This Is Why I Root for Japan

A few days ago in the World Baseball Classic, Japanese pitcher Roki Sasaki hit an opposing batter with a 101 mph pitch.

If this happened in a major league baseball game, it might result in a fight, verbal sparring over social media, and a feud lasting for years. The pitcher would refuse to apologize, even if it was an honest mistake.

Conversely, Sasaki met up with the hitter a few days later to gave him two big bags of candy and say that he was sorry for the pitch.

Apparently it is a Japanese tradition to give a gift after hitting a batter. I studied abroad in Hiroshima and Kyoto, and in the few baseball games I attended, I never saw anyone be hit by a pitch. But it doesn’t surprise me that there would be a gracious tradition attached to such incidents in Japan.

This reminds me of the time that Japanese fans stayed to clean up a trashed soccer stadium during the World Cup.

As an American, I’m always happy to see the US perform well in international tournaments, but this is why I root for Japan.

3 thoughts on “This Is Why I Root for Japan”

  1. Hi Jamey,
    One of the greatest things about the Japanese is the respect they show for other people. I am always amazed at how safe Japan is, and how clean and well kept everything here is. I was playing futsal here one time when one of the Japanese guys ballooned a ball into the air. It flew over the fence and hit a car that was parked in the car park beside. The player immediately went into the clubhouse to search for the car owner to apologise and they both inspected the car for damage (there was none). I believe that most people from most countries would have just grabbed the ball and continued playing. There is also the story of JR (Japan Rail) keeping a station open in Hokkaido even though the only person using it was a high school girl commuting to school. They waited until she graduated before closing down the station.
    It is built into the Japanese culture not to cause “meiwaku” (annoyance or bother) to other people and the respect that they show is something that we all can learn from.
    Thank you for sharing the story!

    • Thanks for sharing this, Pat. I experience a lot of these acts when I was in Japan as well. It was pretty amazing how safe and clean a major city like Kyoto was.


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