Fate led a Canadian in Ashiya to be swooned by the pinstripes. His name is Trevor Raichura (42) and he is a self-proclaimed Nicholas Cage look-alike university English instructor. (Note: I myself do not think I look like Cage… but Japanese people seem to!) He’s only been a fan for 4 years, but his love for the team has reached the point that he shares team news with the world on his website. He’s an expert Japanese reader and writer, and of course, he is a faithful reader of Daily Sports. So how did he get hooked? We tracked him down to find out about his “Hanshin LOVE.”
He first came to Okinawa in the summer of 1998. After that, he moved on to Hokkaido. At this point there was still no encounter with Hanshin, but in May 2010, on his way back to Japan from Canada, he met a woman on the flight from Vancouver to Tokyo, and his destiny changed.
He moved to Kobe in July 2011 and got married the next March. While working at an all-boys school, surrounded by Hanshin fans, his wife Tomoko (note: fictitious name) gave him Tigers tickets for his birthday in June 2014, and he went to Koshien for the first time.
“It was during interleague, and Shohei Ohtani happened to be on the mound. If I remember right, he held us to one hit in 8 innings.” A blowout loss, but something about the atmosphere at Koshien and its passionate Tigers fans reminded him of an almost forgotten feeling. Indeed, he had experienced that same feeling while passionately cheering for his hometown Winnipeg Jets (NHL) as a kid.
“It’s like I had been searching for it all along.”
He’s the kind of guy that, when he likes something, he goes all in. He dreamed of being a sports journalist during his adolescence. Just watching the game is not enough. He started up an English website, Hanshin Tigers English News, at first concentrating mainly on the import players at that time (Matt Murton, Randy Messenger, etc.) and moving on to other players, cheer songs (plus translations), and more.
“I’m no Takashi Toritani, but I watch pretty much every single Hanshin game.” He’s also read a whole lot of Tigers-related books, and has reported on legendary imports like Mike Solomko and Gene Bacque, and also shared some of the top legends and moments in team history, too.
“Helping people understand about Fumio Fujimura‘s ‘laundry pole bat’ or the back-to-back-to-back homers to dead center, even Takenori Emoto’s ‘I can’t play with idiots for coaches’ quote. It’s not enough to just know the present team. I need to go deeper.”
He’s making connections with the import players, and is fluent in Japanese. He can read and write without an issue, and even knows how to play both sides of a Japanese comedy duo. His next goal is to pass the Tigers Proficiency Test. He also dreams of being a Tigers celebrity.
“I want to be more than just another Hanshin fan. It would be awesome if I could make a living from doing what I do now. I love Hanshin because the team resembles a lot of people’s lives. The good times don’t always last very long, but it’s also not all bad times, either.” He’s reached the edge of the frontier. So tainted by the pinstripes that he’s got us a little worried.
Daily Sports Contract Reporter Toshiyuki Kobayashi
About Trevor Raichura:
- Born June 14, 1975 in Winnipeg, Canada.
- Graduated from University of Manitoba with a Bachelor of Education.
- Came to Japan (Okinawa) in 1998, currently lives in Ashiya.
- Has Kanji Proficiency Level 3, Japanese Language Proficiency Level N1.
- Height: 183 cm.
- Weight: 83 kg.
- Throws: Left.
- Bats: Right.
- Blood Type: A.
- Family of 4 (wife and two sons)