Shohei Ohtani and Japan: It’s much more than just baseball

  • A fan of Japan's Shohei Ohtani and Lars Nootbaar cheer prior to the Pool B game between Japan and China at the World Baseball Classic (WBC) at the Tokyo Dome Thursday, March 9, 2023, in Tokyo. The paper fans read in Japanese "Mr. Ohtani Great !!" and "Tacchan (Japanese nickname for Nootbaar)." (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)

TOKYO — He’d paid about $80 for his ticket. He wore a Japan cap above a blue Los Angeles Angels jersey. And as he enthused about the sensation that is Shohei Ohtani, baseball fan Hotaru Shiromizo was talking about far more than sports.