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ASAHIKAWA, Hokkaido — Last week I had the pleasure of attending a regular-season baseball game in the central Hokkaido city of Asahikawa, as the Yomiuri Giants played the Chunichi Dragons at the 25,000-seat Victor Starfin Stadium. It was the first appearance by the Giants in 16 years at the ballpark named for one of the most colorful characters in Japanese baseball history.

Victor Starfin (sometimes spelled Starffin) was an ethnic Russian whose parents came to Japan after the Russian Revolution, settling in the town where the young Victor would attend Asahikawa High School and become a star pitcher on the baseball team.

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