Ichiro on TV: 1995 Japanese Documentary

Here’s an hour-plus, up-close-and-personal doc following a wide-eyed, 22-year-old Ichiro on a visit to America (his first?) in December 1995. It’s broken into ten clips — I can’t find the first one, so we’ll start with the second. After a montage of childhood baseball photos and some Orix-era footage, we see Ichiro visit a California youth baseball camp, where he meets Reggie Smith and Tommy Lasorda (Ichiro’s wearing a too-big Dodgers Starter jacket; what’s that “h” on his cap?)…

Then Ichiro plays catch with and gets fielding tips from a condescending Lasorda. Afterwards, Ichiro takes a sunset horseback ride on a SoCal beach…

This next clip isn’t embeddable (probably because of the Roy Orbison song), so watch it on YouTube, where you can see Ichiro ride in a convertible around Rodeo Drive and Hollywood Boulevard, and then take in the Universal Studios tour. At clip’s end, he enjoys the December 19, 1995 Ducks/Sharks hockey game in Anaheim…

After the game, Ichiro flies to Cincinnati to dine at a Japanese restaurant with the Ken Griffey Jr. It’s the first time Ichiro meets his idol, who he would play with on the Mariners 14 years later. In his Tom & Jerry sweater, Ichiro talks shop with Griffeys Junior and Senior, and they exchange baseball-themed gifts…

Ichiro then travels to Chicago where he chows down on steak at Michael Jordan’s Restaurant, wearing a different (but equally silly) Tom & Jerry sweater…

Ichiro finishes his steak, then shops for Air Jordans at Niketown, where he displays his basketball ineptitude…

Next Ichiro hangs out during practice at the Bulls’ suburban training facility, and carves a turkey at a Christmas house party…

The documentary, likening Jordan’s dominance in American basketball to Ichiro’s dominance in Japanese baseball, builds to a meeting between the two. So, after watching a warmup before the December 22, 1995 Bulls/Raptors game, a nervous, starstruck Ichiro finally meets a cool, detached Jordan for an awkward, translator-assisted conversation…

This next clip isn’t embeddable either (probably because of the awful Billy Joel song), so watch it on YouTube, where you can watch Ichiro watch the Bulls game. Lastly, he goes to New York, where he buys a hot dog from a Times Square street vendor and reflects on his American odyssey…

Thanks to letsgomeiden for posting these clips.

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One response to “Ichiro on TV: 1995 Japanese Documentary

  1. Pingback: Ichiro and the Sonics | Super Ichiro Crazy!

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