Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Powerful Hits and Skillful Pitch Achieved a Thousand Times

Hard freeze overnight last night, creating some thin ice patches here and there this morning. The sort of ice that cracks satisfyingly underfoot. In fact as I did some ice-cracking Ann asked me, "Why do you like that sound?" Perceptive kid. She could understand that I do like the sound. But I couldn't really say why.

I also enjoyed the spots that featured clear ice over small ponds filled with brown grass and leaves. Put your foot there and you create a foot-shaped patch of brown water, besides that little crunch.

I don't have a favorite American baseball team, in spite of my long residence near Chicago. But ask me about Japanese teams, and it's the Hanshin Tigers. Somewhere I even have a Tigers hand towel, complete with the face of a tiger, that I bought at a small Tigers merchandise shop in the Namba district of Osaka (see BTST September 9, 2003 for an account of seeing a Tigers game in the early '90s).

The team comes to mind because the missing Col. Sanders statue associated with -- and maybe cursing -- the Tigers has been found. The "Curse of the Colonel," incidentally, has its own Wiki page.

Then there's "The Song of the Hanshin Tigers (The Wind of Mount Rokko)," which is heard in this video, followed by the customary balloon release during the game.

The Tigers Wiki page offers an English version of the song. I haven't confirmed it, but the page claims it's "official," not a translation. Mt. Rokko is a cluster of peaks above Kobe, accessible by cable car and fine for hiking. Clear, sweet air compared with sea level.

Dashing swiftly through the wind blowin' from Rokko
Like the big sun soaring in the clear blue sky
Mighty spirit of the youth shows the victor's grace
The name that shines in glory "Hanshin Tigers"
Oh! Oh! Oh! Oh! Hanshin Tigers
Hooray, Hooray, Hooray, Hooray!

Powerful hits and skillful pitch achieved a thousand times
Trained with every discipline here at Koshien
Crowned with constant victory glorious, matchless feat
Always proud, invincible "Hanshin Tigers"
Oh! Oh! Oh! Oh! Hanshin Tigers
Hooray, Hooray, Hooray, Hooray!



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