Published by the Christian Science Monitor, Oct. 29, 2014
Tokyo — Japanese baseball fans are some of the world’s most diehard. Cities across Japan, including Tokyo, now regularly slow down during the World Series in October to watch homegrown players hit and pitch in the United States. Last year Japanese watched Boston closer Koji Uehara, and this year Nori Aoki, who plays for Kansas City is hammering out hits. In all, 12 Japanese players have appeared in the MLB fall classic.
So with Tokyo hosting the Summer Olympics in 2020, Japan is already lobbying – hard – to have baseball restored to the Games. The sport was shut out of the 2012 London Olympics and won’t make an appearance in the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games in Brazil. Continue reading …
Selling hyoketsu, a lemony alcoholic beverage, in the stands at Jingu-Kyujo in Tokyo.
Oct 29, 2014
A day at a ballpark in Japan can be a lot like a day at any American ballpark.
There are the same familiar sounds: the crack of a wooden bat hitting a baseball. Umpire calls in loud and definitive tones. Cheers from the field after a good play, and the odd infielder yelling out what must be the Japanese equivalent of “I got it.”
The smell of beer being drunk in the warm sun. And all the same unhealthy choices to eat — hot dogs, cheeseburgers, sausages, french fries, and chicken nuggets. Continue reading →
Yomiuri Giants fan Risa Abe fist-pumps with a model figure outside the Tokyo Dome. (Hironobu Itabashi photo)
Oct. 3, 2014
It was warm and sunny today outside the Tokyo Dome, perfect baseball weather, and Kashikawa Kazumi sat in the sun waiting for the start of a Yomiuri Giants open practice game at their home field.
The 75-year-old played baseball in junior high and high school, is a loyal Giants fans, and can’t understand why there’s even a debate about whether to include baseball in the 2020 summer Olympics in Tokyo.
“I never understood it,” he said through a translator. “It’s a sport everyone really likes.”
Baseball has been a part of the Olympics since the 1904 summer games in St. Louis as an exhibition/demonstration sport, and became a medal sport in 1992.
But in 2005, the International Olympic Committee annual meeting voted baseball and softball out of the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, the first time the Olympics called out a sport since polo was eliminated from the 1936 Olympics. In 2009, the IOC again voted to exclude baseball in the 2016 Summer Olympics. Continue reading →