Bob Bavasi is a principal with Bavasi Sports Partners. Bob and his wife, Margaret Bavasi, both attorneys-at-law, were founders, owners, and operators of the Everett AquaSox, an affiliate of the Seattle Mariners.
They went on to start the Yuba-Sutter Gold Sox, a professionally operated summer college team, and the Horizon Air Summer Series, a summer-long competition among select summer college teams.
As Chair of both the Washington State Community College System and the Washington State Tourism and Economic Development Board, his involvement in education, tourism, and baseball has taken him to Japan for over 20 years.
Born out of this interest in Japan is JapanBall.com, the premier English-language site on the Japanese game, and its related JapanBallTickets.com providing concierge-level service for tickets to Japanese baseball games and other Japan events, along with this site for Japan baseball tours and travel.
Bob is a certified Japan Travel Specialist, a certification earned from the Japan National Tourism Organization, a department of the Japanese Government.
Shane Barclay is one of our tour guides and trip planners. Originally from Cupertino, California and now living in Santa Cruz with his wife, Jessie, Shane has devoted most of his life to baseball.
While at Cal Berkeley, Shane studied abroad in the Dominican Republic to experience a baseball-crazed culture. After graduation, he worked for the Arizona Diamondbacks in Player Development before MLB's Office of the Commissioner hired him to work out of its office in the Dominican Republic.
After a two-year stint in the D.R., he moved to the MLB offices in New York, where his duties included developing the game in both traditional and non-traditional baseball countries, contract approvals and other administrative processes related to player acquisition, and working on MLB-operated events such as the World Baseball Classic, All-Star Futures Game, and the Arizona Fall League.
Shane is a certified Japan Travel Specialist, a certification earned from the Japan National Tourism Organization, a department of the Japanese Government.
Mayumi Nishiyama Smith is an integral part of every trip. She is our cultural attaché and gives our guests deeper insights into Japanese culture and ways. Some would also affectionately refer to her as the Japanese grandmother of our trip guests because of the great care she takes to ensure everyone’s well-being.
Mayumi is the founder and former director of the Nippon Business Institute and Japanese Cultural Center at Everett Community College in Washington State and is a master at facilitating a wide array of interactions between the United States and Japan on both a personal and business level.
She has been highly recognized for her efforts and was named as one of the very few individual recipients of the Japan Foreign Minister’s Commendation in Commemoration of the 150th Anniversary of the US – Japan Relationship.
Michael Westbay, along with his wife Margarita, runs the ticketing consierge service JapanBallTickets.com. He was born and raised in California's Central Valley, but then his father took a civilian job at the Yokosuka Naval Base in Japan as Michael entered 10th grade. The family lived in Yokohama and introduced this country boy to life in a metropolis, and he fell in love with Japan.
Michael graduated from San Diego State University, with a degree in Computer Science. He was the first such SDSU graduate to also attain a minor in Japanese. Michael returned to Japan to join a Tokyo software company in 1991.
Mostly working with databases, he merged his passion for baseball into a Japanese baseball player registry that has evolved over the years to be the core of ScoutDragon, an information system that feeds MLB teams with Japanese and Korean baseball data.
Trevor Raichura, originally from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, is our on-the-ground source for Japanese baseball news. After giving up on his ambitions of becoming a sports journalist during his freshman year of college, he graduated from the University of Manitoba with a Bachelor of Education in 1998 and moved to Japan months later.
Twelve years in Okinawa were followed by a year in Hokkaido, during which he finished a Master of Arts from Anaheim University. He met his future wife, Yumi, on a flight from Vancouver to Tokyo in 2010 and, a year later, moved to her hometown of Kobe.
Now teaching English at local universities and writing about sports (the old dream came true!), Trevor is enjoying raising two young boys to become Hanshin Tigers fans. He is well-known to English-speaking fans of Japanese baseball for running TheHanshinTigers.com, a respected blog that has also earned Trevor a role as a columnist for Daily Sports, a regional sports newspaper.