On October 5, Los Angeles Angels pitcher Shohei Ohtani warms up before a game against the Oakland Athletics in Oakland, California. Yoshiharu Habu, a 9-dan shogi player, once had a nightmare about a match.
Certain of his victory, he inadvertently made the illegal move of nifu by dropping a pawn, or fu, to a file where another pawn of his was already in place.
He woke with a start, realizing his mistake. It was on the morning of a match.
Habu recalled this experience at an event 20 years ago, according to his book Shogi Kara Manande Kitakoto What I learned from shogi Players must outperform a multitude of rivals by striving to stay in top form and keep producing results. If they can't, they are shoved off center stage.
Habu managed to retain one of the major titles of shogi for 27 years since becoming a champion at age 20.
The need to live up to rigorous discipline is not unique to shogi players. Is Shohei Ohtani of the Los Angeles Angels capable of overcoming the enormous pressure top-flight players face?
This two-way wonder has pitched a lot of innings and made enough plate appearances to qualify for both the 2022 pitching and batting titles. He is said to be the first ballplayer to do so since 1901.
In August he matched Babe Ruth's 1918 feat of double-digit wins and homers.
Ohtani's outstanding performance has reached an entirely new dimension. In yesterday s game, fans in the stands celebrated his accomplishment with handwritten signboards, one of which was History. Ohtani remained his usual unassuming self at a post-game interview. He hopes to improve his numbers by trying harder next year and beyond, with an easy smile that even suggested quiet confidence.
Ever since he was a first-year student at Hanamaki Higashi High School in Iwate Prefecture, Ohtani has always aimed higher once he came close to reaching a goal.
He has achieved the heights of being a once-in-a-century success, but he isn't ready to rest on his laurels.
I wonder what new dreams he is going to let us see. Vox Populi, Vox Dei is a popular daily column that covers a wide range of topics, including culture, arts and social trends and developments. The column is written by the veteran Asahi Shimbun writers and provides useful insights into contemporary Japan and its culture.