Went to Japan, Part 3: BASEBALL!!
I've loved baseball since I can remember. We used to go to Mets games all the time when I was a kid, and once I hit high school my dad had Yankees tickets through work. From Colby, we went to a few Portland Seadogs games, and I'm a Pawsox fan when in Rhode Island. My friends and I went to Yankee games after work all the time when I lived in NYC. I'm not particularly rabid towards any one team, I just love baseball. Also, Derek Jeter.
My one Thing I Had To Do in Japan was go to a baseball game. (The second Thing was the Miyazaki museum, but it was closed for renovations - must go back!)
We tried to get Tokyo Giants tickets, but they were all sold out. So I contacted the Yakult Swallows box office via the local tourist office and bought four tickets for our first evening in Tokyo.
I LOVED the game - the Swallows won and the cheering was really fun (and organised, because Japan). I found it slightly disorienting because it was very clearly baseball but I was definitely not in Da Bronx anymore.
I stopped at the Swallows store on the way to the game to pick up some swag:
Our tickets in the Swallows "home" section included a free "cheer umbrella" each. Ok, um, thanks? I might have also bought myself a lime green Swallows shirt, because LIME GREEN.
Cheerleaders (not part of American baseball...)
Llamas (NO idea why there were llamas...)
Our seats, for batting practice, which I enjoyed but my buddies were mystified/bored by:
More batting practice:
The "beer girls" who carry backpacks full of beer on tap (oh my gosh why are these not in American stadiums??)
Watching the players come out:
My beer, in the Meiji Jingu cup:
The players take the field:
The opposing team's Bleacher Creatures:
I mean, that sunset. Seriously, Tokyo.
I wanted a hot dog. These were my choices. I ended up with a plate of hot dogs. Assorted ones. Um, Japan, close, but not quite. However, they were extremely delicious (and the mustard was just right) so I'm not really complaining. There was no bun. Only a skewer-thingy (no chopsticks) to eat them with.
All. The. Hotdogs.
And then, again because Japan, matcha-flavoured ice cream for dessert.
My seat-mates, who were mystified by this strange English person who knew All The Rules:
My buddy Jamie who was happy for me to prattle on endlessly about the rules (and kept asking questions because he's a good person):
The scoreboard, towards the end:
And my reaction, captured by Cat, as they scored a home run. Just pure, unadulterated joy!
Highly recommend. (And watch this video if you want to know what we were doing with our "cheer umbrellas" during the game!)