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Web exclusive: The Keller/Cloney Japan Diaries, Part 11

Posted: June 26, 2011 3:36 p.m.
Updated: June 26, 2011 3:36 p.m.

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

The teenagers recently returned from Japan, where they pitched as part of the 2011 USA-Japan Friendship Series in Tokyo and Osaka.

Only 18 players were chosen for the series.

Keller and Cloney sent us a diary each day that runs exclusively on They touched 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 their final diary entry.

June 25
Today is our last day in Japan. Soon, we will be leaving for the airport to travel back home. But before we leave, we thought we would share with you some of the things we found to be different in Japan than in the United States.

— Cars drive on the left side of the road. This was hard to get used to, seeing cars coming at you on your right.

— There are few trash cans anywhere to be found. People just hang on to their trash until they find one.

— You don’t see people eating while walking on the streets. I was told it is a Japanese custom to sit while eating.

— People seem to walk or ride their bikes everywhere. If they have a car, the cars are small in size.

— The bikes people ride just seem to be parked and are not always locked up.

— There aren’t very many overweight people.

— Most women don’t wear wedding rings, or at least the ones we saw didn’t.

— While eating at a restaurant, you do not pour your own drinks. It is proper for someone else to pour your drinks for you.

— It seems like everyone carries a small towel to wipe off the sweat from the very humid conditions.

— Business cards are considered very important and are handed to others with two hands. This is because of the lack of paper in the country.

— Rice is served with every meal.

— Salad is served for breakfast.

— Japanese citizens use umbrellas to block the sun and are very good at riding a bicycle while holding the umbrella and talking on a cell phone.

— We only saw one police car or policeman in the 10 days we were in Japan.

— When the baseball players speak with their coach, they take off their hat and bow.

— The infields of the baseball fields are all dirt.

— They use hand-built, flat wood racks to smooth the dirt infield.

— There isn’t much horn-honking.

— People obey the “Walk/Don’t Walk” signs.

— There is no air conditioning in the hotel hallways to save electricity.

— You see young kids, 5 to 8 years old, riding the trains by themselves or with other small children.

— They have women-only subway trains to avoid having packed trains and men bumping into women.

— There are very few fast food restaurants.

— We girls laugh, they cover their mouths. I am not sure why that is.

— When you walk into any store, all of the workers yell, “Welcome to my store” in Japanese. We noticed this in restaurants and 7-Eleven stores all over.

— You don’t have paper towels in the bathrooms. I was told this is because paper is valuable in Japan because of the little amount of land and trees on the island, so you have to air dry your hands in most places.

— You don’t see people wearing sunglasses while walking on the streets, only when driving.


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