Kuwata's curve is "sushi-ball". Are all Japanese sushi?
7, 09. 2007
The curve thrown by U.S. Pirates' pitcher Masumi Kuwata is called "sushi-ball" by a local newspaper. Kuwata himself calls it "rainbow curve" and he seems rather perplexed by the use of the word sushi. It is not the first time, however, that a Japanese is called sushi in the United States. There is even a player who decided to use "Sushi" as his playing name. It may be that every Japanese is sushi to Americans.
The pitch is like sushi no one can guess what is coming.
The word "sushi" is conspicuous in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article on Kuwata
The local newspaper in Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, carried on June 26, 2007 a special article on Kuwata, who is active as a relief pitcher.
Titled "Kuwata's sushi-ball has the raw material", the article said Kuwata should call his pitch sushi-ball and gave the reason why:
"Like the seaweed that wraps the traditional Japanese dish, the pitch rolls unpredictably and not very attractively as it approaches home plate. "Like the varieties of raw fish and rice inside, no one can guess what is coming."
The article mentions that a Japanese reporter told the newspaper that Kuwata called it "rainbow curve" during a spring training, but it was completely ignored, and Post-Gazette carried the article with an illustration of a rolled sushi that seemed like the California roll.
Kuwata's curve is not the only thing that has been given a name connected with sushi. Naohiro Takahara, Japan's soccer player now plays for Entracht Frankfurt in German Bundesliga, was called "sushi bomber" by the local newspaper Hamburger Morgenpost when he previously jointed Hamburger SV in the same German league in January 2003. Taking advantage of the nickname given to Takahara, sushi lunch boxes were sold at the soccer stadium. Takahara himself, however, seemed perplexed.
The Hochi Shimbun news paper on June 28, 2007 reported a comment Kuwahara made when he knew of his pitch was called sushi-ball:
"I like rainbow. They say there is happiness beyond a rainbow, don't they? This means there is happiness where I throw a curve."
Professional golfer who performs "sushi dance"
An official at a major operator of conveyor belt sushi bar chain, interviewed by J-CAST, said, "Well, (what you are telling me) means that sushi has penetrated into the American culture." It seems that "sushi is Japan, Japan is sushi" is a common concept also in Japan. The Japanese people in general do not seem to have any deep feeling, however, about the "sushi-ball" incident.
There is a professional golfer, on the other hand, who made his playing name Sushi. He is Sushi Ishigaki who changed the name from Satoshi Ishigaki to the present name in 2002. According to the official profile of the Japan Golf Tour:
"Instead of the name which is difficult for non-Japanese to pronounce, the nickname 'Sushi', which is easily identifiable as Japanese, was used and was officially registered in Japan in 2002. He became popular as he performed 'sushi dance' whenever he succeeded in improving his score."
Identifying Japanese with sushi may not sound artful, but it could be used as a tool to get some attention.