My friend from Japan, Taka, was coming to Chicago to see the Cubs at Wrigley Field. He wanted to see Nick & me. It had been two years since we met in KC. Unfortunately Nick was unavailable and I was going to be in Waupaca, Wisconsin over the Labor Day Weekend. Fortunately Erick Robertson of Simyard was available to meet Taka at Wrigley, and join him for some Cubbie baseball.

Here is what Erick had to say of his Taka experience…

I created a sign that said "Taka" in Japanese and headed down to
Wrigley. I picked up the tickets at Will Call and then started walking
around holding this sign. I felt like a limo driver at the airport.
Several people asked me what it meant, and I think some people thought I
might be selling tickets or something. After about five or ten minutes,
Taka approached me and introduced himself. He’s a really nice guy, very
friendly, and knows a lot about baseball. He had just arrived in town
from New York where he went to a couple games at Yankee Stadium, and he
was planning on visiting Dodger Stadium and PNC Park before heading back
to Tokyo.

In my visits to Japan, the Japanese baseball fans that I had met only
knew about American players that had actually played in Japan. Taka
broke that mold. He not only knew every player on the field who had ever
played in Japan, but he also knew all about the rest of the players. At
one point, a fan sitting next to us asked us how old Jamie Moyer was,
and if it was in Taka’s guidebook. Taka knew the answer before he even
looked it up. He is a walking vault of baseball knowledge, Japanese or

Taka spent a good part of Sunday’s game teaching some Japanese to the
fans sitting around us. He taught them to say "izou" (Let’s Go) and
"kattobase" (make a good hit) to the players as they are batting. He
called out in Japanese to Fukodome on several occasions, and I only was
able to catch some of what he was saying.

Have you seen the Fukudome shirts in Wrigley that have Fukudome’s name
in Japanese on the back? ???? if you have Japanese characters
available. Taka and I shared a chuckle at these shirts because it is
strange to have the name written like that. Japanese player names are
always written "FUKUDOME" in Roman characters on the back of their
jerseys, but also, that specific alphabet is never used for Japanese
names. It’s very similar to how Japanese people screw up English text
when they use it in Japan, except in the reverse. We both agreed that it
was a very strange thing to see on a shirt, although it is considered
stylish in Wrigley.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to stay for the end of Sunday’s game
because I had a wedding to attend in Evanston on Sunday night. But I did
have a good time with Taka, and I believe he did also. We drank some
beers, ate some dogs and enjoyed both games even though the Cubs didn’t
pull out a win this weekend. I told him that I would try to see if Tedd
would come with me to Japan to see some games when the Hanshin Tigers
visit Tokyo next year. I hope we’re able to do that, Tedd, it would be a
blast! You would love games in Japan!


A BIG THANK YOU goes out to Erick for meeting up with Taka! I’m glad they enjoyed watching some Cub baseball, even though the results might have been better, the Cubs lost both games. What a BLAST it would be to watch some baseball in Japan, with two of the biggest baseball fans I know, COUNT ME IN!

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