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  • Archive for the ‘03_Translations (英訳ポートフォリオ)’ Category

    Unofficial translations of JIHF and Asia League Ice Hockey press releases

    Canseco v Daimajin

    Posted by japanstats on 2009 May 25日 Monday

    Prior to the start of the interleague game at Yokohama between the BayStars and the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles on Sunday 24 May, infamous former slugger Jose Canseco faced off against former BayStar and Seattle Mariner closer Kazuhiro “Daimajin” Sasaki in a ceremonial “at bat”.

    canseco1

    Because Canseco wanted to launch a homerun into the stands at the expense of Daimajin, he repeatedly asked for “one more pitch” resulting in a 9 pitch ceremonial at bat (which is reminiscient of Tsuyoshi Shinjo’s ceremonial first at bat against Hichori Morimoto last season in Fukuoka), but the attention seeking PED whistleblower could not reach the short porch of Yokohama Stadium.

    canseco2

    Canseco had faced Sasaki 3 times during their MLB careers, and after the ceremonial at bat Canseco commented that “Sasaki’s fastball and forkball were just as I remembered from our playing days, I should’ve practiced more for this occasion”.

    (Canseco is in Japan to participate in his first MMA tournament (aside from celebrity boxing matches), the DREAM Super Hulk Tournament in Yokohama Arena on Tuesday 26 May, his first match will be against former MMA novice and Korean giant Choi Hong-man who stands 218cm (7’2″) tall.)

    Original Japanese article after the break

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    Posted in 02_English, 03_Translations (英訳ポートフォリオ), baseball, information, MLB, NPB | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

    Free Blades Golden Week events

    Posted by japanstats on 2009 April 29日 Wednesday

    The upstart ALIH team Tohoku Free Blades will be hosting promotional events in Fukushima and Sendai (two of their 3 home towns) on 3 and 5 May, the latter being Boy’s Day, a national holiday.

    2009/Fukushima Airport YOU/YOUR Festival

    [Event] 2009/Fukushima Airport YOU/YOUR Festival

    [Date] 3 May (Sun) 9:00~16:00

    [Location] Fukushima Airport

    [Details] Take your shots event, autograph session

    [Participating players] #9 Takuya Nakamura, #18 Kota Tanaka, #19 Kosuke Takahashi

    Ice Rink Sendai Golden Week Special Event

    [Date] 5 May (Tue) 13:00~14:00

    [Location] Ice Rink Sendai

    [Details] Ice hockey shooting demo, skating class, autograph session

    [Participating players] #8 Shuji Kikuchi, #16 Jeffrey Koichi Honma, #21 Kazuki Yamamoto, #41 Yujiro Kasahara

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in 02_English, 03_Translations (英訳ポートフォリオ), Asia League Ice Hockey, hockey, information, Japan, press releases | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

    Seibu oldtimers game and AL’s future

    Posted by japanstats on 2009 April 3日 Friday

    On 28 March 2009, as part of the Seibu Prince Rabbits fan appreciation day, there was a Seibu Railways (Polar Bears) – Kokudo (Bunnies) oldtimers game (Seibu Prince Rabbits are a result of the merger between Seibu Railways and Kokudo teams, both owned by the Seibu Group, in 2003. In fact, the Seibu Railway team split into Kokudo in 1972, shortly after the club was formed in 1966, a now jailed Tsutsumi CEO project, he was a huge hockey fan who even took Daisuke Matsuzaka to a Seibu hockey game shortly after he was drafted to the Lions).

    Here are some great photos and story (Japanese) from the oldtimers game. The advert-less unis look wonderful, as the old rivals squared off for one last time. There were 44 Seibu oldtimers and 29 Kokudo seniors. Seibu had a ringer in current Nikko IceBuck Hideji Tsuchida (sorta like Mark Messier in the Canadiens v Oilers oldtimers superstars match while he was still an active Ranger). The oldtimers game ended in a fitting 5-5 tie.

    Apparently more than 20 companies made inquiries about taking the Rabbits off Seibu’s hands, but the 5-oku (~$5m) operating cost and average attendance of 1,000 was the deal breaker (in the 70s(?) hockey was able to draw crowds of 10,000 at Yoyogi Arena). Though I doubt that any of the discussions went too deep, because it’s possible to run an Asia League hockey club on less than half that budget, like the Nikko IceBucks are doing. Something tells me that Seibu wanted to get rid of its hockey arm, as part of eliminating the Tsutsumi colours, what with the former group president being convicted for large scale fraud. (And I suspect that’s the similar reasoning behind the Saitama Seibu Lions moving away from the sky blue and Osamu Tezuka Leo logo towards almost-black navy and the weird lion palm and baseball logo, though the faux-Detroit Tigers unis are classy.)

