By Sweeny Murti
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Thanks for your questions submitted via Twitter to Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka.  We chose some of the best ones and then added a few of our own to get a little peek into the mind of the 25-year-old Japanese right-hander.

Special thanks to Tanaka’s interpreter Shingo Horie.

Masahiro Tanaka:  There’s really not a way to say it in English. … It’s a very friendly way of calling somebody.

Sweeny Murti:  I heard Darrell Rasner (former Yankee and former Rakuten Golden Eagle teammate) used to call you “Meat.”

MT:  (Laughing) I don’t really know what that means.  I think I was told that’s how people call each other in the Yankees clubhouse.

MT:  The golf courses.

SM:  Really?  Are you a good golfer?

MT:  No. (laughs)

MT:  I think that would be to be part of a team that would be World Champions.

SM:  I think Yankee fans are going to like that answer.

MT:  Yes, he really likes to joke around a lot with me.

SM:  About what?

MT:  Just calling me Ma-Kun.

MT:  I feel that the media will not be the obstacle for me.  What was normal to me in Japan (my baseball routine) is not normal to me here.  The way is different here than in Japan.  So the most important thing for me will be to adjust to the baseball.

I’ll be pitching every five days vs. pitching every seven days.  That, as well as how they do the conditioning and training here.  I’m going along with the trainers right now and try to soak in the way of doing it here in the States.

MT:  Momoiro Clover Z

SM:  What kind of music are they?

MT:  It’s a girls’ pop-singing band from Japan.

SM:  What’s your favorite American band?

MT:  I’m going to figure that out from here on.  I haven’t really had a chance to listen to American music up to this point.

SM:  What do you remember about meeting Matsui at Old Yankee Stadium in 2006?

MT:  Hideki actually showing up was a surprise.  And I was really surprised as to how big he was.

SM:  Who was your favorite athlete growing up?

MT:  I’m sure there were a lot along the way.  And I’m not just saying this because I’m with the Yankees now, but Hideki Matsui was definitely someone I really liked as an athlete.

SM:  What’s one thing in New York City you are most looking forward to seeing?

MT:  It’s really hard to say.  The first time I went there was 2006.  The second time was for the press conference (last month).  It’s a really big city and I’d like to just go around and do many things, but off the top of my head not one particular thing.

SM:  Not the Empire State Building or The Statue of Liberty?

MT:  Now that you say that, since I was little in Japan I heard a lot about The Statue of Liberty, so yes that would be one place I would like to go.

SM: What’s one thing you like to do when you’re not playing baseball?

MT:  Golf

SM:  I thought you weren’t very good?

MT:  I’m not good at it, but the love for that sport that I have is very strong.

SM:  What do you shoot?

MT:  Around 100.

SM:  Oh, you and I can play then.

MT:  The best I have shot is 80.

SM:  Oh, ok.  Maybe not.

MT:  I like horse racing too.  If I get a chance I’d like to go.

Sweeny Murti

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