Kyuji Fujikawa heard the question and didn’t need to wait for the translation: “I’m ready.”

Fujikawa wants this after 12 seasons with the Hanshin Tigers, another historic team with a huge following and an ivy-covered stadium. The Cubs view him as their closer of the future, and the sense is that his time in the ninth inning could come sooner rather than later.

Fujikawa had them laughing while almost 10 Japanese reporters surrounded him on Saturday at Fitch Park. They all stood in the parking lot next to a black SUV that was still running. With dyed-blond hair and long sideburns framing his face, Fujikawa looked totally at ease, wearing ripped blue jeans and big sunglasses hooked onto a gray hoodie.

Fujikawa smiled, shook hands with three Chicago reporters and – through an interpreter – said that he didn’t know about Carlos Marmol’s legal situation in the Dominican Republic.

Marmol’s representatives have tried to portray the domestic abuse case as an extortion attempt, and the Cubs have expressed confidence that their closer will report to the complex on time.

Fujikawa’s car stopped at the gate at 11:53 a.m. so that a photographer could take a picture of the Japanese All-Star sitting in the passenger seat. Marmol will have to answer an entirely different set of questions whenever he shows up in Mesa.