    Here’s the official statement from the AL Chairman about Seibu folding. The one positive is that he mentions that the league is rather positive about accepting new teams into the now 6 team league (same size as the old Japanese Ice Hockey League). This is good news for the Tohoku Free Blades who have an exhibition game against the Oji Eagles  on 5 April at 13:00 at the Bandai Atami Ice Arena in Koriyama, Fukushima (one of the Blades’ home towns). The Blades have already played an exhibition match against the AL last place team Nikko, so the increasing involvement with AL teams is positive development for the Blades to join the AL. (I’m also hoping that the western Japan powerhouse Surpass Kagawa will eventually join the AL as well, but there are no current rumours.)

    So, there’s a decent chance that the AL will still be a 7 team league next season, despite being weakened by the loss of Seibu (though this opens the door for the Korean and Chinese teams, which is a welcome change). Apparently 12-15 Seibu players have a chance of catching on with another team in Asia or Europe next seasons, others are likely to become regular Seibu Group employees. Though with the lack of funding for the Blades, they look unlikely to be taking on the expensive Seibu players.

    A short Q&A was held with the Seibu hockey club owner (president) Koyama on 31 March when the official team folding was announced. Here’s the abridged version (full version in Japanese here).

    Q: What was the reasoning behind the timing of this press conference?

    A: Each team must submit player transfer/release list by mid-April, hence the timing.

    Q: How will the players be treated going forward?

    A: Individual interviews will be conducted with each player during April. The key question is whether players want to keep on playing hockey or joing the company (Seibu) full-time and start working on regular jobs. We will support the players as much as possible.

    Q: What are the specific plans to support the players?

    A: Players will be able to stay in the team dorm until July. Request has been made to the company so that the (semi-pro) players will be given a 2 year sabbatical from the company to pursue their hockey careers if that is their wish.

    Q: What will happen to company referees and coaches who contribute to the AL?

    A: Immediately pulling them out will cause trouble for the league, so we are in discussion with officials such as the federation for their future. The rink (Higashifushimi) will continue to operate as usual (as the home of the women’s Princess Rabbits team, figure skating, and public skating.)

    Q: What were the reactions inside the company regarding the hockey team folding?

    A: The company itself is undergoing major restructuring, so this issue went rather unnoticed compared to the past.

    Q: How did the discussions go with prospective buyers of the team?

    A: 20 to 25 companies from Tokyo and outside Tokyo expressed interest. They were interested in hockey as a sport, but the average attendance of 1000+ made serious discussion difficult, and ultimately ended in failure.

    Incidentally, 2008-09 average attendance:

    1: Oji Eagles 1498 (all games over 1000)
    2: Seibu Prince Rabbits (attendance boosted after team folding announcement)
    3: Nippon Paper Cranes 1211
    4: Anyang Halla 1052
    5: Nikko IceBucks 1013 (used to have over 4000 supporters when the club first formed 10 years ago)
    6: High1 488 (all tickets are free, but no advertising, sponsor must be loaded)

    7: China Sharks (many comp tickets given out, attracting thousands of fans at some games, hopefully they gained some traction in the Shanghai student town.) 

    Posted in 02_English, 03_Translations (英訳ポートフォリオ), Asia League Ice Hockey, hockey, information, Japan, opinion, press releases, tokyo | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

    Asia Series in financial trouble

    Posted by japanstats on 2008 November 17日 Monday

    There’s a brief article in Sankei Sports explaining how the poorly attended Asia Series (all group games drew less than 10,000 and the final less than 20,000, had a popular NPB team made it to the Series, attendance figures would’ve been quite different) is in financial trouble, its future may be in jeopardy, and of course the current financial climate does not help. Here goes the rough translation:

    Asia Series Lack of Sponsor Means Trouble

    17 November 2008 Sankei Sports (via Yahoo news)

    The NPB commissioner Ryozo Kato commented on November 16th that he wanted the Asia Series to “continue no matter what” beyond next season, indicating the NPB’s stance on the Series’ future.

