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Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Japanese Ball Player Learning English And Spanish With Blue Jays

The Toronto Blue Jays had recently recalled Kawasaki Munenori (surname first) who back in 2013 achieved cult-like status when he came up from Triple A to the big leagues and played well... but really cementing his status as a fan favorite when he came out and tried to give a post-game interview speech in English using some hand written notes.

While the accent was thick, and the words often difficult to discern, there was no mistaking the man's enthusiasm nor that wide smile that made everyone want to ride the Kawasaki motorcade!

Resigned over the winter, Kawasaki knew he would be starting the 2014 season in Buffalo, with the Bisons, Toronto's Triple A affiliate.

Yes, Buffalo... you are Toronto's minor league hangout. Owtch. Lovely city, though. Plenty of fires via arson. But lovely people. Friendly, too.  Don't hurt me.

Anyhow, Kawasaki - whose wife gave birth to their first son in Toronto last year - has taken it upon himself to learn how to better express himself in English, and in Spanish!

Why Spanish? Because there are a lot of Spanish-speaking ball players in the Toronto organization... including Dominican players: Jose Bautista, Jose Reyes, Edwin Encarnacion, Juan Francisco and Melky Cabrera... and on occasion, Moises Sierra and Esmil Rogers.

Even though I lived in Japan and am certainly used to the Japanese accent when speaking English, Kawasaki is still difficult for me to understand perfectly - but whatever - at least he's trying.

He probably speaks better English now after a year than I did Japanese after three years.

Kawasaki is currently back up with the Blue Jays playing Second Base... and while he is still flashing the leather on defence, his batting seems to be better...

Below is YOUTUBE video posted by Rogers SportsNet of an interview with Kawasaki Munenori.

Andrew Joseph

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