Essays from Participants
*Some parts of the essays are omitted due to the limited space.
27nd World Children's Baseball Fair 2017 in Yokohama
Female, Age 11, From Chiba (ID No.5498)
At the beginning of the baseball clinic, I cried because I did not know how to play baseball at all and it was so difficult. But then, a friend from a foreign country came to me and hugged me, saying “it’s alright.” When she hugged me, I felt very relieved and thought hugging can make people happy. I want to do the same when my friends are down.
Because many people at the fair taught me how to play baseball with kindness, I like baseball very much now thanks to them! I also made very close friends at the fair and I feel like I could get over any tough situation in my future if they are there. Friendship is wonderful!
"Treasures of My Life"
Male, Age 11, From Tokyo (ID No.5507)
When I first arrived at the dormitory, I was very nervous. But after all the Assistant Coaches and Host Staff gave us a warm welcome, my nervousness went away and the very fun week started. At the baseball clinic, sliding practice on a wet tarp was so much fun. It felt very nice getting soaking wet and I tried it many times.
Life at the dormitory was very fun too. I enjoyed talking with friends from other countries using body-language. The souvenirs that I exchanged with them, like traditional things from their home country, are treasures I will keep my whole life! I learned lots of things through the 9 days and I am ready to make the most of it to become a good baseball player. I also want to come back to help the WCBF when I grow up. So, I will study English hard to become one of the Host Staff in the future.
"PPAP All Together!"
Male, Age 11, From Gifu (ID No.5518)
My favorite memory of the WCBF was the Goodwill Party. Our group performed PPAP at the talent show and it was the most memorable moment when I tried to get people up on the stage in middle of the performance, almost everyone came up and we all danced together. It was also so much fun to talk to friends from other countries at the dormitory and it’s very good to know that they all have different lifestyles. It was a good experience!
In an exchange event, we rode an amphibious bus called the SKY DUCK. It was my first time riding it and the city view from the bay was very beautiful. I want to try that again.
Entering Yokohama Stadium for the Opening Ceremony was awesome too.
I will never forget everything I learned at the WCBF. Thank you very much for the opportunity.
"Cambodia, First Time in the WCBF (2017)"
Male, Age 11, From Cambodia (ID No.5438)
One day before the fair, our baseball coach told us that 5 children from Cambodia had been invited to the World Children’s Baseball Fair being held in Japan but only those who were 10 or 11 years old would be able to participate. Then, as soon as I found my name on the list, I yelled “Thank you coach!” and swore to myself three things - to learn and practice baseball very hard, to make many friends throughout the world, and to spend a memorable time with them.
Once I arrived in Japan, I was very surprised because it was so clean everywhere I went. I didn’t see much garbage on the streets.
I experienced a lot of things during our stay in Japan. I was especially very happy to be able to enjoy baseball practice so much, make many friends, and eat delicious Japanese food.
Many thanks to Mr. Oh, the organizers, and all the staff members of the WCBF. I will try hard to spread baseball in Cambodia and hopefully it will be more popular in the future.
"The Happy 9 Days"
Female, Age 11, From U.S.A (ID No.5489)
This opportunity was major for me. Meeting all of these new people from all corners of the world, was incredibly empowering. I was so scared, and I was really sad that I was leaving my parents, to go to Japan on my own. But those same tears happened when we were leaving for our flight home. Everyone had grown on each other, and loved each other as if we were extended family. I felt the same way. I remember almost everyone in the dormitory, coming out and reaching up to the bus we were in when we were leaving, trying to give a high five or even touch again. I was forever gifted at these moments, meeting and living with all of these people. Everybody was loving and kind. There are not enough words to describe all of this.
WCBF also gave my friends and I, some goodies to remember it by (as if they didn’t give enough already!). WCBF was over generous, but I was very happy, all the time. They got us food, clothing, a place to stay, field trips, multiple parties, extra goodies, transportation, and of course, baseball clinics.
Sadaharu Oh, Akiko Agishi, Hank Asron and many, many others, I am grateful that you chose me, Mikey (my chaperone), and everybody else that was here for WCBF2017. I hope this organization will continue for many more years. I will forever remember my experiences. I can’t say thank you, or arigato gozaimasu, enough.
"I want to Go Back to Yokohama!"
Male, Age 11, From Italy (ID No.5470)
I started playing baseball this year, and the experience in Japan has been something for me that I will never forget. I wanted to last longer. I met nice people, and I learned a lot from all the workouts. The organization was excellent in every respect. It was nice to know kids from other countries, and I really enjoyed going to the stadium and attending the game of a very strong Team. Yokohama is a wonderful city, I hope one day to return. I heartily thank the organizers, the coaches, the accompaniers and all those who care about us because even though we were away from our families, they made us feel a much more family member great. Finally I thank those who chose me and game me this important opportunity.
