Former Nippon Pro Baseball home-run king Takashi Yamasaki tries to hit a 186 mph (300 km/hour) fastball from a pitching machine. Skip to 3:29 for the fun part. (SLYT, Japanese)
Japanese baseball's single-season home run record has been broken. Set by the legendary Sadaharu Oh (still holder of the world career home run record) in 1964, it stood for 49 years. In recent years, several players had come close to breaking it... only to be walked for the rest of the season, by teams managed by Oh himself. The record was broken by Wladimir Balentien, who's from Curaçao -- an island familiar to baseball fans partly for its oddball names which combine Dutch, Papiamentu, and other influences. In affectionate tribute, Notgraphs published this guide to figuring out your Curaçaoan name.
Sadako throws out the first pitch at a baseball game - undoubtedly you'll want a Sadako Hair Dog and Sadako Well Water after watching that, just be careful when you order it.
Tomohiro Anraki might be the next big Japanese pitcher, if he manages to survive high school baseball in Japan. [more inside]
Kei Igawa arrived in the US with a lot of fanfare in 2007. After failing miserably with the Yankees, he was sent to the minor leagues. Since then, he has existed in an uncomfortable limbo, not completely part of either world.
A touch screen you don't touch. From Ishikawa Komuro Laboratory at the University of Tokyo, a gesture-controlled handheld device that responds thereminically to the motion of a finger held above the screen. Watch to the end for the remarkable 3-d painting app. From the people who brought you the pitching, batting, and dribbling robots. Previous Ishikawa awesomeness on Metafilter.
Besuboru Bromides (Japanese Baseball Cards) from the collection of John Gall, as featured at A Journey Round My Skull. Here is an earlier essay by Gall about Japanese baseball cards.
Now that the "World Series" is over, you can enjoy Joe Posnanski's coverage of the Japan Series in the Kansas City Star (on account of Nippon Ham Fighters coach Trey Hillman going to coach the KC Royals in 2008.) It's great to see Posnanski's perspective of Japanese baseball as he compares and contrasts American and Japanese baseball. It's also interesting to see American mass media cover Japanese sports when the Japanese mass media is going ga-ga over the US World Series (due to 3 Japanese players, Matsuzaka, Matsui and Okajima being in the finals.)
Check out this soccer/baseball stadium. You can fold the baseball field and roll in the soccer one. Animation here. Amazing.