Japan defeated Colombia in their first World Cup group stage match today—an upset aided by the fact that Colombia played with only ten men for all but three minutes of the game.
Sure, you could say that was the main advantage they held. But for anyone paying close attention, the real reason behind their victory today is clearly Ippei-kun, the magical, poetic frog mascot from Ehime Prefecture.
Ippei-kun is in Russia for the World Cup and is tweeting through it. When most people tweet through it, it's just a bunch of bullshit. But this is no ordinary, uh, thing tweeting through it. It's quite clear that there is a golden thread spinning in Ippei-kun's head at all times. Maybe there's something lost in translation from these tweets—admittedly, my Japanese is non-existent—but there's also the very possible chance that these translations (via Twitter's Microsoft-based translations) mean exactly what they're saying. Take a look:
A distant place near by.
It's heaven. No, WC stadium
Wow. Right off the bat, Ippei-kun is going deep, negotiating the differences between what was once an imagining of a distant place, and the reality of seeing it up close and personal. The dissonance between those two spaces and times in our brains makes up a kind of hazy dream, like heaven. (I totally get you, Ippei-kun.) But wait! Heaven is actually a World Cup stadium. This frog fucking loves soccer.
Something that Ippei-kun has a mastery over—compared to most frog mascots—is his grasp on mortality. Specifically, he is aware of the crushing gravities of the universe, and their weight upon him:
Move around, "be small! Konozama is said to kill me!
Konozama is apparently a reference to not having your goods shipped to you fast enough from Amazon? This shiny object clearly made him think of objecthood and his life's tethering to materialism in the modern world. Jesus, this frog is a genius.
On more ponderings of life:
Move, and move, also move.
What's alive? Are you alive?
What really is alive? Is something alive only if it moves? Tell me, please, Ippei-kun. It's fucking gnawing at my soul.
Then there are his observances of nature:
Yesterday midnight sun The → flow of this morning
I'm sure it's unsettling to be that far up north, where days are interminable, and the transitions between days is unsettling. Frog, you will find your way through life. He even used the same photo to come up with another thought about midnight suns:
I'm lying on the grass and looking up. It's just that. It's 22 o'clock, but it's still bright.
Yes the Midnight sun. Happy.
I think this is good because it is a frog. Oh, it feels good, it feels good .
Wow. Just, wow.
He also struggles with a very human case of anxiety:
Anxiety is driving me crazy.
While staring at his reflection nonetheless. And then the weight of all that anxiety bore down on him too much:
Ah 、、、 anxiety, anxiety, anxiety and sigh... Anxiety and anxiety and anxiety and anxiety and
But don't worry. He won't succumb to the sadness. Ippei-kun is also apparently capable of working blue:
I can hear cheers in the toilet. Did you decide, Nathan?
Gosh, I really hope for everyone's sake that Nathan decided. No one has walked away with the trophy just yet, but Ippei-kun has certainly already won poet laureate of the World Cup. What a frog.