I've traveled 500 kilometers north of Tokyo to shake a metallic replica of Shohei Ohtani's pitching hand.

It's next to the information desk at Oshu's City Hall, flanked by panels covered in newspaper clippings of his recent success in Major League Baseball (MLB). A screen sits above, looping a video celebrating the process of creating the statue. There's no footage of Ohtani's on-field endeavours, but plenty of him sitting in a chair as his fingers are scanned meticulously by a laser.

This shiny re-creation is one of the city's most prominent tributes to Oshu's biggest star. Wander the streets of this sleepy place, though, and you'll notice smaller tributes to Ohtani, the best two-way player in professional baseball in about a century.