Twins infielder Nishioka may be in for a culture shock

1:35 PM, Feb 4, 2011   |    comments
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  • Tsuyoshi Nishioka
  • Twins infielder Nishioka may be in for a culture shock
  • Twins infielder Nishioka may be in for a culture shock
  • Tsuyoshi Nishioka

MINNEAPOLIS -- There may be a bit of a cultural shock for new Twins infielder Tsuyoshi Nishioka who will be spending a lot more time in the United States and less in Japan.

If he and his wife spend any time in Minnesota during the winter, the weather may be the first thing that tells them they're not in Japan anymore.

Most of Japan just doesn't get as cold as the Midwest.

"Pretty mild, like North Carolina weather," explained Ben van Lierop of the Japan America Society of Minnesota. "He will be impressed by the frigid temperatures probably until the opening game."

Van Lierop said another distinct difference between Minnesota and Japan is space.  In Japan, space is at a premium, the country does have public parks but the space is generally shared.  Rarely do you have a park all to yourself.

"Japan is 80 percent mountainous and 20 percent flat and 80 percent of the population lives on 20 percent of the land," said van Lierop.

Japan is roughly the size of Minnesota, Wisconsin, parts of Iowa and the Dakotas, but instead of 13 million people there are nearly 130 million.

It's a place where people are essentially everywhere and because of that Nishioka may notice a distinct cultural difference as well.

"Because people live so close together (in Japan), interaction between people and the way people treat each other, they're very polite, it's a very sophisticated society because of that learning how to get along with people," described van Lierop.

For Twins fans it will be all about learning how to pronounce Tsuyoshi Nishioka, or if you prefer simply Nishioka.

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