Japanese baseball fans had to be up at 3am if they wanted to watch the Major League debut of Matsuzaka Daisuke (26). But it was worth the loss of sleep as Japan’s ace lived up to the massive hype that has surrounded him since he joined the Boston Red Sox five months ago. Starting away from home against the Kansas City Royals, he took the mound in almost freezing conditions, a rare experience during the Japanese baseball season. But “Dice-K” brought his own heat, delivering pitches up to 153km/h (95mph), striking out 10 batters in seven solid innings and becoming just the 10th winning debutant for the Sox. The only run he gave up was a sixth-inning homer, and that was all the Royals could put up on the scoreboard as the Red Sox took it 4-1. After the game, Matsuzaka said he was less than satisfied with his performance, but he had trouble hiding his smile as he got his first big hurdle out of the way. Next up for fans is a much anticipated duel with Ichiro and the Seattle Mariners.
• Talento and former idol singer Aida Shoko (37) has landed herself quite a catch, according to today’s issue of weekly gossip magazine “Friday”. The man in question is Aizawa Hiromitsu (37), a doctor and the third son of former politician Aizawa Hideyuki and actress Tsukasa Yoko. The couple were spotted last year shopping for furniture together but at the time denied any romance. The younger Aizawa, who until recently worked as an anethesiologist at JR Tokyo General Hospital, is said to be preparing to follow in his father’s political footsteps. Though he and Aida are said to be considering tying the knot within the year, she has yet to meet his parents, who are currently in Tottori Prefecture laying the foundations for him to run for the Diet seat lost by his father four years ago. Aida made her showbiz debut in 1988 with Suzuki Sachiko (38) as the idol duo Wink. Their title of their debut single, “Sugar Baby Love”, gives an idea of their brand of pop, but they became one of the major J-pop acts of the early 90s. They broke up in 1996 and Aida has been most visible since as a reporter and co-host of the TBS travel variety show “Sekai Ururun Taizaiki”.
• Also in today’s issue of “Friday”, popular young actor Oguri Shun (24) was recently spotted on a date with fashion model Tanaka Miho (24). They are said to have been dating since last year, when Oguri split with former Morning Musume member Yaguchi Mari, ending the relationship that forced her to quit the group.