Baseball: Japanese versus American

Ishinomaki Shimin Stadium

I'm learning a lot about baseball on this trip and it's fascinating to see and learn the differences between Japanese teams and American teams.

"[The Japanese kids] practice seven days a week at about three hours a day," explained Eric Kusunoki, one of the Punahou coaches. "And for games, they'll practice two hours before the game and also after." Compare that to the Punahou team, which holds practices six days a week (excluding Sunday) and doesn't hold practices on game days, which occur about twice a week. "If we were to have the same practice schedule as the Japanese teams, the kids would all quit," he adds with a laugh. They have an intense schedule that produces teams with a very strong technical skill, he adds.

On the way to our team's baseball game, we made a stop at the Ishinomaki Shimin Stadium where a game was happening on the field.  We were immediately greeted with the sounds of the crowd beating small, plastic versions of megaphones together in rhythmic unison. There was even choreographed movements, which made us wonder if we should have our own cheering section with tiny megaphones at our own game. It was lively, boisterous and loud, and we loved watching it. While I was drawn to the crowd and the happenings all around me, the Punahou players were studying the game, sitting as close to the action as they could and taking it all in. Thirty minutes later, we had to leave. The rain had stopped, there's a game to play and dignitaries are on their way.