“It was a generation,” Kuroda said through an interpreter, “when [baseball] coaches believed you should not drink water.”
Born in 1975, Kuroda is one of the last of a cohort of Japanese players who grew up in a culture in which staggeringly long work days and severe punishment were normal, and in which older players could haze younger ones with impunity.
Summer practices in the heat and humidity of Osaka lasted from 6 a.m. until after 9 p.m. Kuroda was hit with bats and forced to kneel barelegged on hot pavement for hours.
“Many players would faint in practice,” Kuroda said with the assistance of his interpreter, Kenji Nimura. “I did go to the river and drink. It was not the cleanest river, either. I would like to believe it was clean, but it was not a beautiful river.
“In order to play,” he added, “you had to survive. We were trained to build an immune system so that we could survive and play.”
Here is more, hat tip to Hugo. As I often say, I am a utility optimist and a revenue pessimist, for Japan most of all.