WIT Life is a periodic series written by professional Writer/Interpreter/Translator Stacy Smith (Kumamoto-ken CIR, 2000-03). She starts her day by watching Fujisankei’s newscast in Japanese, and here she shares some of the interesting tidbits and trends together with her own observations.
The first focuses on Yankees pitcher Hiroki Kuroda, who shares his story of how abusive treatment at the hands of coaches and teammates while growing up in Japan molded him into the player he is today. I had heard about things like getting hit on the backside with bats (ketsu batto) and some of the other torturous treatment coaches inflict on their players from Japanese friends of mine who played baseball as youngsters, but I didn’t know the extent of some of the abuse. What Kuroda had to endure would surely be prosecutable today, but at the time it was tacitly endorsed, even by his mother.
Another article in today’s sports section talks about Yokohama BayStars outfielder Alex Ramirez (aka “Rami-chan”) and his recent attaininment of 2000 career hits. He achieved this feat in combination with his record from his time in Major League Baseball, before going to Japan in 2001. However, with only 86 hits left to achieve 2000 hits in Japan alone, it is expected that he will be able to reach this goal during the BayStars remaining 75 games.
It will be interesting to see how Japan handles Rami-chan’s prospective entry into the Meikyukai (Golden Players Club), a society of Japan’s elite players. As 2000 hits is one of the criteria for admittance, he will likely become the first Westerner to be accepted. Check out Rami-chan’s tips for foreign baseball players in Japan! On a related note, here are 46 things that surprise foreigners when they come to Japan (日本語で）. I would have to say I agree with #40, being amazed at the variety of Kit Kat flavors…