Americans have earned a certain reputation abroad as miserable guests while on vacation. (Miserable guests but lucrative ones, even with the falling dollar.) We travel thousands of miles to enjoy McDonald’s with funky new menus or gussied up local fare with an American twist. (”Of course you can have ketchup with your couscous. I’ll get right on that, son of a jackal.”)
(Next up: karaoke! Do you have Aerosmith?)
Worse yet, we come stomping into local traditions and demand them to bend to our will. Dustin Pedroia, raised in California and semi-matriculated at Arizona State, certainly would have preferred a little cooperation from the Japanese during the Red Sox’s exhibition game against the Hanshin Tigers. You see, the Japanese are too loud when they watch baseball. Poor kid.
“About 30 minutes before the game, Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia stood in the dugout working over the handle of his bat with a pine tar rag. Out of nowhere, a blunt noise filled the stadium. Pedroia pirouetted toward left field. A band of Tigers fans in left field had begun a chant. Then drums joined in. Then a horn. And clapping.
“What the (expletive) is that?” Pedroia asked.
Get used to it, he was told. That’s Japanese baseball.
The answer seemed not to suffice.
“Shut up!” Pedroia yelled toward the fans.”
Hint to Dustin: They’re Japanese. Even if they could hear you, most don’t speak English worth a damn. Way to perpetuate the stereotype.
Apparently, the Red Sox couldn’t cover everything in their briefings about the trip, especially with the Eugene V. Debs impersonation just before travel time over coaches’ compensation. Still, we hope Dustin’s delicate constitution wasn’t too upset by the experience. After all, we hate to see him lose his appetite for octopus balls. Maybe some ketchup would help?