Adventures from the Far East and Beyond

Kotooshu and the Emperor’s Cup May 28, 2008

Filed under: 1 — orientalmix @ 7:32 am
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Kotooshu vs. Chiyotaikai

… and a 1-year supply of Corona from the Mexican Embassy

… and a 1-year supply of umeboshi (picked plums)

… and a 1-year supply of Bulgarian yogurt

… and a 1-year supply of shitake mushrooms

… and much much more

Kotooshu heading out on his victory parade

RYOKOKU – I can’t recall the last time I woke up at 4AM to wait in line for tickets. In fact, I am pretty sure that it was a first. That’s what it took to buy tickets to see sumo on the last day of the tournament. This wasn’t any ordinary grand tournament. We saw the first European sumo wrestler become the winner of a tournament. Bulgarian born Kotooshu made history on May 25, 2008.

A day after becoming the first European to capture an Emperor’s Cup in the ancient Japanese sport, Kotooshu dispatched of Ozeki Chiyotaikai to finish his campaign with an outstanding 14-1 record on the final day of the Summer Grand Sumo Tournament. How exciting is that??

The 25-year-old Kotooshu quickly rose to the higher ranks of sumo but hadn’t managed to win a title. If we look back, he didn’t even finish the last tournament with a winning record. People had hoped that he would beat the Yokozuna and win a tournament earlier, but it is better late than never. If he manages to win the next tournament with a similar amount of wins, he has a real chance of becoming the first European Yokozuna. Bulgaria must be proud!


Bonus pictures: 

Mongolian Yokozuna Hakuho

Hakuho vs. Asashoryu


Bottom of the… May 21, 2008

Ouch! I sat through one of the most painful games last night. Over four hours, 23 runs, 37 hits and three triplets later, Marines fans left knowing that they were the only team in the Pacific League to miss out on a win last night.

Karakawa pitching

Nihon Ham Fighters 6 – 3 Yokohama Baystars

Softbank Hawks 4 – 3 Hiroshima Carp

Orix Buffaloes 4 – 3 Hanshin Tigers

Rakuten Eagles 6 – 1 Chunichi Dragons

Chiba Lotte Marines 11 – 12 Yomiuri Giants

Yeah, that’s right. We were soooo close. We even had the Giants trailing in the 4th after getting six runs in in the bottom half of the 3rd… But the Giants slowly kept pushing up the numbers and then Ramirex hit a three-run homer to push the Giants at 12 – 10. We got another run in during the bottom of the 9th but it wasn’t enough to win!

Nemoto (Chiba Lotte Marines)

I hope that Yuki Karakawa (3-0) learns from this experience and comes back even stronger the next time he starts. He let in six runs on 13 hits over 4 2/3 innings. Before the game, Karakawa talked about how excited he was to pitch against the Giants. His father is a big Giants fan so they used to go to Tokyo Dome a lot when he was younger. Karakawa recounted that he was pitching just fine in the bullpen but once he got on the mound, he could feel that he was starting to strain himself. After the game, he was upset that he wasn’t able to hold it together for the team. Though he is no longer in the running to become the first pitcher drafted out of high school to earn a win in his first four games since the draft era, he is still aiming to win all of his games and set a new record.

Yomiuri Giants closer Marc Kroon


Um and yes. The Marines are officially at the bottom of the Pacific League.


Central vs Pacific May 20, 2008

Filed under: Chiba Lotte Marines — orientalmix @ 4:50 am

Today kicks off the start of the battle between the Central and Pacific leagues. Between May 20th and June 22nd, each team will play 24 games.

(each team will play two games against all six teams in the other league X two)

For the last three seasons, a team for the Pacific league has come out as a victor of the interleague games. It will be interesting to see how the numbers play out this year. In 2007, the Central League had 66 wins to 74 losses and four ties. I hope that a Pacific League team wins again this year!

We have the best pitchers for sure! With Darvish, Iwakuma, Naruse, Wakui, leading the way. Now I can really cheer on both the Marines and Ma-kun and not feel too guilty… and Karakawa too!

Hope the typhoon doesn’t postpone tonight’s game against the Yomiuri Giants…

p.s. Congrats JEF on their first home win this season. I was sitting on the edge of my seat during the last 15 minutes. Will post some pictures later.

p.p.s. Just found this article about Karakawa on the Japan Times website. “Valentine impressed with rookie hurler Karakawa” http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/sb20080518j1.html


A Big Day for Bobby V May 14, 2008

Filed under: Chiba Lotte Marines — orientalmix @ 12:45 am
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Last night, the Chiba Lotte Marines put on a good show for the crowd at Tokyo Dome. Since Saturday’s game was rained out, the dream Yuuki Karakawa (or Kara-age kun) vs Ma-kun match up didn’t happen but the Marines were ready to continue their winning streak.

