Sunday, April 17, 2011

Nearly 5 years on...

Was thinking about this old post today:

That was the legendary face-off in Koushien between two high school pitchers, Yuuki Saito and Masahiro Tanaka. 12th graders in high school at the time, Tanaka (Maa-kun) went straight to the pros, and Saito (though he could easily have gone pro then) decided to go on to college baseball at Waseda Univ.

Now, nearly 5 years later...

Maa-kun has been (and still is) an extremely popular and successful young pitcher for the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles. We still love him up here in Hokkaido, and Fighters fans enjoy seeing him as the opposing pitcher when the Fighters play the Eagles.

Yuuki Saito kind of disappeared from the public eye for a while while he played college baseball (it is not followed here on the scale that pro baseball and the Koushien high school tournament are). He recently finished college, and was signed to our team, the Fighters, over the winter!! Although he was the pitcher opposing the Hokkaido team in Koushien 5 years ago, Fighters fans have been very excited to get him on our team. He is getting a lot of interest and press. He is still referred to as the Handkerchief Prince, although I think he has grown out of that stage of his life and probably wishes he had a different nickname. However, he puts up with it gracefully.

My husband took one of our neighbors to see him pitch in a Fighters game today, and we won. :) Today's game wasn't against Rakuten, but at some point we will be sure to see another Maa-kun vs. Yuuki Saito face-off!!

Here's to Maa-kun and Yuuki Saito, two nice young pitchers -- glad they are both doing great, 5 years after they were catapulted to national fame in Koushien! :)

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Weird coincidences

I seem to get these kinds of word coincidences a lot lately... it's kind of freaky, but maybe it's normal (?). This is a good example, so I thought I'd write about it.

Right now, I am playing on the computer, doing my favorite hobby, family history research. I was just researching my great-great-grandfather's older brother, Thomas Henry Darley, who was a blacksmith in England. He was shown as a blacksmith in the 1851, 1871, and 1881 censuses, living on the Isle of Sheppey in Kent, England. This is where his wife Fanny was from - he and his brother (my ancestor William Frederick Dunn Darley), were from Devon, over on the other side of England. I just now found big brother Thomas in the 1891 census, and, expecting to see the occupation blacksmith, was very surprised to see that he was a "Bird & Animal Stuffer". I thought this was pretty funny, and made my kids pause the video so I could tell them about this sudden and funny change of occupation. He had also moved to the town of Gillingham, Kent (on the mainland of England, near the Isle of Sheppey).

[By the way, I am planning to change this blog to a more hobby-centered blog, probably next week. I haven't been using this blog much, and might find more use for it in connection with my favorite hobby! :) ]

Back to the coincidence -- my kids are watching the movie Jumper in the next room right now, and my husband is half-dozing on the sofa near them. Soon after I told my kids about the blacksmith-turned-bird & animal-stuffer, my husband perked up enough to criticize the accent of one of the characters in Jumper, called Griffin: "What a crap accent. Sometimes it sounds Irish, sometimes Mancunian, sometimes Scottish, now it sounds Cockney. I bet he's American." (My husband is from England). I thought I would be of some use... I went to imdb and looked up the character. "Oh, he's from Billingham, England." My husband said, "That's in Kent. He's from the south but he's trying to sound northern. (grumble)" I said, "Wait, it says Stockton on Tees, where is that?" "That's in the north. Hmmm.. (grumble grumble)." Me: "Oh, wait, when you said you thought it was in Kent, were you thinking of *Gillingham*?" "Yeah."

Me: "That's so weird!! You know that blacksmith bird & animal stuffer I was *just* telling the kids about, well he lived in *Gillingham, Kent*!!!"

Husband: "Hm, very good.. " (doesn't sound impressed)

Ha ha, I had never heard of either town until today. I won't forget them now!!