This year's opening ceremony at the 84th National High School Baseball Invitational Tournament was an emotional event for both players and survivors of last year's devastating earthquake and tsunami.
The tourney opened Wednesday at Koshien Stadium in Nishinomiya, Hyogo Prefecture, with a march of players from 32 schools, a regular opening event that was canceled last year in the wake of the Great East Japan Earthquake.
After the march around the stadium to the hit song "Everyday--katyusha" by the pop group AKB48, last year's winning school returned a championship flag to the organizer.
Then, Shoto Abe, captain of the Ishinomaki Technical High School in Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture, pledged fair play on behalf of the participants.
Abe's school was hit hard by the tsunami that followed the quake, as were many residents and other buildings in the prefecture.
"Through our play, let's move people, display courage and make people smile," he said. "Let's show Japan's fundamental power and human bonds."
Before the first game, students of Mie High School in Mie Prefecture in the bleachers along the baselines formed kanji reading, "Kizuna" (human bonds) and "Kokoro Hitotsu (One heart)" with the colored costumes they were wearing.
Cheering with musical instruments, which was banned last year in consideration of the region hit by the disaster, was allowed this year.
The Imperial Household Agency announced this week that it has received over 100,000 applications from individuals seeking to participate in the first ever public opening of parts of the Imperial Palace. (Japan Today )
A former judge from the Ministry of Justice is alleged to have installed a camera inside a women's toilet inside a ministry building in Kasumigaseki, people with knowledge of the matter announced on Monday, reports Sports Nippon (Apr. 22). (Tokyo Reporter )
Police in Fuso, Aichi Prefecture, said Sunday they have arrested an unemployed 38-year-old man for attempted murder after he broke into the home of his ex-girlfriend and stabbed her and her parents. (Japan Today )
Feeding black-tailed gulls has been a popular activity on the sightseeing boats that cruise around the Matsushima islets, considered to be one of the three most beautiful spots in Japan, but local authorities banned the practice this month in a bid to protect the islets' famous pine trees from withering as a result of nitrogen in the droppings of the gulls, who have bred in large numbers in the area. (The Japan News )