You remember Ryuji Tachibana? The guy who went to the Mets in '97 as a conditioning coach, and worked for Bobby Valentine for several years with the Marines, and so on? Yeah, this guy? Apparently he's been working with the Rikkio University team as a coach as well. I believe Kenichi Yazawa is still working with the Tokyo University team off and on too. Wouldn't it be amazing if Rikkio managed to win the Big 6 this fall and Todai managed to win a game?
Anyway, I have no real point here, I just felt like posting. I started a Twitter account, which may be more useful when I go to Japan this fall.
Qualifying tournaments for Koshien are going on all over the place. I am, for the record, pulling for Nichidai San in West Tokyo (which should surprise nobody, and I really ought to finish my series on them), though if they don't make it I guess I hope Waseda Jitsugyo does again, because Konsu Yasuda is now their team captain and I was pretty captivated by him last summer, despite that I'm anti-Waseda on principle.
East Tokyo, I'm hoping for either Shutoku, Kanto Daiichi, or Teikyo. Well, or as a complete dark horse, Rikkio Ikebukuro. My student who I went to watch last year is now catching and batting cleanup for the team, and they've got a sophomore pitcher named Nishino who is apparently pretty good.
Shutoku, I have a former student who's a 1st-year there, so he didn't make the roster, but I still want their team to do well.
Kanto Daiichi, in an even more bizarre coincidence, their ace pitcher Ryo Minakawa (pictured on this page) is the older brother of one of the most annoying boys I had to deal with at my JHS last year. And their shortstop Yutaka Saitoh played for Arakawa Senior.
Teikyo, well, I used to live a 10-minute bike ride from there, and I've been a big fan of a lot of their alumni. Takuro Itoh, the boy who wowed everyone two years ago as a freshman who could throw 148km/h, is now the real #1-wearing ace and in his last tournament, and so it'll be interesting to see if he'll bring them back to Koshien this year too. He's also a heck of a hitter.
Also, not that anyone's looking, but Saga Kita just won another game today, so they've made it into Best 8. I'm still a fan of the Saga Kita 2007 miracle team, and would love to see their school make it to Koshien again.
I forgot to watch the All-Star game over here, and I dunno whether I'll manage to watch any of the Japanese ones, but the rosters are pretty crazy. Mostly, I'm delighted to see Shintaro Ejiri make it -- he was one of my favorite Fighters for a long time, and it's good to see him succeeding over on the other side of the bay. Also, it would have been nice to see Shota Ishimine make it as a first-year rather than Yuki Saitoh, but I'm biased.
Also, on a non-baseball, but Japanese-related note: if anyone's going to be in San Francisco at the B'z concert on Friday the 22nd, let me know.