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The National High School Summer Baseball Tournament this year observes its 100th anniversary, and Asahi Geino (Aug. 13) recalls 10 hard-fought games at Koshien Stadium that fans still remember. In a short follow-up, the magazine introduces the “new monster,” as he’s being called, 16-year-old Kotaro Kiyomiya, a member of Tokyo’s Waseda Jitsugyo team. While still in his second year of middle school, Kiyomiya reportedly slammed a pitch 160 meters — completely out of the park, leading people to predict he’s destined to become the “Japanese Babe Ruth.”

Son of a rugby coach for the Yamaha corporate team, Kiyomiya already stands an imposing 184 cm in height and weighs 97 kg. And the fact that he plays for the same school as did Japan’s all-time slugging great Sadaharu Oh is also inviting comparisons.

“I’ve been watching him since he was in elementary school, and his batting style resembles (former San Francisco Giant) Barry Bonds,” says sports commentator Yoshiaki Kanamura. “He rotates his torso when he swings, and his bat motion is fast. It’s exciting just to watch him. I think he’s going to tear up the bases at Koshien.”

People leaving their homes unattended during holidays makes summer an opportune time for burglars, warns Taihei Ogawa in Shukan Shincho (Aug. 13-20). Ogawa, a former cop turned journalist, notes that Japan had 48,120 home break-ins last year, meaning someone’s home is hit once every 11 minutes. And savvy crooks are not beyond doing online research, checking their targets’ Facebook or Twitter activities for indications that they are planning a trip away from home.

Thanks to the round-the-clock availability of cash from ATMs, people these days are less likely to keep large sums of cash at home; but thieves know that there’s usually some on hand for contingencies, in such hiding places as chests of drawers, dressers and nooks in the family Buddhist altar.

What’s more, housewives are known to keep a secret stash — referred to as their hesokuri — that can amount to a considerable sum, typically kept in places where hubby is least likely to find it, such as in kitchen drawers used for keeping cooking utensils.

Ogawa closes with five pieces of advice that should make any home less susceptible to break-ins. They are: 1) Install two different types of locks on the front door; 2) equip toilet and bath windows with bars; 3) spread gravel in places outside the house, preventing intruders from approaching in silence; 4) use timers to turn lights and/or the television on and off during absences from home; and 5) apply anti-theft film to window panes, and attach supplementary locks to windows.

Weekly Playboy (Aug. 10) devotes four pages of color photographs to mouth-watering pictures of shaved ice confections known collectively as kakigōri. These should not be confused with the inexpensive types flavored with colored syrup that are dispensed at summer festivals. The most elaborate varieties are priced at over ¥1,000 and their volumes are generous enough for them to substitute for a meal.

The most intimidating of these is dispensed by the first branch in Japan of a Taiwanese chain named “Ice Monster Omotesando,” located at Jingumae 6-chome in Shibuya Ward. WP recommends the special made with fresh mango that sells for ¥1,500. A warning: this new shop is already attracting long lines, so to avoid waiting it’s better to go after 8 p.m.

Shukan Taishu’s Aug. 17 issue is packed full of summer-related content, starting with a “complete forecast” of which sections of the nation’s expressways are likely to be most congested during the summer vacation period. The worst by far will be the Tokyo-bound section of the Tomei Expressway between the Ebina Interchange and Machida in western Tokyo.

The same issue also features a “white paper” on the sexual behavior of young women at beaches and — presumably unrelated — advice to seniors about the dangers of sudden death in hot weather, complete with a 15-item self-administered test questionnaire.

Finally, in keeping with the summer tradition of telling ghost stories as a way of chilling out, Shukan Taishu presents three tales of what it describes as ero-kowai kaidan, or scary sex stories — or perhaps better described as horny tales of horror. One of these is related by Kana, a 20-year-old college co-ed who joined her school’s cinema appreciation circle.

“Both the male and female members of our circle are well behaved, the type who never even engage in raunchy conversation,” Kana relates. “Anyway, seven of us — five guys and two gals — went for a drive to a suspension bridge, from which a woman was said to have lept to her death in a suicide.

“At first we were just taking photos on the bridge, and nothing happened then. But afterward my friend, the other girl in our group, started making out with one of the guys — they hadn’t even been going out with each other — right there on the bridge in front of us,” Kana says.

Then she felt possessed by the spirit as well.

“I sort of had a secret crush on the leader of the club, although I took care to avoid letting him know. But when I said to him, ‘I feel scared,’ he took me into his arms.”

The next thing they knew, the students were engaging in an orgy and Kana, who was completely without experience up to that time, said the act felt so pleasurable she thought she would “die of ecstasy.”

Looking at the photos they shot afterward, they could see faint images of what appeared to be a woman through the slats on the bridge.

“That spirit is able to possess people who are receptive to the signals it emits,” explains clairvoyant Camellia Maki. “It’s the same for spirits with sexual passions. People who don’t outwardly display signs of sexual desire can be easily possessed.”

Once the word spreads about this “hot” new rural dating spot, that unfortunate spirit might find herself putting in heavy overtime.

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