Andrew’s world in Japan

Looking Down The Line

Looking Down The Line

Artist & researcher based in KL since 2009, passionately exploring th
creative process & connecting with other creative people.

Family Outing In A Cage

Sport, an activity that pushes your physical and mental abilities to the edge. That is the extreme paradigm we consider for this idea. You may imagine gladiators, Olympians or sumo wrestlers after fi rst hearing mention of this word. Excitement and thrills are what people seek in these moments, be it as a spectator or participant. So, with a group of rowdy energized youngsters in tow, my friend Masanao and I go forth on a raucous outing with his brother’s family. Anywhere in Japan, you can almost always count on access to batting cages; a space that encapsulates moments of ‘sport’ in exchange for cash. A perfect combination of energetic sport and simple plug and play entertainment.

Masanao At Bat

Masanao At Bat

During the mid-18th century, somewhere in greater England, the sport of ‘baseball’ fi rst began. On a global level, its fi rst demonstration took place during the 1912 Olympics in Stockholm, Sweden. Arrival at the shores of Japan happened well before that. Horace Wilson, an English professor introduced the game in 1872. Six years later, Shimbashi Athletic was established and away yakyū (Japanese for baseball) ran.

After arrival on the island of Okinawa, attempting to move from the airport to my friends, it became a frightening ordeal as I’d completely underestimated the distance. Somehow, imagining this island as a tiny place I could just walk across. Sitting on the public bus, watching the price rapidly climb every stop, nearing $30 after 45 minutes onboard, and no end in sight I jump off. My imagination swam into a public bus ride that ran over $100. How is that even possible? First human I saw after jumping off, a young high-schooler in baseball uniform with cell phone in hand. Practice had just ended and I felt confi dant another baseball player like myself would assist another in need. That plus I could clearly see his mobile phone. He did manage to help me contact Masanao, who by now was wondering what was taking me so long. Wrong bus apparently. Anyhow, I’ve totally digressed from the family outing.

The car ride alone was already full of dramatic group photos and competitive clamoring for each of the kids to receive some photo modeling time. Luckily, we reached the batting cages before too long an

Family Photo

Family Photo

d could get them swinging away their infi nite energy. Just the sounds of the bat and ball connecting sent me back in time. High school days, my buddy Dom and I used to visit the batting cages about every two weeks. Was an ideal opportunity to release some stress while attempting to hone my hand eye coordination. Things went so far as to nightly go to sleep with batting improvement meditation tapes.

Masanao’s nephews and nieces proclaimed fearlessness. Tucked in the cage, hacking away. It hurts to get hit by a baseball. Maybe they were just too naïve to know. Really though, I believe they were just wrapped in fun, everything else negated. The throw speed could be adjusted, but the slowest is about 90 km/hr. One of those in the eye and. . . not today though.

For a few hours we were stars. Outside of the netted cage, we cheered encouragement. Playing, especially with those little gremlin type youngsters that ooze giggly fun, is what sport is really all about.