Tuesday, March 29, 2011

More Than Winning

Today the evening newspapers were all about the Tohoku High School Baseball Team.

No, they didn't win their game today at the national high school tournament. They unfortunately lost 0-7. But the front page of the newspapers read "Good game, Tohoku!" or "Thank you, Tohoku!"

The baseball team of Tohoku High School (Miyagi Prefecture) were practicing outside when the earthquake hit. With the devastation that followed, many assumed they wouldn't make it to the tournament. The team's practices were halted in order to help out at rescue shelters, even as many of the players who lived in dorms went without water, electricity, and gas, too. But with the safety of all the player's families confirmed and through the support of many of the people in shelters, they were able to make their way to the tournament the following week.

These high school baseball tournaments we have twice a year is very special in Japan. People of all ages watch this tournament to root for the team representing their prefecture or just to see the young players hit, run, and shout their hearts out in every game.

Although the Tohoku High School Baseball Team weren't able to make it to the next round, the fact that they fought to the very end was an inspiration that lifted the spirits of many who watched.

And as one of the newspapers said, "...all of Japan applauded."

There's a really great article on high school baseball here.


  1. Bravo! Clapping really hard from the U.S. What heroes.

    (And what a lovely photo. Your papers are far more colorful than ours.)

  2. An applause from Italy! A very good story, people can be brave in many different ways!
    Let's hope something better for the next year and not only for the Tohoku High School team...

  3. Shinsuke Noyama’s speech was so moving it must have made the winning team, Gifu Prefecture’s Ogaki Nichidai, feel that theirs was a largely Pyrrhic victory.

    Life goes on...

    (word verification today is “boylaps”)

  4. guess that winning mostly takes place 'inside'.

    please have you all a good wednesday.

    daily athens

  5. Great to have a more cheerful, fun headline! Great to hear the news is improving in Japan!

  6. Yay! They are such an inspiration!

  7. Even if in my wildest imagination I could somehow conceive of the suffering and loss these boys and other victims of the Tohoku disaster have gone through and are still going through, I just could not understand. That kind of understanding comes only through the actual experience of it.

    Headlines and articles extolling and lauding the victims of the Tohoku disaster may be coming from a good place but the journalists really don’t know. Only the victims themselves really know and truly feel the pain.

    Looking on, I feel like a paparazzo or gawker surrounding Princess Diana’s wrecked and twisted car in that Paris tunnel. “You’re doing a great job Diana! Hang in there. Help will be on its way any minute now. I know you’re hurting but could you give us a pose for the camera?” All along we really having no idea what agony she is going through, while we onlookers are relatively safe and sound, and properly insulated from her very real personal hell.

    Offering a helping hand is the way to go.

    I wonder if a kind of domestic Japanese Peace Corps could be established. It could be called something like Totasu for Tohoku Tasukeru. People could volunteer their time: a day; a weekend; a week or two; a month; whatever time they can spare, to help clean up the disaster area. It would be good if travel expenses and room and board could be supplied for the volunteers so that they would be spending only their effort and time, not their money. That is, if the Fukushima nuclear mess doesn’t continue to pollute and broaden its spewing of lethal, toxic, slow death throughout the area and Japan, if not the world.

  8. Thank you so much for the comments!
    All the players striving towards their dreams are an inspiration, whether they win or not...which is one of the reasons I love high school baseball so ;D

    Karin, the colors are quite blinding when someone is reading it in front of you on the train :-)

    Robert, "winning mostly takes place 'inside'" - that is beautiful. And I think, very much true :-)

    Tall Gary, there are already many NGOs working in Tohoku. Some have actually asked for volunteers who would help with distribution of goods or readying the meals at shelters. I think it said that the volunteers needed to bring warm clothes and sleeping bags, as they would be sleeping in tents, but no fees were needed :-)

  9. Love the photo Kaori!!! Definitely more bold color than the US papers!!!

  10. Chieftess, thank you! It seems we like color in our newspapers ;-D

  11. Kaori, this is a brilliant post. It always surprises me when I see people viewing competition as a zero-sum game. It doesn't have to be. And here you have a perfect example: a team that shared in the win just by showing up. What I applaud here is that your media was able to take this perspective and make a story of it. Wonderful. And nice pic, Kaori. :-)


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