Yomiuri Giants pitchers Koji Uehara and Hiroshi Kisanuki went and visited sick kids in Kanagawa today, dressed as Uehara Claus and Roshi the Red-Nosed Reliever. Okay, I'm making those nicknames up, but still. I'm sure the kids were very happy to meet them.
(This is on the heels of yesterday how several members of the Softbank Hawks went to visit hospitals in Saitama. Seven players in total went, including current Hawks such as Munenori Kawasaki, and former Hawks such as... Tadahito Iguchi.)
The Hanshin Tigers have really acquired Lew Ford. It's on their official site now. I've always liked Lew so I hope he does well, even though I'm not a particular Hanshin fan or anything.
Kazuhito Tadano is going to wear Satoru Kanemura's old #16 for the Fighters. That can't be good.
In the depressing news, Yu Hanai, a former outfielder for the Nishitetsu Lions and broadcaster for Asahi, died today of some complication from blood poisoning (I think). He was from Gifu, was a star at Koshien in the late 1940's, went to Keio University and then played for Nishitetsu during their glory days when they were winning pennants left and right. He was a teammate of the legendary Kazuhisa Inao, who just died last month. How very sad. Hanai was 75 years old.
Sigh. Kazuo Fukumori signs with Texas for two years, this being on the heels of them non-tendering Akinori Otsuka. Back when I was doing Japanese player blog translations for a while I would often pick on Fukumori's blog to translate because he always cracked me up. Like talking about Ryan Howard's nose and hanging out with the MLB guys during Nichi-Bei. Either way, I am sad. I really like Fukumori and I will miss seeing him play with Rakuten next year. I also wonder what will happen to Otsuka, since I like him a lot too. (Getting to meet him for a few seconds during BP earlier this year was one of my favorite pregames ever.)
I really want to talk about Hawks closer Takahiro Mahara for a bit. I hadn't really mentioned it here, but I developed a gigantic crush on Mahara this year. It's always the Hawks pitchers, I swear. Anyway, Mahara continued the trend of baseball players marrying former female broadcasters when he recently married Yuriko Hatano, who was an announcer on TV Nishinippon. Hatano apparently went to Waseda and was a classmate of Tsuyoshi Wada. She and Mahara are both from Kumamoto originally. Anyway, the other exciting thing is that Mahara apparently is making his acting debut in a Kyushu-based TV dorama called Fukuoka Ren'ai Hakusho. The episode will air on February 8th, although I have no clue whether it'll only be viewable in Kyushu or not. Crazy!
I was watching TV when I got home from work tonight and the show "Our Music" was on. For whatever reason, the crossover was that they had the pop group EXILE on, talking to... Daisuke Matsuzaka. No, really. You see some pretty funky things on TV here sometimes.
I bought the Chunichi 2008 calendar this morning, to go with my Fighters and Baystars 2008 calendars. Kosuke Fukudome is the poster boy for January on the Dragons calendar, which is pretty funny. I'm just happy that Masahiko "Dragonbutt" Morino is the poster boy for May, my birthday month.
Also, open-sen schedules are up now too! My first game of the year could potentially be March 9th! Awesome!
(Apologies for lack of and/or laziness in translations.)