had lined up for the burger, which features a minced beef cutlet topped with a special sauce made with six vegetables and fruits.

A 32-year-old employee at the burger chain said he bought one to help bring good luck to Japan’s team.

“I’m pinning my hopes on the members of the national squad who are from the same generation,” he said.

The Japan Burger debuted at three other Shibuya outlets the same day and will go on sale nationwide next Wednesday.

Kirin Brewery Co. also staged a World Cup event in Shibuya, with former national team member Hiroshi Nanami on hand to support the Japanese squad.

“I hope the team will win through the tournament and perform a miracle,” he said.

Major advertising agency Dentsu Inc. celebrated the start of the soccer tournament with a message made up of window blinds displayed across one entire wall of its head office in Minato Ward, Tokyo. The message reads the World Cup “is now opening.”

The company plans to display different messages each day during the monthlong tournament to cheer for the Japanese team.

In the group stage, the team faces Cote d’Ivoire on Sunday (Japan time), Greece next Friday and Colombia on June 25.