(PHOTO: Sam, Bobby and The Donald.)
Hajime is the Japanese word for beginning, and is also short for hajime mashi te, meaning happy to meet you.
It is also the name of a local Japanese restaurant in downtown Harrison, and, in the opinion of this writer, one of the finest places to enjoy sushi anywhere. Sam and Gin are the masters behind the sushi bar and Alice runs the floor of the restaurant.
Sushi bars are also great places for reflection, admiration of craft and relaxation. And maybe that is why former Mets and Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine was dining under Sam's direction Saturday, when word broke from many news outlets that President-Elect Donald Trump may be considering "Bobby-san" to be the next Ambassador to Japan.
One local Boston source said:
"Valentine’s history, and connections to Trump and Japan, make the possibility of such a decision very real.
The former Red Sox manager has known both Trump and his brother, Bob, since the early 1980’s. He is also very close to Anthony Scaramucci, who is part of the Presidential Transition Team Executive Committee. And it was New Jersey governor Chris Christie who, according to a source, first surfaced Valentine’s name for the position.
The connections don’t stop there.
Valentine is still very popular in Japan, having managed the Chiba Lotte Marines for seven seasons, becoming the first U.S. born manager to win the Japan Series with a championship in 2005.
During the former big leaguer’s time in Japan, the Ambassador to Japan was Tom Schieffer, who also was president of the Texas Rangers during Valentine’s tenure as manager with the team. (Caroline Kennedy is the current ambassador, having been appointed by President Barack Obama in 2013.)
Valentine is friendly with current Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who, like the former All-American, attended the University of Southern California.
A few other elements that may help Valentine’s case include Japan prioritizing bringing baseball back for the 2020 Summer Olympics, along with the athletic director’s familiarity with SoftBank Hawks owner Masayoshi Son. Son recently announced after a meeting with Trump that SoftBank would be investing $50 billion in America’s technology sector.
Valentine is also close with McMahon, who serves on the board of trustees at Sacred Heart (where a new student commons building is named after the former WWE executive)."