Hanshin's Paper Tigers

When I returned late this summer to western Japan, where I've been living on and off for 16 years, I felt more than ever like a post-modern Rip Van Winkle. Certain things are constant in life, and never more so than in tradition-loving Japan. Hello Kitty will never speak. The girls on Japanese TV shows, not very different, will be asked only to look pretty and say, "Is that so?" The trains are always on time. And the Hanshin Tigers, beloved baseball team of Japan's brawling, boisterous second city of Osaka, are always very close to last place in the Central...

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