Friday, April 10, 2009

......Buy me some sardines (!!!?) and cracker jacks, I don't care if I ever get back....

Although I missed Opening Day for MLB, I was able to still celebrate the opening of America's pastime in Japan.

The other night we attended a Yokohama Bay Stars game. I was pretty excited to celebrate spring with a cold beer and a hot dog and a baseball game. As American as apple pie.....except: as Japanese as.....edamame?

Here are some unique observations of the ol' ball game Japanese-style:
1) Each beer comes with a free packet of sardines.
2) Cheering is very choreographed. There is a "conductor" who stands in the front and orchestrates it.
3) Teams do not boo the players (maybe New York sports fans are jaded?)

4) One cannot access the entire ballpark. Only the section where you are seated. I found this to be a nice change (less crowded), yet annoying (no wandering the stadium to find different food vendors, gift shops, etc.) And after hearing from my friends Angel and Maura (they are mutually exclusive- not a couple) about the new Citibank Field I am really jazzed about baseball! There is a Shake-Shack at the Mets' new home! (This is the place that sells awesome burgers and frozen custard.)
5) Souvenirs- forget it. Very limited supply at the Japan ballpark. And forget finding any size above a Large. Japanese don't do XL.
6) Price- similar to the US. About $6.50 USD for a beer. I think it was about $8 at Shea and Yankee stadium. Cheaper at Jacob's field and other parts of the US. New York is always more pricey. Although that could change with the new NY ballparks.
7) Similarly to NYC everyone arrives to the game by public transportation. Although we were able to walk since our ship was docked so close to the ballpark.
8) There is no Designated Hitter (there should never be in my opinion!)
9) The innings displayed on the scoreboard are from right to left 987654321.
10) #25 was supposed to be the Slugger, although he struggled a bit. Bay Stars lost 9-1. The Mighty Casey has struck out.....
11) As far as I know, the Japanese do not have a problem abusing steroids. This aspect of American baseball saddens me. What happened to playing for the love of the game? Where have you gone Joe DiMaggio?
12) The Bay Stars stadium seemed very industrial, and it was not Disney-ed up like some of the ones in the US. This was fine, but it felt kind of cold and not as inviting.
13) The hot dogs are kind of weird. So are some of the advertisements. I like this translation the best: "Good Coffee Smile"
14) No 7th Inning stretch
15) Here are two videos. One is the cheering. One is me trying to sing the cheer song. I don’t know the words to this song. It’s Japanese. I like to sing.....bla bla bla bla

So now we are on Day 1 of a 9 day stretch to Hawaii. Yesterday I explored "Modern Tokyo". The tour guide was fantastic and I learned a lot. I can now count to ten in Japanese. I can now make an origami Viking hat. I now know that there are people who work for the transportation system called "back pushers". (I had seen a video of this on Youtube, but I wasn't sure I believed it.) They are so jam-packed into the trains that they have people hired to stand on the platforms and smush them in. During rush hours there are "ladies only" trains because groping is a huge problem since hands have nowhere to move (except apparently into inappropriate spots.) BTW- I am never allowed to complain about crowded subways again. Our definition of "packed" is very different from the Japanese version.

Tokyo is very clean and very modern (see previous blog about the magical toilets.) There are only 7000 homeless in the city of 12 million. There are few drugs. The city is very very clean. The city is quite beautiful. Here I am on the observation deck of Tokyo Tower:

Part of our tour was the Toyota Show room. There were a bunch of simulators and the most state-of the art-, not yet released models on display. My favorite part? The Lexus section. I think this model suits me well:
Please note: I am on the driver's side....the Japanese, much like the British, drive on the left side of the road. Oh how I would love to own this car. But alas, I will have to settle for taking the subway when I get home. No joy in Mudville....the mighty Casey has struck out.....

1 comment:

Fumbling Towards Adulthood said...

Hi Laurie!

Your wonderful sister-in-law, Sarah, linked me to your blog and WOW! I had no idea that my fellow Cleveland baseball fan/MySpace blogger was up to such amazing things! I have to catch up with everything you've been doing, but this is so awesome. :) You'll be hearing from me again soon!

Take care,