Amateur athletes in Japan frustrated by lack of facilities for practice
January 26, 2012 The Asahi Shimbun.

Kids are inventive little tykes and can pretty much improvise a game of baseball or soccer anywhere. They can play it in the street, they can play it in a vacant lot--they can even play it in their living room.
But it's a lot harder if you are an adult living in a crowded metropolis like Tokyo.
Nobuyuki Takahashi plays for amateur baseball team Tokyo Foul Tip. He says it is always difficult to get access to training grounds. He often participates in lotteries to win the right to use baseball fields, but the competition is tough for the 12 local-government-run baseball diamonds in Tokyo’s Suginami Ward, where Tokyo Foul Tip is based.
The 42-year-old Takahashi says the team can only get reservations for a playing field twice a month at most. Another option for getting access to a training ground is to play against another team that won the lottery.
Takahashi played baseball in elementary school and junior high school and resumed playing ball about 10 years ago. He wants to practice more to improve his skills, but reality makes that difficult.
“All I get are games," he says. "There is little chance to just drop by someplace for practice.”
Takahashi is just one of tens of thousands of amateur athletes with this problem.

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