Sun Spots: Fujita and Ishikawa

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This weekend is Super Bowl weekend. And while he may be Caucasian, Scott Fujita is representing Japanese America. Ryo Ishikawa has shaken off last year’s nerves and Kimiko Date Krumm is leading Japan in Malaysia. Check out this week’s spots.

Joe Lapointe of the New York Times: New Orleans Saints linebacker Scott Fujita addresses hot-button issues the way he might meet an opposing running back: directly. So Fujita was not shy Tuesday about entering two Super Bowl debates that have little to do with his team’s game Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts. At issue are two Super Bowl television commercials, one about abortion, the other about gay rights.

Michael Silver of Yahoo Sports writes: The first time Scott Fujita(notes) met his future father-in-law Gary Stiles, the high school senior repeated a line he’d been using since he was a four-year-old: “My name’s Scott. I’m Japanese.” “My father pulled me aside and said, ‘He knows he’s not Japanese, right?’ ” Jaclyn Fujita recalled Tuesday night as she and her husband, the New Orleans Saints’ agile outside linebacker, dined at a downtown Miami restaurant. “I laughed and said, ‘Yeah, he knows.’ ”

David White San Francisco Chronicle writes: Saints linebacker Scott Fujita was all things to most people Tuesday at Super Bowl Media Day. Need a Bay Area angle with a Rudy twist? Fujita was a walk-on turned NFL draft pick at Cal. Need an adoption story with a cultural bonus? Fujita was adopted by a Japanese American father and a Caucasian mom and calls himself “culturally Japanese.” He takes political stances on family issues and gay rights. He helps Hurricane Katrina victims. He has done about everything he has ever wanted but this: play in a game where all marbles go to the victor.

Kyle Munzenrieder of Miami News Blog writes: Tim Tebow isn’t the only football star stepping into the gridiron of abortion rights. New Orleans Saints linebacker Scott Fujita told the New York Times he doesn’t exactly agree with Tim Tebow’s pro-life message, his support of Focus on the Family, or with CBS’s decision to ban a gay dating ad during the Super Bowl. “The idea of focusing on the family — who wouldn’t agree with that?” Fujita told The Times. “But the means of doing so, he and I might not see eye-to-eye all the way.”

Mike Tripltt of the Times-Picayune: New Orleans Saints linebacker Scott Fujita said his wife, Jaclyn, would probably be embarrassed if he shared her pregame motivational text publicly. But he was so proud of her words that he couldn’t help himself. “I almost read it on the podium (after the Saints’ NFC championship game victory) because it made me pretty emotional, ” said Fujita, who was the first free agent to sign with New Orleans in 2006 — two days before quarterback Drew Brees.

Gary Van Sickle of Golf.com writes: He’s back. Japan’s Ryo Ishikawa, 18, will tee it up at Riviera Country Club this week, his first U.S. appearance this year. SuperSport.com provided these comments from the teen after his early practice round Tuesday: “Last year here, I was very, very nervous. But this year my mentality is much different. I experienced so many things last year. I’m much more comfortable… I’m able to listen to English. I want to answer easy English questions in English… I feel like I’m growing up as a player.” One last nugget: Ishikawa has visited a shopping mall in LA, and he tried In-N-Out Burger, the classic burger chain.

Pritha Sarkar of Reuters: Twelve months after making a nervous debut on the PGA Tour, Japanese teenage sensation Ryo Ishikawa says he has become a much wiser and more confident player for this week’s Northern Trust Open. Ishikawa missed the cut at last year’s event after carding scores of 73 and 71 but since then he has embellished his golfing resume by winning four times on the 2009 Japanese Tour. “Last year over here, I was feeling very, very nervous because it was my first time on the PGA Tour,” Ishikawa told reporters at Riviera Country Club on Tuesday. “But this week my mentality is very different because I experienced so many things last year, on both the PGA Tour and the Japanese Tour.

Rebecca Bryan of AFP reports: Ryo Ishikawa has come a long way in the year since his USPGA Tour debut, and the Japanese teen said he would be able to draw on what he’s learned in his return to Riviera Country Club this week. Ishikawa, 18, makes his first US appearance of 2010 at the Northern Trust Open at Riviera, where he missed the cut in his US tour debut last year. This time Ishikawa hopes to be playing on the weekend. “Last year here, I was very, very nervous,” Ishikawa said Tuesday after an early practice round on the course nestled in the Pacific Palisades suburb of Los Angeles.

The Star Online reports: Kimiko Date showed that she has not lost her touch by helping Japan trounce Indonesia 3-0 in their opening Group 1 tie of the Fed Cup Asia-Oceania zone tournament at the National Tennis Centre in Jalan Duta here yesterday. Date, who last played in the Fed Cup in 1996, defeated Ayu Fani Damayanto 6-2, 6-0 and Ayumi Morita gave Japan an unassailable lead, thrashing Lavinia Taranta 6-1, 6-2 . Yurika Sema-Rika Fukiwara wrapped up the Pool A tie for Japan, beating Sandi Gumulya-Kresno Merdiko 6-2, 6-2 in the doubles.

-JORDAN IKEDA
Sports Editor

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