    The title sponsor the for the first 3 incarnations of the Series, Konami, withdrew their sponsorship which was a 3 year 3-oku yen (approximately $3 million) deal. There was no terrestrial television coverage of the Series either. Therefore, the 1-oku yen prize and operational costs (Ed: including airfare and accommodation for the foreign teams) were all paid for by the NPB. There are dissenting voices among the 12 NPB teams, endangering the future of the Series.

    Commissioner Kato further commented that “the Asia Series is a necessary step for Japanese teams to aim for the world in the future. I want Japan to take leadership on this issue and continue with the Series”. The future of the Series will be under discussion within the executive committee, where issues such as finding new sponsors and decreasing the prize money will be raised.

    Original article (Japanese) preserved after the break:

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in 02_English, 03_Translations (英訳ポートフォリオ), baseball, information, NPB, opinion | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

    Realistic Asia League expansion team for 2009/10

    Posted by japanstats on 2008 November 10日 Monday

    There have been rumours over the years about adding teams to the Asia League, anything from a Kazakhstani team to a third Korean team to the most recently floated idea by the China (and San Jose) Sharks brass about bringing back a second Chinese team (and my hope that Amur Khavarovsk will send one of its minor league teams to the AL).

    But this time there is a serious financial backer with a seemingly realistic plan. Xebio’s capitalization and annual sales are both over $1 billion, which should be enough to sponsor a few million dollars a year budget of an AL team, but the company’s about 1/10th in capitalization when compared to Seibu, Oji, and Nippon Paper. I’ll translate the short article that appeared in the Hokkaido Shimbun newspaper’s Doshin Sports daily.

    Xebio has established an ice hockey team

    8 November 10:14

    Xebio Co., Ltd., a sporting equipment retailer, announced on 5 November 2008 that it has established a new ice hockey team with the aim of joining the Asia League Ice Hockey next season (Ed: 2009/10). Details will be revealed in upcoming press releases including one in Koriyama city (Ed: Fukushima prefecture).

    The team will call the entire Tohoku (northeast) area of Japan as its home territory, and its training base will be in Hachinohe city, Aomori prefecture (Ed: the Tohoku hockey hotbed). The managing company Tohoku Ice Hockey Club has already been established with former Nikko IceBucks president and current Xebio employee Keisuke Araki as president. About 10 new student-athletes from various universities who will be graduating this upcoming spring have already accepted their offer to join the team.

    Currently, the Asia League features 7 teams of which 4 are based in Japan including the Oji and Nippon Paper teams. According to the league agreement, adding expansion teams requires the consent of the league general assembly where the tentative club will be judged on criteria such as financial stability and its ability to ice a competitive team.

    Original Japanese article after the break:

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in 02_English, 03_Translations (英訳ポートフォリオ), Asia League Ice Hockey, hockey, information, Japan, opinion | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

    Akinori Iwamura 2008 spring training quotes

    Posted by japanstats on 2008 October 23日 Thursday

    I had read about improvements in the Rays team heading into the 2008 season, but didn’t believe they’d be this good going from finishing last almost every season to suddenly winning the toughest division in baseball, AL East, and winning the ALCS (by defeating defending WS champs the Boston Red Sox) to reach the World Series against the Philadelphia Phillies.

    When I initially read these Akinori Iwamura (converted from 3B to 2B for the 2008 season) quotes during spring training, I thought it was typical athlete optimism mixed in with a media face, but Iwamura turned out to be right.

    「オフの間もチームが本腰を入れて補強に入ったなと感じた。(キャンプ)初日に集まった時に、選手だけでなくスタッフの顔色も違うという感覚があった。投打が噛み合えば面白いチームになると思うし、ヤンキースとかを本気で倒しにいけるんじゃないかな。ここまでこのチームに興奮しっぱなしです」

    “The team was really dedicated during the offseason to strengthen the squad. When we got together in the first day (of spring training), I felt that not only were the players’ expressions different, I could also feel it from the team staff. This will be an interesting team if the pitching and hitting click together, and I think that we can really beat the Yankees and other teams. I’m really, really excited to be here.”

    「いい意味で(自分たちは強いんだと)勘違いしてもいいと思う。みんなで勝ちにいこうという姿勢は大きいし、勘違いしているうちにだんだん実力もついてくる。今年は一味違うというのを少しずつ出していかないといけないし、それをシーズン中に癖にさせるのが大事。オープン戦なんですけど、勝ち癖をつけていかないといけない」

    “I think that we are allowed to delude ourselves, in a good sense (that we are strong). It’s important that we’re all in this together to win, and mistaken confidence will lead to real strength. We have to gradually show that we’re different this year, and turn that into a good habit during the season. Even though this is still spring training, it’s important for us to get in the habit of winning.”

