In a live interview before the New York Mets opening day game against the Atlanta Braves, Tsuyoshi Shinjo had me laughing with his answers and remarks. The interviewer happened to be one of the most respected members of the Japanese media.

The interviewer was completely thrown off by many of Shinjo's replies and at times seemed to be shocked by them as shown by the long pauses in speech and expression on his face. However, I did feel that a lot of the questions asked were negative and possibly trying to put Shinjo down.

I don't remember word for word or order 100%, but this what I remember and the impression that I got.

  • When asked about and compared to Ichiro Suzuki of the Seattle Mariners, he replied that he doesn't have any particular interest in Ichiro. He is in the major league for himself and the New York Mets. He insisted the two are not rivals, just baseball players. If comparisons are going to be made, compare the two to everyone in the majors, not as Japanese players in particular. He emphasized that Ichiro is a professional and feels the same way.

  • When asked about and comparisions were made about his new surroundings, he said that it is taking time to adjust, but he isn't worried about it at all. He is confident that because he has a positive attitude and wants to succeed, he can. Shinjo remarked that comparisons cannot be made between the US and Japan because they are completely different. He also said that English is a problem, but laughed about it. Engrish is difficult.

  • When asked about his recent marriage and his wife, he said things are great. Next, asked about how she is doing overseas, he answered that she has been in Japan the whole time and has no plans to live in the US. The interviewer was visibly shocked! Shinjo remarked that he is in the US to work and needs to concentrate solely on baseball because of his want to succeed and meet his goals - a VERY Japanese answer if I say so myself.

  • When asked about how difficult travel is because of the long distance, he replied no problem because in Japan it is much worse. Again, the interviewer was visibly shocked! Shinjo explained that the teams travel by charter airplane and bus; fast and efficient. Remember, japan is crowded and planes, trains, and highways are a pain.

  • When asked if spring training is difficult and if he was working hard, He replied no. The interviewer almost fell out of his chair. Shinjo explained that in the big leagues, they know that the season is long and hard and requires stamina, so practice isn't overdone like it is in Japan.

  • Overall, the interviewer seemed shocked at Shinjo's positive replies and good way of thinking. Finally, the interviewer asked what is bad about living by himself in a different country.


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