If the cherry blossom is Japan’s unofficial national flower, then it should be no surprise that pink is Japan’s de facto favorite color. Yet I still have a hard time with this national obsession with the color pink.

Just as I was easing out of a particularly pink-laden cherry blossom season, the color seemed to start putting on airs by plastering its tint onto traditionally non-pink things, such as soccer goalie uniforms. While I watched the FIFA World Cup Asian qualifier (Japan vs. Australia), my vision was periodically interrupted by my subconscious jumping up and down inside my brain saying, “Wow, look at Eiji Kawashima’s bright pink uniform! Ugh!” I tried not to let it bother me, but still, it was distracting: the hot pink shirt, hot pink shorts and hot pink socks. I dare say that even the ball is afraid to get near someone looking like that.

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