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Our Adventure in Japanese Baseball #1

Our Adventure in Japanese Baseball #1
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The end of September was both a memorable and life changing time for me and my husband. First, we found out we are expecting our first child, due June 6th. Then, a few days later, he signed to play professional baseball for the Hiroshima Toyo Carp in Japan! Talk about world’s worst planners…haha. My brain went into overdrive with all of the unknowns and questions I had. Me being a very type a personality, I wanted to go ahead and plan every detail, but couldn’t because we were going into uncharted territory.

First thing first was to start having the great baby birth debate. Where will she be born? Would my husband be able to come back to the U.S. if we decide to have the baby here? If we decide Japan, will the hospital staff speak English? Which hospital will I use? Is their medicine the same? Would our child get Japanese citizenship? So many questions went running through our brains! After speaking with the team, and other families that either play on other teams in Japan or did play in Japan, my husband and I made the decision to give birth in Japan!

The second big issue for me was what to do with our four cats. Yes four, I know, crazy cat lady! After extensive research on the rules of taking an animal to Japan, we decided that we will take one cat with us and the other three we will leave with his parents. It’s still hard to think about having to leave my fur babies for so long. They really are my kids!

 ZagurskiCats

Next I needed to ship a few boxes of American necessities. Speaking with other baseball families that have played over there for a few seasons, we were told to pack toiletries such as shampoo, toothpaste, deodorant, all medicine, and makeup. We also packed cat stuff, baby clothes, bottles, blankets, sheets, and some comforts of home like pancake mix and ranch dressing! We may have over-packed, but it’s our first time!

Unlike baseball in America, families are not allowed to come to Spring Training. Spring Training in Japan takes place in smaller villages and is a time to focus for the team. So no women allowed! Haha. So the day came where I had to take my husband to the airport to travel across the world by himself. This terrified me, since we always experience the new baseball journeys together. Also, knowing I wouldn’t see him from January until April was going to be very hard. We haven’t gone that long without seeing each other since college! Saying goodbye to my best friend was hard.

He arrived at Tokyo airport to be greeted by a college teammate who is Japanese! It was nice for him to see a familiar face, if only for a few moments. Finally making it to Hiroshima there was a bunch of press and media waiting on the American players at the hotel. They even had a birthday cake for him since it was his birthday when he landed in Japan. The Japanese are truly great fans and love baseball, so I am excited to go to the games.

 MikeZagurskiFriend

 MikeCake

I can’t wait to get over to Japan and get settled in. First item on my agenda is to find an English-speaking OB/GYN and a hospital that does epidurals, since they aren’t as common in Japan. Scary! I need the option of one at least. The team has a girl that will come to all of my appointments with me and has set up tours of three different hospitals for us to see the week when I arrive. I leave on March 29th, arrive in Tokyo on March 30th, and then take a 5 hour bullet train to Hiroshima. It will be a long couple of days, but once I get settled and adjusted to the time change, I will update you on my travel experiences and my hospital tours and interviews…

Wish me luck! 

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Lauren Zagurski Lauren Hommell Zagurski is the wife of MLB & NPB pitcher Mike Zagurski.