"Love Japanese Food!"
Male, Age 11, From Chinese Taipei (ID No.5449)
In the 9 days at the fair, I have met many people from other countries. They are all very kind, passionate and easy going. They gave me small souvenir gifts from their country. The food provided at the camp was very tasty. Every time I ate 2 bowls of curry rice. When I came back my mother said that I gained weight while in Japan. I thank the Chinese Taipei Baseball Association for choosing me to participate in this event and also thank Mr. Sadaharu Oh for organizing such a great event and giving me an opportunity to get to know baseball better.
"Our Son Participated in the WCBF"
From France, Parent of a Participant (ID No.5454)
He came back so happy and proud to show us the DVD you prepared for them and their close family and friends, it was such a good idea the music the videos it’s all perfect to give us an idea of how fantastic and joyful this trip was for them we know it by heart!!!!
He loved all his baseball trainings, improved a lot and felt very motivated to play once back in France!
He met good friends and he will never forget this human sportive adventure for sure!
He was so happy and proud of his brand new gear his baseball bag full of surprises he didn’t want to wear any other T shirts and shorts than yours the ones of WCBF the whole end of summer!!!!! And he keeps the memories fresh into his mind even once back to school thanks to the WCBF Watch he can’t leave!!!!
As parents we wanted to thank you too for all the efforts you made for all the kids you took care of them the way parents dreamt of having their kids being taken care of!
It was hard to know him/ them far away from us but knowing them so happy made it easier...
My son will never forget this exceptional adventure just like all the kids who participated from all countries I suppose so again A BIG THANK YOU for him and all of them you deserve to know they lived just in a big dream for a few days thanks to all of you!
22nd World Children's Baseball Fair 2012 in Mie, Nara & Wakayama
"I want to play baseball again with my friends from the world!"
From Mie, Age 11, Male [ID No.4829]
During the fair, I was in the same group with team Venezuela at the baseball clinics. We practiced together every day. They were all tall, powerful and played very well. I had the most fun at the "Fly-ball station." At first I was not sure about my skills but I caught the ball twice out of three times! Also, I stayed in the same room with Czech kids and we had fun playing with yo-yos for more than one hour. It was sad when we had to say farewell. We cried and took many pictures. I will treasure the T-shirt and the hat with lots of signatures of friends I made at the fair. I wish we can meet and play baseball again when we grow up.
"Baseball connects the world together."
From Nara, Age10, Male [ID No.4873]
I lost one of my teammates by the typhoon Talas last year. When I heard about this fair, I wished I could do something for our team and myself so I decided to apply for it. On the last day of the baseball clinics, we played games all day, and my team was a mixed-team of Japanese and Fijian friends. I was very nervous at first because I was assigned a position that I had never played. Plus, I was not even sure if we could manage "team play," but we all tried very hard cheering and covering each other, and as a result, I felt like the bonds of our team were tightened and we won all the games! We were so excited with a lot of hi-fives. I really felt that we can go beyond the language barrier through baseball and it connects the world all together! I thank you so much for holding the WCBF in Mie, Nara, and Wakayama to cheer up people in those stricken areas. Holding these wonderful memories in my heart, I will try my best to become the best baseball player who leads team Japan in the future.
"Friends of different languages."
From Wakayama, Age10, Female [ID No.4840]
There are two things about participating in the fair that I was glad the most. One is that I had a lot of fun playing baseball. I was very anxious at first if I could follow the other friends at the clinics because I had never played baseball before and I had played catch only a few times. On the very first day of the clinics, my day started kind of tense but the coaches taught me very nicely even when I did not understand or did not do well. Thanks to them, I came to like the practice, day by day. My other favorite thing is that I made friends with many people from different countries. The beginning was exchanging presents. I enjoyed going door to door with Japanese friends exchanging presents and I was very happy when they looked pleased receiving my present. I was so glad that I made many friends even though I did not understand their languages. It was very sad to say good-bye to them on the very last day and I did not want to leave at all. I really enjoyed taking part in the WCBF!!
"Next will be my turn!"
From Nara, Age 10, Male [ID No.4845]
I made a lot of new friends at the baseball fair. I was nervous when I first met new people but it did not take long until my tension went away, as soon as we started talking together. Now, I really feel it was great to be chosen for the fair. Staff members were so nice and I even made friends with foreign people! I think about them every day. Shortly after the fair, I received a DVD of a bunch of pictures and a letter from my host staff. Also, a friend who lives in the same prefecture came to visit me after the fair. I miss them all. I wish I could go back in the time I was there. Every day was awesome and I know the memories will last for a lifetime. I will keep playing baseball and, in the future, I would like to be one of the WCBF staff to teach baseball to children.
