"Cap-throwing" to the WorldKyoto University Student's Challenge in Italy in October
PET bottle cap... throw it. There is a 19-year-old man who is giving that his all. He is Wakuya Hino, a sophomore in the Faculty of Law at Kyoto University, who goes by "Wakkyai" on social media and in his various activities. He first threw a cap at the age of 12, and since then has devoted all his energy to throwing caps, a sport that can be played "anytime, anywhere, and by anyone." This October, he is going to participate in the event "Japan Week" in Italy and perform his cap-throwing as an aspect of Japanese culture. "I want to share this pleasure with people all over the world," he said. He will launch onto the world stage with passion for caps.
■He has full control of 11 types of pitches and spends five hours a day practicing.
He controls the caps through 11 types of pitches, ranging from breaking balls which include a change-up, a slider, a forkball and others, to a rising ball which draws a rising trajectory. We got him to actually throw some caps. Holding a cap between the thumb and the middle finger of his right hand, he stared directly at the camera. "I'll throw a straight ball." The flipped cap left his fingertips, flying toward the camera while rotating at high speed. It was so fast. "I want to stick to my preference of throwing straight balls. Here's one more," he said at the moment he threw his second pitch. This time, it was a strike right down the middle, directly hitting the lens of the camera and Hino looked satisfied.
Hino went to the United States with his family at the age of one and had lived on the outskirts of Los Angeles until he was 17. During a class when he was 12, he was toying with the bottle cap of a sports drink he was drinking, and hit on the idea, "Maybe I can throw this." Then, he threw it casually, aiming at a trash can in the corner of his classroom. The cap crossed the classroom and fell into the trash box with a slight swishing sound. "That felt fantastic." From that day, he has been crazy about throwing bottle caps and some days has even kept throwing them for five hours.
■Puzzling difference after returning to Japan
Hino, who grew up in the United States, was determined to learn politics at a university in Japan and returned to Japan at the age of 17. "The difference in PET bottle caps hit me harder than any other ones in language and lifestyle," he said. American caps are flatter and bigger than Japanese ones. "An American cap looks like a small Frisbee." First, he had to become familiar with Japanese caps. So, he started training intensively again in his breaks while studying for university entrance examinations.
Then, on April 9, 2016, he poured himself into editing a video and posted it on Twitter. The roughly 30-second-long video titled "Cap Nage Koza," or a course on cap-throwing, was instantly shared on SNS. It got more than 3 million views. "It's so interesting." "Wakkyai is amazing." "I want to try cap-throwing." He replied to the overflowing complimentary messages on SNS, saying "I was excited. Throwing caps is great, isn't it? I realized again just how fun it is."
■Hopes to share Cap-throwing to the world
As the founder of cap-throwing, he wants many more people to know its pleasure. He founded the group "Kyoto University Cap Throwing Circle" at Kyoto University where he enrolled. Approximately 70 members are now throwing caps together. He has been featured on TV programs several times, and has even played against a former pro baseball player in a cap-throwing battle and struck him out.
In the event "Japan Week" held in Torino, Italy, he will demonstrate cap-throwing, joining traditional ones such as for tea ceremony, Noh, and ancient court music. "If there is a bottle cap, anyone can enjoy it as the best way to kill time; a minor sport, a major possibility."(Translated by Mie Hiuzon, Psyche et l’Amour, Inc.)