Monday, May 27, 2013

Kamikaze Baseball in Kyoto, Japan

During World War II Kamikaze Piloting was introduced to the Japanese by military planners as the world’s first “extreme sport,” but for unknown reasons, its small group of loyal enthusiasts often met with an early demise, thus when baseball was popularized during US rebuilding efforts, it caught on rather quickly, giving America a huge assist in Japan having the world's longest life expectancy of any country.

While riding my bike around the Imperial Palace of Kyoto, I came across a group of college students taking infield practice at a nearby dusty diamond.
Japanese baseball buddies
Dressed in about the nicest clothes I had taken with me, not having taken a ground ball in years, I naturally volunteered to play. Surprised, one of them tossed the guy in the blue button up shirt a glove, and watched him trot out to the shortstop position.
POV view of taking groundballs in Japan

They speak little English (one of the surprising things about Japan) but when I make a high velocity throw to first they chant in unison, “pitcher, pitcher, pitcher.” I play with them for about a half hour before we break and get together to talk and take pitchers … er, I mean pictures.

Team and I posing for pictures

I find them friendly, and grateful that I took the chance and played with them. They say they are a team, and from practicing with them for the brief amount of time I did, I can definitively tell you not to expect to see them hoisting a tournament trophy over their heads any time. However, I refrain from suggesting they switch over to kamikaze piloting, they are far too nice. 
Thanks guys!

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