"My lifetime memories."
From Chiba, Age11, Male [ID No.4874]
I made friends with many people from the world through the WCBF. We got up early in the morning to play catch, played mini baseball games during spare time, and even talked about our future. We spent important moments together. We played a game at the end of the baseball clinic every day. We could not win for the beginning few days, however, on the last day, I felt like our passion became as one and we won all three games! Then, I thought great teamwork could beat any talented teams. I believe we won the games with our teamwork and smiles. I will cherish the bonds of our friendship we made during the 9 days. Participating in this fair will be my lifetime memories!
"I really enjoyed this Fair."
From India, Age 10, Male [ID No.4771]
I really enjoyed my visit to Japan—it was even better than I had imagined! I liked staying at the Youth Center and I liked the staff there too. I loved the techniques of teaching baseball of the IBAF coaches. It was amazing to see how we were welcomed by the hosts and they saw us off. I know that Japanese people are very kind and I am grateful for the opportunity that you have provided to so many children like me to visit your beautiful country. I hope many of you will visit our country too and meet me when you do! Arigato gozaimasu!
"My memorable baseball experience in Japan."
From New Zealand, Age11, Male [ID No.4782]
Thank you for that fun and memorable baseball experience. I had the most fun I have ever had. The games after the training felt like a reward. The best thing on the trip was the beach day. I liked the yellow watermelon because it was just like the normal watermelon except a different color. The food there was amazing I especially liked the bento box. I made new friends and had heaps of fun. Someday I would like to come back and help the WCBF train the future children. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to come to Japan and learn more baseball skills.
"I really like Japan."
From Cote d'Ivoire, Age 10, Male [ID No.4747]
Letters from Previous WCBF Participants
17th World Children's Baseball Fair 2006 in Hokkaido
Bram Grooten [ID No.3814: Netherlands]
In 2006 I participated at the World Children's Baseball Fair in Sapporo, Japan. It was an awesome experience! I really liked the clinics and the little games with kids from all over the world. Also the food was really nice. With the four boys and one girl from the Netherlands, we had our own Japanese mentor/assistant/supporter: Yuki Ota. He was so kind! I still have contact with him on facebook. Also with other kids around the world, we email sometimes. The trip to the robot museum is also something I didn't forget. It was really cool, they even had a robot fish! And we made some more great trips, to the Sapporo Dome for example.
I am 17 years old now and I still play baseball of course. I'm in the fifth class at a high school in Eindhoven, the Netherlands. School's going great, and so is baseball. When I was 15 I played at the European Championship for age under 16. We finished in 3rd place. Today I was watching the Netherlands at the WBC (World Baseball Classic). They played very well, and I hope to play at the WBC myself when I'm older.
It would be really nice if the WCBF was organized in the Netherlands once in a while. I would really like to help organize the Fair, or give clinics, or be a mentor for a group. But that would be when I'm a little bit older probably.
Because I'm almost finished with my high school in the Netherlands (one year to go), I'm searching for colleges in America. My plan is to go there and follow a decent study and of course play a whole lot of baseball! After that, I want to get to the next level... the fun of baseball will always live!
12th World Children's Baseball Fair 2001 in Ishikawa
Louis Gillet [ID No.2805: Belgium]
WCBF, this amazing gathering of young people from all over the world. I remember when my baseball club "Brussels Kangaroos" came and asked me, "Louis, do you want to try taking part of a international adventure in Japan ?" But did you just say ... Japan ?! At that time, I only was 11 years old. I had never been so far away from my country, Belgium. And afterwards came this national competition that needed to select 5 young lucky buddies in order to launch them into the WCBF experience. I'm so grateful that I've had this privilege. This was an unbelievable opportunity to meet new people accross the world. But not only teenagers, adults as well. We did so much activities, it was a deep cultural exchange. Learning new habits, food, manners, music, dances, cultural heritage from this beautiful country that is Japan. This event was so well organized, we were an enormous community. I gained maturity and became more open-minded. Today this baseball fair reminds me how lucky I am having took part of the WCBF 2001 edition. Today, I keep in touch with a very nice person called Kampei who is a Japanese coach that I met in Kanazawa. He said we would see again, later. Firstly, I didm't believed him. But actually, we did. Many years later, he did knock on my door in Brussels and we spent an afternoon reminding all those good memories. Those moments are the most valuable. Now, at the age of 23, I'm finishing my studies in Marketing. I am not playing baseball in a club any longer but maybe later I'll join one as I miss this sport. I spend most of my time playing music that is my passion. If this essay let me the opportunity to write down many great memories, I would like to use it in order to thank all the WCBF's organizers that are giving so much time and energy for young generations. Mixing sport and culture is very inspirational and make us living in a better world. Thank You WCBF !