Daily Archives: 1 August 2006

Mike Plugh’s Darvish Watch

Japundit contributor and kuwashii Japan baseball fan Mike Plugh has created a Darvish Watch blog devoted to the young Iranian Japanese pitching phenom, Yu Darvish. Here’s an excerpt.

The million dollar question is, “Who in the World is Yu Darvish?” This phenom has burst on the scene in Japan and is a marvel to behold on the mound. He lacks the polish and seasoning that a true star pitcher possesses, but it’s important to keep in mind that we are talking about a 19 year old player that was rushed to the pros by a team [Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters] looking to stake its identity among a field of more famous teams.

The story begins with a Japanese woman and an Iranian man, who married and settled down in Osaka, Japan to raise a family. The elder Darvish was a player for the Iranian national soccer team, and met his wife in the United States while the two attended university. His athletic roots were apparently passed on to his son, as the young Darvish began to show his uncanny baseball skills as a second grader. Progressing quickly, Yu Darvish joined a boys baseball league in junior high school and became the ace of the rotation in no time. As a 16 year old high school student in Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture, this stellar young pitcher struck out 11 consecutive batters and 13 overall to lead his team to the finals of the prefectural championships. He also threw a 4-hit, 80 pitch, complete game shutout in one hour and nineteen minutes that season topping out at 87 MPH against neighboring Iwate Prefecture’s top club. That was just the beginning of the story.

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Wandering Russian Camera in North Korea

Russian photographer Peter Sobolev has posted a lengthy travelogue about North Korea, with commentary translated into English by Pavel Sokolov. You’ll have to go there to see the photos, but here is a sample of the commentary.

While Chinese tourists could be recognized by the large number of people in the groups, the Japanese are recognizable in the same way the Americans are in Russia – loud talking, gesticulation….

As a rule, about half the food is very spicy. I.e. it burns so much that it is impossible to eat. Especially prevalent are Kim-Chi – some kind of vegetables with spices. Naturally everyone eats with chopsticks. I used to think that wooden chopsticks were hard to eat with. Boy, was I wrong! : The wooden ones at least catch onto the food, as opposed to the metal ones. However, by the end of the trip I was able to use the metal ones quite well. Although I wasn’t holding them quite right (I couldn’t hold them the way the [tourguide] girls did). Then, forks are handed out as well.

The food hardest too eat is the local noodles. They are very long, sticky, and cooked to form some type of a clot. Before you eat it, you need to break up the clot with the chopsticks (which supposes being good with them). Even after that, when you try to pick up some of the noodles, the rest of them try to follow :)…

Machines typical for village – GAZ (probably made in Northern Korea, not in Russia) and a lorry – with gas generator.

This car works with firewood, but I have to underline, that it’s NOT a steam machine, but GAS-generator (Usual internal combustion engine, just re-made). It’s not gasoline, of course, so the max speed is about 20-30 km per hour.

The firewood (at the right) are prepared for lorry. They’re put by portions into the can (is seen in the back of a lorry) and slowly burn there.

We’ve seen such machines about five times in general….

The interesting fact – in Russia the local rivers usually have their names and the bridges have not. But here is the opposite situation.

There’s a name of bridge aon the stone and also a date when it was built (1974). And the river is nameless.

via the Marmot, who linked to another long Russian photo essay from the countryside, with commentary in Russian.

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