Step up to the plate!
Baseball, (yakyuu), has been around in Japan since the late 19th century and is a dominant part of modern Japanese culture. There’s no refuting the Japanese passion for this sport. Nihon Puro Yakyuu, or NPB in English, is the 12-team pro league in Japan, and the team with the biggest fanbase, the Tokyo-based Yomiuri Giants, has even provided the backdrop for several household-name dramas, movies and manga such as Kyojin no hoshi – The Star of the Giants. The national high school baseball tournaments have also become an annual ritual. Hundreds of thousands of Japanese gather round the TV and take time out from their favorite shows to watch the games and look out for the future stars of Japanese baseball. High-school baseball, koukou yakyuu rivals the NPB in popularity during the spring and summer tournaments. These are played at Koshien stadium (Koshien kyuujou) in Hyogo, a Japanese baseball fan Mecca. Major League Baseball (mejaa) also has a huge following in Japan. メジャー fans particularly relish in keeping tabs on Japanese players who compete in the U.S. In contrast to American players, Japanese athletes are generally more reserved and don’t like to gloat. But you’ll occasionally see a fist-pump, called a gattsu poozu (ガッツポーズ,) when a player comes up big in the clutch. This comes from the English words “guts” and “pose.” Non-athletes will sometimes pull a ガッツポーズ when they are proud of a funny joke they make or an idea that gets the approval of their peers. Baseball talk is often sprinkled throughout casual conversation, so to avoid being thrown a curveball (henkakkyu), below is a glossary of baseball terms that are sure to help you next time you catch a game (shiai).
|infield / outfield||内野 / 外野||naiya / gaiya|
|1st/2nd/3rd base||一塁 / 二塁 / 三塁||ichi-rui / ni-rui / san-rui|
|left field||左翼 / レフト||sayoku / refuto|
|center field||中堅 / センター||chuuken / sentaa|
|right field||右翼 / ライト||uyoku / raito|
|home run||ホームラン / 本塁打||hoomuran / hon-rui da|
|walk||四球 / フォアボール||shikyuu / foa-booru|
|beanball||死球 / デッドボール||shikyuu / deddo-booru|