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Archive for Japan

10 years ago today


Wladimir Balentien’s 2013 season

Wladimir Balentien on the Jingu Stadium big screen


I never really finished my post from nearly seven years ago about Wladimir Balentien. Coco did go on to break the record, hitting 60 home runs in just 130 games. He ended that year with an .OPS of 1.234. How good is that? Only a handful of MLB players have ever had an .OPS that high in a season. They include Barry Bonds, Babe Ruth, and Ted Williams.

What’s happened to Coco since? He has continued to play for Yakult, but has never had nearly as good a season. He has hit between 31 and 38 home runs every season since 2013 for the Swallows. This year (2020) he was supposed to play for the Hawks, but the season has been delayed due to the Covid-19 virus.

The Mad Kyoto Shoe Swapper and Other Short Stories


The Mad Kyoto Shoe Swapper and Other Short Stories is a fun, little book for anyone with an interest in Japan. Some of the stories will probably have more impact for those foreigners who have lived in Japan for a while. The author, Rebecca Otowa, is such a person so she has the insight that those only casually acquainted with the Japanese culture will not.

The stories are all over the place in terms of style and theme. Some are based on true events.

I enjoyed the book and recommend it.

Osaka before the sunset or after the apocalypse?

Apocalyptic City



Geisha with Books

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“Geisha with Books” Hokusai

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Hermitage Museum (St. Petersburg, Russia)

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