    Some times when athletes talk, sometimes they’re not just merely paying lip service or being a bland quote machine but instead they’re telling rather interesting nuggets of truth. Not that Iwamura called the Rays’ reaching (or winning) the World Series or anything, but I should have given his quotes more credit than I did at the beginning of the season.

    Posted in 02_English, 03_Translations (英訳ポートフォリオ), baseball, information, MLB, opinion, tokyo | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

    Nikko IceBucks injuries

    Posted by japanstats on 2008 October 1日 Wednesday

    Only 5 games into this 2008-09 AL season (36 games long), the Nikko IceBucks have already been hit by the injury bug in their games against the Seibu Prince Rabbits and the China Sharks. Forward Kojiro Tsuji and Defencemen Keisuke Toda and Toshiaki Okamoto are all out of the lineup for an extended period of time, this came in a crucial period of the Bucks season where the team plays 6 games in the first 12 days of October where a 3 game Korean roadtrip is thrown in for good measure.

    Tsuji is out for 2 months with a spine fracture.

    Toda is out for 3 weeks with a right ankle bone fracture.

    Okamoto is recovering from his left wrist fracture but won’t be able to return to the team for another 2 weeks.

    Since the Bucks have a bare minimum roster of 23 players, and all injured players received significant playing time last season, these injuries have critical impact on the team in a very trying part of their schedule. We’ll see how the team copes with this situation starting with the game against a resurgent and powerful Anyang Halla (their power play firing at 110%, literally, as AL measures PP success against PP time, and Halla have scored 11 PP goals in only 20 minutes of man advantage) tonight at home at Kirifuri Arena.

    Posted in 02_English, 03_Translations (英訳ポートフォリオ), Asia League Ice Hockey, hockey, information, opinion | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

    Anyang Halla forfeits a game

    Posted by japanstats on 2008 September 22日 Monday

    The new season has just begun for the Asia League, and already there is already controversy with more potential trouble brewing (maybe).

    The issue is Anyang Halla forfeiting their game against High1 in only the second game of the season after High1 scored an apparently controversial goal late in what must’ve been an entertaining match up to that point. But the Halla coach disputed this goal and refused to continue with the game, thus forfeiting the game. 3 points for a regulation win will be awarded to High1, and all individual records from the game will not be counted. The finalized decision will come from the rules committee of Asia League on a later date. (Loosely translated and added more facts to the last paragraph from this AL press release covering Sunday’s actions which briefly exlains the forfeited game. Looking at the game sheet the 59:59 goal was an empty netter, and Halla coach received a delay of game penalty at 60:00 presumably for not putting his team back on the ice, so it’s anyone’s guess as to what actually transpired, we’ll need some solid firsthand information from the rink.)

    The original brief explanation on the forfeited game in the press release:

    ■「High1 対 アニャンハルラ」 高陽アイスリンク/韓国

    この試合は、試合終了間際のHigh1 のゴールを巡り、ハルラが試合続行を拒否したため、没収試合となりました。

    High1 を勝利扱いとなります。個人記録は全て無効です。

    審議委員会の競技結果等は後日、お知らせいたします。

    Posted in 02_English, 03_Translations (英訳ポートフォリオ), Asia League Ice Hockey, hockey, information, opinion, press releases | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

    Oh and Nomura on Hoshino Japan

    Posted by japanstats on 2008 August 25日 Monday

    The day after Team Japan failed miserably out of Beijing Olympic baseball competition by losing to the US in the bronze medal game, NPB resumed action after a short 2 day Olympic finals break. But its been rainy lately in Japan, and many games were cancelled, including the first meetup with the Japanesebaseball.com guys we had planned for the Tigers-Swallows game at Jingu Stadium, and the Hawks-Eagles matchup up in Sendai.

    Once the game was officially cancelled at Sendai, Sadaharu Oh went to pay a visit to Katsuya Nomura, both legendary players and managers in NPB history. With the press present, naturally, the talk quickly turned to why manager Senichi Hoshino‘s team failed to even medal, let alone gold.

    Here’s a snippet of their conversation as reported by Sports Hochi.

    Nomura: Olympics was a failure, wasn’t it?

    Oh: Yes, it was disappointing. It’s difficult. One loss means it’s all over.

    Nomura: It’s difficult to select players. The heart of the order, 3-4-5 hitters need to be solid.

