This past weekend I went stomping around Hokuriku with my friends. While in Kanazawa I picked up a team yearbook for the champion Ishikawa Million Stars (and made plans to come back and visit people and go to a game this summer!), and then I also went down to Komatsu to see the Hideki Matsui Baseball Museum, where I took about 300 pictures and haven't had time to go through them yet, so I'll hopefully get around to posting them later this week. Hard to believe my winter vacation is over already.
Some stuff has happened in the last week. Notably, I'm really sad that Nick Swisher got traded to the White Sox and thus won't be visiting with the A's when they play in Tokyo in March. I'm also sad that Kazumi Saitoh is having shoulder surgery, and thus won't be playing when the Hawks come to Kanto for some weekends early in the season. I'm happy that Chunichi managed to re-sign Iwase and Tyrone. I'm a bit perplexed that the Royals signed Hideo Nomo to a minor-league contract, but I hope it works out for all involved.
The Carp took Masato Akamatsu from the Tigers as compensation for the Arai signing, which is pretty awesome. Akamatsu wears high socks and steals a bazillion bases, which should go really nicely with Eishin Soyogi, assuming Akamatsu can get on base to begin with.
In the meantime, players have officially started their personal training. Personal training usually starts about a month before Spring Camp starts, which is on February 1st. News Zero showed a bunch of Giants doing various training (including Hisanori Takahashi being incredibly bad at racquetball), but the interesting story to me was how a bunch of the young Osaka Toin hotshots got together at a batting cage and had a bazillion media folks watching every swing. For some reason it just didn't occur to me that Tsuyoshi Nishioka was a sempai to both Chunichi's Ryosuke Hirata and the Fighters' new kid Sho Nakata.