Don’t Call It A Comeback …

Jeff · November 20, 2006 at 2:24 am · Filed Under General baseball, Mariners, Off-topic ranting 

… I’ve been here for three weeks. And my log-in and password still work. Excellent!

Folks, Dave has on occasion kvetched about cross-country flights, which is certainly a truism. Let me vouch for the fact that moving across the International Date Line is no less trying. Between getting my project set up, trying to furnish a home, fill out myriad mystifying forms and leap headfirst into two mutually-unintelligible languages (three, if you count English), chores aplenty have rolled in. This has left me wondering whether there is an opposite of “combobulated.”

Oh yeah.

Keeping up on baseball news has been shuffled down on the priority list somewhere just above “is there any drawback to living with wild geckos?” and just below “register for the health care system.” I’ve been a lot better at keeping up my Okinawa blog, but then, this place is the epicenter of the next year for me, so I’d better. If you’re interested in mundane details about my apartment, political and environmental news about a place you might not know much about, and the occasional bit of strangeness, pop on over.

Though my absence is no doubt helping the average Post Intelligence Quotient over here, I’ve been looking for an excuse to duck in, say “hi,” and hopefully bring something in the way of Japanese baseball news to the table.

It’s the offseason here, too, but here’s what I’ve got: the Yokohama Bay Stars train in Ginowan City, where I live now. They just did a little meet n’ greet with some American kids. The Bay Stars (along with many Japanese teams) will be back in Okinawa in February for spring training.

That’s right, they have two offseason camps. Rumors that they force pitchers to throw hundreds of pitches during each are unsubstantiated, but let’s just say I’m bringing the camera in three months.

Mariner fan photo blogging: while I was strolling around Highway 58 today trying to sign up for local cultural activities, I ran into these two kids, who were anxious to try out the only English word they know — and, coincidentally, the phrase that I popped over here to say — “Hi!”

Always happy to meet another Mariner fan, I pointed out in Japanese that I’m from Seattle, where the Mariners play. They looked perplexed and then laughed, as it became readily apparent that the young fella wasn’t so much a baseball fan as someone who thought the hat looked sweet.

I also saw a weird advertisement featuring Ichiro today, but neglected to bring my camera, which is always — always — a mistake. At least it will give me fodder for another post sometime in the next several months.

Kidding. Kind of.


13 Responses to “Don’t Call It A Comeback …”

  1. Typical Idiot Fan on November 20th, 2006 3:01 am

    Who are you again?

  2. gag harbor on November 20th, 2006 4:56 am

    when you think you’ve started to “combulate” a little, pop on down to Taiwan and see how you fair… it’s a nation full of “wang-abes” by now. and carrying the camera is a must because they have some wild vending machines in japan.

  3. Jeff on November 20th, 2006 8:38 am

    I’m Peter White.

  4. PositivePaul on November 20th, 2006 8:56 am

    Must. Carry. Camera. Even if you’re not toting the dSLR, ya gotta remember to stash a pocket-sized one on ya somewhere. Can’t tell you how many times I’ve said to myself in the past few weeks: I wish I brought my camera…

  5. msb on November 20th, 2006 9:07 am

    “is there any drawback to living with wild geckos?”

    I recall a fine and exciting gecko vs praying mantis battle described in vivid detail by Gerry Durrell….

  6. Deanna on November 20th, 2006 11:04 am

    What, Jeff, isn’t all the stuff about Yuta Omine a big deal down there in Okinawa? 🙂

    (yeah, ok, so I guess most people don’t consider the hubbub over a #1 draft pick out of an Okinawa high school all that big a deal, but I feel like I’ve seen at least 2-3 articles a week about the kid… and today is industrial/college draft day. exciting!)

    I have a couple pictures of the Ichiro NTT ads that were all around Kansai/Kanto. They were pretty cool.

  7. Karen on November 20th, 2006 11:12 am

    I carry a lightweight cheapie digital camera in my purse all the time. You should get a purse, Jeff…


  8. Brian Rust on November 20th, 2006 11:57 am

    If your absence increases the Post Intelligence Quotient, does that make you a Post Un-Intelligencer?

    Sorry, slow day.

  9. Jeff on November 20th, 2006 4:09 pm

    Actually, Deanna, yes! The Yuta Omine story is pretty big here. Okinawa is crazy for high school baseball.

  10. msb on November 20th, 2006 5:42 pm

    and I thought everyone had those camera phones….

    ok, well, yeah, I finally got a phone that bends in the middle.

  11. MKT on November 20th, 2006 6:57 pm

    Funniest Okinawan song I’ve ever heard (okay, the only one); I heard this on the radio in Hawaii, probably the only place in the world where the humor would work. I don’t know who wrote or performed it:

    Slow, lugubrious music plays the melody for probably the only Japanese song that non-Japanese recognize, “Sakura”, while the singer sings lyrics describing what a bunch of lame losers the Japanese are. This goes on for a stanza, and then

    the music suddenly shifts into shiny upbeat tempo, and the melody is the title song from “Oklahoma”. But with the lyrics changed to … Okinawa! (sing along … you’re doing fine Okinawa, Okinawa, OK – I – N – A – W – A). And the song is about how great and wonderful and studly Okinawans are.

    And then the song switches back and forth between the slow sad Sakura mode, with more put-downs of Japanese, and back to Oklahoma/Okinawa.

    Sample lyrics (reconstructed from memory):

    (To the tune of “Sakura”, adagio)
    Eat raw fish
    Two tiny pieces
    In one dish

    But …
    (To the tune of “Okalahoma!”, vivace)
    Ohhh .. kinawans
    Like to eat a chicken cow or pig
    At night or noon
    With a fork or spoon
    Eating portions mighty big

    We know we belong to the land … (sorry, I forget what the Okinawan-styled lyrics were, but you can imagine the rest).

    The reason why this song probably works only in Hawaii: most Americans probably neither know or care anything about Okinawa, and its relationship with Japan.

    Okinawans presumably care plenty, but I doubt they know or care anything about Broadway musicals.

    But an Okinawan American (who I presume wrote the song), growing up hearing “Oklahoma”, would be in a unique place to combine the two. I don’t think I’ve ever seen an identifiably Okinawan restaurant, store, or person in the mainland US (I’m sure they are there, but they certainly aren’t prominent). They’re not much more prominent in Hawaii, but there is at least some visible presence — and audible, in the case of this Oklahoma/Okinawa song.

    Serious question: I understand that Japan colonized Okinawa many years ago, and some (many?) Okinawans are still restive under Japanese rule. I’m guessing it’s somewhat similar to the relationship between the English and the Irish, but that’s just a guess. Or maybe the USA and Puerto Rico? What’s your impression?

  12. Jeff on November 21st, 2006 8:49 am

    I’ve actually done quite a bit of writing about this, and it’s true: many Okinawans blanche at being called Japanese, although that’s generational.

    I’d say it’s analagous to the U.S.-Hawaii relationship: ethnically, culturally and linguistically distinct, although politically part of the same nation due to a recent conquest.

  13. Jeff on November 21st, 2006 8:52 am

    And there are a TON of Okinawans in Hawaii. When I was in Hawaii last year, I went to the Okinawan cultural center — you could make a pretty solid argument that Hawaii is the center of the Okinawan diaspora, although South America is up there, too.

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