    Oh: It’s always difficult for batters when they face new pitchers for the first time. But ours (Tsuyoshi Wada and Toshiya Sugiuchi) got hit pretty hard. (Comment: Wada and Sugiuchi both pitched 2 games each, Wada 4.82 ERA in 9 1/3 IP and Sugiuchi 0.84 ERA in 10 2/3 IP, so it was only Wada who got hit moderately hard. Olympic stats here.)

    Earlier before Oh’s visit Nomura had already criticized Hoshino Japan, that the team was “unable to make use of all its data. Totally wasted a good thing there. I thought things got off to a bad start when they chose a group of friends to manage the team (Hoshino is friends with coaches Tabuchi and Yamamoto). Managers who used to be pitchers don’t know what position players go through either.” (Comment: Hoshino pitched for the Dragons, peaking in the 70’s.) Oh also commented on the overall team strengths of Korea, Cuba, and USA.

    Oh: They didn’t swing at any balls. Great plate discipline. Once again, we saw how important great batting eyes are. (Comment: says the man who has NPB leading 2390 career walks and an astounding .446 career OBP. At Beijing Japan only walked 24 times, other teams were Canada 15, Cuba 37, Korea 30, Taiwan 30, and USA 34.)

    Nomura: The batters swing without taking big steps.

    Oh: They wait for the ball, and still get distance on the balls they hit.

    Nomura: Different muscles.

    Oh: It’s difficult for starters to pitch relief. Though, I understand that it’s also difficult to select middle relievers on Team Japan… and on top of that the roster size is only 24 players. (Comment: MLB is 25, while NPB uses a 28 man roster with lots of leeway.)

    Nomura: Kids these days are weak. They have the gall take 10 days off by fouling pitches off themselves. I didn’t want to lose my job, so I even played with broken bones.

    Oh: Well, we are 1st and 2nd in all time games played so we were tough, but there are players who give in easily to pain.

    Nomura: You are a man of integrity. I lack integrity. That there shows up in our difference of 200 homeruns. (Comment: 868 v 657 career homruns for the two living legends.)

    The two talked for 40 minutes, but these were the quotes that made it onto Sports Hochi. World’s homerun king Oh, of course, has also led the champion Team Japan in WBC 2006. And Nomura, the greatest hitting catcher in NPB history, managed Cuban manager at Beijing, Antonio Pacheco, when he played at Shidax in the Japanese industrial leagues. Oh has been to the Japan Series 4 times as manager and won twice, Nomura 5 times and won three times. (Comment: Hoshino has been to the Japan Series 3 times as manager but has never won it.)

    Note: This is not a word for word translation, but I’ll reprint the original article here before it disappears from the archives.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in 02_English, 03_Translations (英訳ポートフォリオ), baseball, information, olympics, opinion | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

    Shinjo throws out a 90 mph ceremonial first pitch!

    Posted by japanstats on 2008 May 19日 Monday

    Fukuoka Softbank Hawks 3 – 4 Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters

    18 May 2008 Fukuoka Yahoo! Dome

    Former Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighter Tsuyoshi Shinjo showed off his strong arm in an off the charts ceremonial first “pitch”. In this event to promote Tokyo’s bid for the 2016 Summer Olympics, the 36 year old Shinjo made his first appearance on a baseball field since his retirement in 2006. He pitched a no holds barred ceremonial “at bat” against his former understudy, and Fighters leadoff man, Hichori Morimoto. After going to a 2-2 count, Shinjo got Morimoto to ground out to the shortstop. Of the 4 pitches that were measured by a speed gun, the first pitch clocked in at 145 km/h (90 mph). “I thought I threw a little harder” remarked Shinjo playfully, as the crowd was wowed. Wearing the full uniform of his hometown Fukuoka Softbank Hawks, and in an incredible show of fan service, he threw in the actual gold glove that he won for his 2006 Golden Glove award into the crowd after completing this big task. He was exhilarated, saying “moriagattabai!” (“that got the crowd going!”) in the local Hakata dialect.

    (Shinjo’s done it again! He never ceases to surprise fans and casual observers alike, even well into his retirement. I’m not sure if a former player has ever donned the full uniform of a team he had never played for, including cleats, and threw an entire at bat as a ceremonial “first pitch”. Probably a world first by the man who loves to surprise.) Here’s the video:

    Original article (Japanese):

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in 02_English, 03_Translations (英訳ポートフォリオ), baseball, culture, information, NPB, opinion | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »