It’s commonly known that immersion learning is the best way to learn a new language from scratch. If you want to learn Spanish, head to a place where it’s spoken natively and you’ll find yourself picking it up much faster. With our Spanish neighbors to the south there are no shortages of places to learn Spanish in New York, but one locale that might not spring to mind immediately is the bullpen of the New York Mets.
Hisanori Takahashi, a Mets relief pitcher from Japan, has told the New York Times in a recent interview that even though he studied English in preparation for making the leap from his native country stateside to the MLB, it’s his proficiency in the Spanish language that is coming along the fastest. With fellow Japanese reliever Ryota Igarashi injured in recuperating in Florida, Takahashi finds himself in the bullpen with 6 other Spanish-speaking pitchers, and has been coerced to engage in something of a Spanish language immersion course.
Among his regular vocabulary are phrases such as buen trabajo (‘good work’), buena suerte (‘good luck’), and, his teammates being the good-natured jokers they are, cállate (‘shut up’).
Takahashi’s willingness to learn and overall sense of humor definitely appears to be endearing him to his new amigos!