Why The Angels Shouldn’t Resign Hideki Matsui
October 26, 2010
The strangest/coolest part of teaching Japanese students is getting blindsided by their insane knowledge of things I would never expect them to know. Last week, one student wrote in his “My Dream” essay that he wanted to be an NBA player…not many people, especially in the semi-country of Nabari, know let alone follow the NBA. I asked him what team he wanted to play for. He said “the Hornets” and then proceeded to speak highly of Chris Paul. I was floored.
Today featured a similar sports-related mindbender. One student at my current school loves Major League Baseball to the point where the only sentences he ever says to me are “Angels!” or “Matsui great guy!” followed by a thumbs up. Unlike the NBA, the MLB gets a lot of followers here but few people know EVERY DETAIL of the league, usually just what the major Japanese players are doing. This kid, though, knows nearly every story to come out…he’s mentioned the various no-hitters thrown this year. Here’s what he said today.
KID: “Angels! Ehhhhh, not so good.” (Clearly aware of the team not making the postseason = ( )
ME: “Ahhhhhh yeah, they didn’t do very well.”
KID: “Number 77?”
ME: “77? (Thinking, realizing number 77 is Reggie Willits, a utility player who gets the occasional start in the outfield who is best known for running fast and sometimes hitting the ball, though he probably played a billion times better than Juan Rivera this year but I digress. He’s not terribly famous.)
KID: “Willits! Willits!”
ME: (Mind says “holy shit, how do you know Reggie Willits?”) “Wow how do you know him?”
KID: “Great great!” (Thumbs up, probably just happy I know who Willits is).
I then asked him if he knew who was in the World Series, and after two incorrect guesses (“C.C. Sabathia” and “Oswalt”) I told him the facts (“Lee” and “Lincecum” who he knew and, like the majority of Americans bound not to tune in, surprised who made it that far). He then said he actually hadn’t watched a full MLB game in a long time…makes sense, as they air during the day and these kids basically never leave school. So he must have bought one of the comprehensive MLB magazines on sale here that publish rosters and results and studied it. And somehow become familiar with Reggie Willits.
So yes…no need to resign Hideki Matsui for his Japanese-market ties. Reggie freakin’ Willits might be able to get the job done.
(Note: Sorry for lack of updates, but I’m currently working on a bigger sized one about a topic barely connected to Japan. Hint…books! So yeah maybe I’ll write that one day.)
(Japanese Fun Fact #84: Shockingly, the semi-ironic humor involved in watching a film like the gore-gore-gore-tastic flick The Expendables doesn’t translate to a Japanese audience. While a group of foreigners laughed at explosions outdoing one another, everyone else remained silence. Great film by the way, if you love watching small nations be destroyed.)