Soccer Day

Some special guests came to the school today – JFA members. What is JFA? It stands for Japan Football Association日本サッカー協会. They came to school to promote the sport and had some games with the kids. They stayed for 2.5 hours . After that, students had lunch and went home so it’s a half day school. Because of that, my major duty today was just stand in the playground to watch soccer games and prepare my teaching material in the office after lunch.

 

Who’s the ringleader?

There came over 10 people, including 3 JFA members, by a truck. All the things necessary and not strictly necessary were provided such as 30 soccer balls, 5 goals of varying sizes for kids of different ages, tens of boxes of bottled water, a souvenir for every student and staff in the school, for free. There was also a professional photographer and it’s free too! If you do the Math, you will figure out how much it costs for just one morning – tens of thousands of yen! So, I kept wondering to why JFA would come to the school. Finally, I asked the principal and got the answer. There is a sponsor behind all these and it’s one of the largest beverage company in Japan, Kirin (麒麟), which is well known for their beer. If you drink beer, you should know this name as their beer is sold worldwide. It’s not anything new to hear a private commercial company partners with school or the government, but a beer company is the first time, at least for myself. The motive behind is pretty obvious: they wanna maintain a healthy image and most importantly, get the kids to know about their name so they will buy their beer when they grow up. Kids in schools are mostly immature and easily influenced and that’s a very good time to send them the message. Having a beer is fun, it’s about soccer, you can’t do without a beer while you watch soccer games!

Though such an event gives the students a break amid their humdrum everyday-pretty-much-the-same school life, I am totally sick of such a thing. Why would so many government schools (not private schools!) let them do such a thing on their campus after realizing the sponsor and their pre-requisites. What are they? Students (almost everyone actually)had to put on the vests printed ‘Kirin’ throughout the event. The company also gets a photographer to schools to take pictures and use them to make their brand cleaner and healthier. A beer company uses young kids, schools, and teachers to help them make profits. How disgusting it is!

I wonder if there has ever been any cigarette company hosting event of similar type in any school. Let me know if you have ever heard of any.

 

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