Ichiro is everywhere … and more from Japan
OK, my first morning in Toyko led to a few interesting surprises. First and foremost was running into the above picture of Ichiro in an advertisement in the window of a shop at the New Otani hotel before I even made it out to the street. Yeah, he’s big here.
And it looks like all the Mariners have a following here. I went for a long walk through the nearby shopping area and found some lunch, challenging my communication skills since I’m not exactly fluent in Japanese. But found a cafe where I could point out what I wanted and handed over some yen and, well, it worked!
On the way back, I ran into a group of people on the sidewalk and saw they were surrounding outfielder Casper Wells. Several had baseball cards of all the Mariners players and were getting autographs of as many as they could find. Wells was glad to accomodate and was still signing when I took off.
Next I ran into shortstop Brendan Ryan, his head buried in a map as he walked down the sidewalk trying to figure out where he was going. Typical Ryan, he was on the move, whether he knew where he was going or not …
Then as I got back the hotel, third baseman Kyle Seager and pitcher Blake Beavan were just outside the door, surrounded by autograph seekers as well. Clearly these guys aren’t going far without being recognized. I may be a stranger in a strange land trying to figure out lunch, but the players are obviously pretty well known, at least among some here in Tokyo.
They’ve got a workout this afternoon about three hours from now, which will be in the middle of the night back home. I’ll check in with an update from there.
Here’s a picture of Beavan, signing outside the hotel.