Friday, September 01, 2006
Ichiro-Johjima connection


It's been a pathetic disappointing year for Seattle Mariner baseball fans, but one of the bright spots has been the addition of Kenji Johjima, adding another former Japanese baseball star to the team (the first being Ichiro Suzuki, of course). The Seattle Times has a nice feature today on the Ichiro-Johjima connection, highlighting not only baseball, but also some observations for those who know nothing about the social norms of Japanese culture.

While outside observers might have assumed that the addition of Johjima would be a seamless transition just because he was Japanese, insiders knew there was a potential for the opposite, given the differences between the two players and the fact that they played for rival ball clubs while in Japan (Ichiro for the Blue Wave; Johjima for the Hawks). An interesting quote from Ichiro:

"The starting point for all relationships is the human element," Ichiro explains. "You learn what kind of person someone is by observing their everyday behavior. Some people are honest with their feelings and others are superficial. I'm particularly sensitive to the difference between the two.

"The more time I spent with Joh in the clubhouse and on the field, I discovered he wasn't superficial; to the contrary, he's very honest and straightforward. I respect that. I found him to be a very decent human being, and that made me respect him as my teammate."

And a quote from Johjima on Ichiro:

"I knew coming in here that there would be only two Japanese players on the team, so it was my responsibility to make the effort to get along with Ichiro," he says. "But you don't just go out and ask someone for their respect, you have to earn it from them through your actions. I never once worried that I wouldn't be able to do that."

Good stuff. Read the full article here.


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in?scrip?tion (n-skrip-shun)n.
1. The act or an instance of inscribing.
2. Something, such as the wording on a coin, medal, monument, or seal, that is inscribed.
3. A short, signed message in a book or on a photograph given as a gift.
4. The usually informal dedication of an artistic work.
5. Jeremiah 31:33

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