Page 2 staff
Hideki (Godzilla) Matsui is as much a Japanese icon as the movie monster whose nickname he shares. Nationally famous when he was still in high school, Matsui is so popular in Japan that his father runs a museum devoted only to him (it must be a Japanese thing -- Ichiro's father has a museum, too).
Matsui also has dozens of Japanese reporters tailing his every move in New York, plus Page 2 reporter Jim Caple pestering him for his responses to our 10 Burning Questions.
1. So how is it that your father started the museum devoted to you?
Matsui: There actually are a lot of people who visited my hometown and they would come to my house where my family was. They would come to the house and even ring the bell and see if anybody was there. It became a little troublesome. So we started a little museum so all the people would have somewhere to go and they wouldn't come to the house and bother my family.
1A. Which museum is better, yours or Ichiro's?
Matsui: You would have to ask a person who's been to both. I haven't been to his.
1B. Ichiro's museum has, like orthodonic work from when he was a kid. Like his retainer. Is there anything that embarrassing at your museum that you want them to get rid of?
Matsui: My essay from elementary school that I wrote. I'm telling my parents to have it moved out.
2. Which team would win a game between the Yankees and the Yomiuri Giants?
Matsui: Ask the guy above.
3. What is the biggest difference between being a Yankee and being a Yomiuri Giant?
Matsui: : If you look at it as a team, there probably isn't that much difference. The difference as far as the country, the languages, the culture, the environment. But the teams aren't that different.
4. What's the biggest adjustment as a player?
5. Which superpower would you most like to have, the strength of 100 men, the ability to fly or the ability to turn invisible?
Matsui: The strength of 100 men. Then I could hit a home run every at-bat.
6. What is your favorite movie?
Matsui: It would be a baseball movie. Either "Field of Dreams" or "The Natural."
7. What American landmark do you most want to see?
Matsui: The Grand Canyon.
8. Which city has the worst traffic, New York or Tokyo?
Matsui: That's easy. Tokyo.
9. Which three people, living or dead, would you most like to invite to dinner?
Matsui: One at a time or all at the same time?
All at the same time.
Matsui: That makes it very difficult. [THINKS CAREFULLY] Babe Ruth. [THINKS SOME MORE] Joe DiMaggio. [THINKS SOME MORE] And Mickey Mantle.
10. Would you like to see a World Cup baseball tournament?
Matsui: Yes, very much. In the Olympics, it's just the amateurs. To be able to represent your country as a professional would be a great thrill. And for the fans I'm sure they would be very curious to see who would win.