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Web Exclusive: The Keller/Cloney Japan Diaries, Part 6

Posted: June 20, 2011 3:44 p.m.
Updated: June 20, 2011 3:44 p.m.

J.C. Cloney and Ryan Keller aboard a train in Japan

 

Newly graduated West Ranch High pitcher Ryan Keller and West Ranch pitcher and senior-to-be J.C. Cloney are embarking on quite an adventure.

The teenagers are pitching in Japan as part of the 2011 USA-Japan Friendship Series from Sunday until Wednesday, in Tokyo and Osaka.

Only 18 players were chosen for the series.

Keller and Cloney are sending us a diary that will run exclusively on the-signal.com. They will touch on various topics from both on and off the field.

Some of the players representing the U.S. were selected based off of playing at the Major League Baseball Urban Youth Academy in Compton.

All are considered some of the best players in the country.

The following is Cloney’s second diary entry.


June 20
Today was a travel day from Tokyo to Osaka, Japan. So in the morning, we had some free time before leaving to catch our train. Ryan and I, along with some of the other players on the team, decided to walk around Tokyo near our hotel. While walking, we came upon a local high school and the assistant principal happened to have lived in San Jose and was now living in Tokyo.

He took us on a tour of the school and showed us around. He told us that in Japan, the teachers give instructions first and then the students are on their own to do the work with little interaction. This was a high school with only 300 kids in it. He also mentioned that the teachers move from class to class and the students remain in one room.

After walking around, we went back to the hotel for the two-block walk to the bullet train. Unlike home, the times listed for the trains are exact and don’t deviate. When the train doors open to get on or off the train, you’d better be ready to move as the trains stay for only a short time and leave even if you are not on board. The train that goes about 200 miles per hour took us to Osaka, Japan. During the trip, we saw much of the countryside with many rice patties and other crops. We passed Mount Fugi, but the weather was overcast and we could not see it.

When we arrived in Osaka, we immediately went to the Mizuno store. The store is a sponsor of our trip. They let us go through the store and shop. The store is eight floors high, each with a specific theme. The fourth floor was all baseball. We all spent time looking for more baseball gear and asking one of our teammates, who speaks Japanese, what everything said.

After shopping, we went to our new hotel and then were allowed to go out on our own in Osaka for dinner. We went to McDonald’s for a burger after eating sushi and other Japanese food for the last four days. We then walked the streets around our hotel to see the sights. What a difference, there is no graffiti and no trash on the streets.

Tomorrow we tour a temple, and we have our next game on Wednesday.

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