Rookie Yuuki Karakawa is 3-0 and was as dominant on the mound as any other veteran. (I actually stood in front of the big screen at JR Chiba Station to watch the show go down last night.) The Marines went to defeat the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters 8-2 and gave Bobby a great 58th birthday present – 20th win of the season!

Karakawa and Bobby

The Marines have already lined up an array of Karakawa merchandise to celebrate the Chiba-born pitching sensation. The Marines have “Yuki Karakawa Memorial Goods” – I hate how the word “memorial” gets thrown around. They have “1st Victory” T-shirts for 3000 yen, a set that includes a replica signature ball and a card, and a picture with his signature (replica) for 2000 yen.

Kara-age kun is just out of high school and was born in Chiba on July 5th, 1989. That puts him in the “first year of the reign of the Emperor Heisei” category. Holy!! I still remember landing in Narita on December 3, 1989… that was the start of my three-year saga as a mixed kid in Tokyo.

Back to baseball, Karakawa has only given up two runs and has a 1.13 ERA over 24 innings. It was nice to see that he got plenty of backup last night from the Marine’s 3-4-5 hitters. Kazuya Fukuura, Jose Ortiz, and Shoitsu Omatsu got some nice hits last night. Kara-age kun’s hometown sempai, Daisuke Hayakawa, even had a solo homer last night. Go Chiba Go!


Vancouvorites in Makuhari May 12, 2008

Filed under: Chiba Lotte Marines — orientalmix @ 7:51 am
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FRIDAY & SUNSAY- Since an old friend of mine from Vancouver came and visited on her way home to Canada, I decided to take her on a tour of Makuhari with Marine Stadium as the final destination. As soon as the doors opened to JR Kaihin Makuhari station, the Marines theme song came flooding in.

We hopped out and headed down to see the wall of players and coaches and took an obligatory picture with the “M.”

At Kaihin Makuhari station

We took lots of pictures to document my friend’s first baseball game.
Yamada Hanako at Marine Stadium

The evening had several perks over other nights. For starters, they had pairs of comedians outside the stadium and had Hanako Yamada start off the game. They also gave out replica tickets from a game 40 years ago . One thing that was really quite funny was that there were people dressed up as giant cockroaches who were then attacked by large bottles of bug spray.

Iwakuma pitched for Rakuten that night and Ono started off for the Marines. It’s not easy pitching against an ace! The Eagles beat the Marines fair and square (11-4). The Eagles managed to get 11 runs from their 17 hits while the Marines got 4 from 11. Good thing we beat them yesterday. I was hoping for a Yuuki Karakawa vs Ma-kun game but I guess that will just have to wait.

Iwakuma pitching (May 9)


Bye Bye Kuze May 8, 2008

Filed under: Chiba Lotte Marines,JEF United — orientalmix @ 1:27 am

JEF UNITED – Yikes. Seven straight J. League defeats and now JEF United Chiba is short of a manager. Josip Kuze was fired yesterday, just a day after losing 3-0 to Urawa Reds. They only have two points from the opening 10 matches this season. I was lucky enough to catch the game they tied but they totally could have won that game. (Just like Lotte’s game last night!)

LOTTE MARINES – Last Thursday’s hometown game was a blast! The weather was cooperating and there was a good crew. I wish I took pictures to show how much fun it was. I hope more and more people will come out and enjoy the game from the “stand deck” section!!

(The really strange thing about the “stand deck” is that they don’t really want you to stand there… some of the staff were giving us the evil eye but they learned not to bug a bunch of happy gaijin.)

My childhood friend from B.C. (that’s British Columbia, Canada) is coming out to Chiba tonight and tomorrow. We will be hitting up the Lotte vs Rakuten game tomorrow night. Hope the weather cooperates!


Standings May 1, 2008

Filed under: 1 — orientalmix @ 7:44 am

As of May 1st…

1. Saitama Seibu Lions

2. Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles

3. Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters

4. Chiba Lotte Marines

5. Fukuoka Softbank Hawks

6. Orix Buffaloes

There is still a lot of time for these numbers to move around – but who would have predicted that the Eagles would be doing so well?