Spring is a time of two things: hope and . . . baseball. And — unless you are a Chicago Cubs fan — those two often go together.

Perhaps no place is baseball hope quite so high as in Japan, where the sport enjoys more than just a seasonal flowering. Here baseball stays in bloom even in coldest winter, kept alive and fresh by a media that seemingly has nothing else to cover.

Crummy weather, political infighting and sports — that's Japanese news in a nutshell.