Nippon Ham Fighters

Handkerchief Prince Saito Yuki is worth a stare

Of course I have no interest in watching sports. Athletes, on the other hand, are a perfect invitation for gazing and dreaming. Recently I learned about this famous Nippon Ham Fighters pitcher, a former Waseda high school and college star who has been nicknamed the handkerchief prince. Apparently he sweats a lot, and needs to frequently mop up.

These random photos attest to his professional achievements and gaze-worthy presence. I am not sure why these semi-naked photos are online, although I think wearing only lycra fluorescent underwear makes acupuncture more effective.

Who are your favorite athletes? Which university has the best men’s hair and fashion? Is any sports team better named than Nippon Ham Fighters?

 

Marriage Hunting, or Failed Heterosexuality?

Konkatsu bra

This image is priceless: it’s a “konkatsu bra” in which inserting a ring stops the marriage deadline countdown and plays a congratulatory wedding march. I love how Japan always introduces new sociological terms, and this one is a winner. “Konkatsu” is a combination of the words “wedding” and “activity,” and means “marriage hunting.”

In addition to negative reproduction rates, Japan also has remarkably low marraige rates: from 1975 to 2005, the numbers of unmarried people have risen 14% to 47% for men aged 30 to 34 and from 8% to 32% for women.

Sociologist Yamada Masahiro and journalist Shirakawa Tohko invented the term and sold over 170,000 copies of their book Konkatsu Jidai (The Era of Marriage Hunting). The authors believe that marriage must be actively sought. There are now konkatsu magazines, a television show, bars, shrines, and even a special section of the Nippon Ham Fighters baseball stadium catering to this new goal.

Supposedly women are too busy focused on careers, while men are less aggressive because of money concerns and job insecurity. One woman quoted in the Wall Street Journal article, despite her failed efforts at marriage hunting, somehow imagines that “marriage is like permanent employment.” Apparently, women far outnumber men in “marriage hunting” events.

I find this term and newly defined phenomenon incredibly funny. Maybe Japan would have better luck with its marriage rates if it allowed and actively promoted gay, lesbian and trans marriage. Or maybe marriage is just not that desirable. My guess is that the government will next promote out of wedlock procreation. Gambate, Nihon!

Favorite new ikemen, Darvish Yu

Enough ugliness. I just discovered a hot new idol, Darvish Yu, pitcher for the Nippon Ham Fighters. Wow! Baseball cannot hold my attention for long, but I am swayed by the combo of this Japanese-Iranian ikemen (イケメン) and the most wonderful baseball team name ever.

Maybe this star pitcher can heal the recent competition between Japan and Iran for the 2 year UN Security Council seat.

Go, Nippon Ham Fighters!