It’s a small world

Two fans from opposite sides of the world had an ‘I can’t believe it’ moment while watching Ichiro taking batting practice before tonight’s game.

Andrew Fiori, of Boston, and Kengo, of Fukuoka, Japan, were both sporting authentic Kenji Johjima jerseys from Jojima’s days with the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks in the Japanese baseball league. Johjima is currently the catcher for the Seattle Mariners.

It took a moment for the pair to realize their coincidence. Fiori was wearing a No. 18 Matsuzaka Red Sox jersey over his Johjima jersey. He’s from Boston, after all.

Fiori admitted Johjima was not as big of a star as Matsuzaka or Ichiro, but he is loyal to the SoftBank Hawks because his girlfriend is from Fukuoka. He’s taken Japanese for four years and acted as a translator for this reporter.

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Kengo, who lives in Fukuoka, flew to Boston solely for this three-game series at Fenway Park. Like Fiori, he said he was loyal to Jojima because he played for his hometown team.

  • Ichiro and Johjima were a must-see tandem when they took batting practice before the game. Fans, the good majority of them speaking Japanese, called to the Mariner players as they took their cuts. Neither player signed autographs before leaving the field.
  • By my estimate, fans of Japanese descent made up about 50 percent of the early arrivals at Fenway today. There was a tangible buzz around the stands when Ichiro stepped onto the field for BP.