Monday, May 20, 2013

Movers On The Move

When I moved from coaching summer baseball from Alaska to Hawaii in the 90's (although still in the same league!) it meant I had the opportunity to travel to Asia for the first time. We started four of the five summers I spent in Hawaii on the road, beginning with four days in Inchon, South Korea, and then two weeks in Japan, usually opening up in Hiroshima before moving on to Tokyo, Yokahama, Sendai, Kyoto, Osaka or Fukuoka. Not all in the same summer, but spread out depending on who had invited us to play. We played Japanese Universities, who had actually finished their seasons, but reunited for our benefit. The games themselves have long since faded into the recesses of my mind, but the experiences culturally have remained with me, as have the people I coached and the great group of guys I coached with. From Japan we usually went up to Alaska for a week before coming home to Hawaii. The Hawaii Island Movers were actually sponsored by a moving company of the same name, run by an interesting guy named Don Takaki, who, in Karaoke bars where we found ourselves many evenings, thought of himself as a sort of Japanese Frank Sinatra. I never want to hear "My Way" again. I can't complain too much, though, as he brought me to Hawaii five times to coach for him. The second photograph shows two of our players laying a wreath at the Hiroshima atomic bomb memorial with the dome that remains from the blast in the background. I had the chance to visit both the Hiroshima Memorial as well as the Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor, where my father was on a ship during the attack. Both very moving experiences.

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