BRAZIL BEAT: Japan fans wave blue garbage bags

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A fan with the colors of the Japanese flag painted on his face reacts as he looks at a smartphone photo before the group C World Cup soccer match between Japan and Colombia at the Arena Pantanal in Cuiaba, Brazil, Tuesday, June 24, 2014. (AP Photo/Dolores Ochoa)

A fan with the colors of the Japanese flag painted on his face reacts as he looks at a smartphone photo before the group C World Cup soccer match between Japan and Colombia at the Arena Pantanal in Cuiaba, Brazil, Tuesday, June 24, 2014. (AP Photo/Dolores Ochoa)

CUIABA, Brazil (AP) — Forget banners. Many Japanese fans were waving bright blue garbage bags at the group stage finale against Colombia.

The Japanese have touched spectators around the world by cleaning up their trash after every match at the World Cup.

Japan fan Mikio Tomita was brandishing a trash bag signed by his work colleagues back home and bearing the message: “Go for it!”

For the first time at this year’s tournament, the fans of Japan’s Blue Samurai were outnumbered by the opposition — with Cuiaba’s Pantanel Stadium a sea of the yellow and red of Brazil’s neighbor, Columbia. But they were as spirited as ever — dressed as enormous eggs, Daruma good luck-charm dolls and shaggy-bearded shamans.

— By Joji Sakurai

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