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My Japan Baseball Trip

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My Japan Baseball Trip
Hello again,

Some of you may remember me from around the start of the year talking about a trip I was planning to visit Japanese ballparks. I'd first like to thank everyone for their help, especially Deanna. Outside of some ill-health at the start and one attempted culinary assassination, I had a great time, and economy and all others things out of my control permitting, I hope to return next year to catch all the teams I didn't get around to this time.

Nearly a month later, I have finally unburied myself from writing everything up and posting all the pictures. I had said that I was going to post my trip report here, but frankly it is far too unwieldy and would just be spamming the forum. So here's a link to my Flickr page, and each set for each city has the link my blog for that area.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/40375323@N06/collections/72157623805177320/

Thanks again for the help.
Comments
Re: My Japan Baseball Trip
[ Author: Kiyoshi | Posted: Aug 4, 2010 1:11 AM | HAN Fan ]

Your Flickr link postings and photos were excellent- from a baseball fan as well as a curious traveler's standpoint! I encourage people new to Japanese baseball as well as 'oldtimers like me to go to the link!!
http://www.flickr.com/photos/40375323@N06/collections/72157623805177320/
Re: My Japan Baseball Trip
[ Author: Oogieball | Posted: Aug 4, 2010 5:17 AM ]

Thank you. I'm glad you enjoyed it.
Re: My Japan Baseball Trip
[ Author: Deanna | Posted: Aug 4, 2010 7:28 AM | NIP Fan ]

I only skimmed the photos, but:

The "dude with bigger hands than you" at the Hall of Fame is Koji Uehara, aka the Orioles Disabled List

And the crazy manga uniform thing was actually a contest for JHS students to design a uniform for the Giants, that were actually worn in the July 18-20 series. They were ridiculous-looking -- your photo is of what was selected as the winning entry (three weeks later they had things showing all of the entries and the players were actually wearing the uniforms!)
Re: My Japan Baseball Trip
[ Author: Oogieball | Posted: Aug 4, 2010 9:22 AM ]

Well there's two mysteries solved at least. Thanks. My biggest one is what the heck was going on at Jingu Stadium when I was there. I think it was a Guiness World Record for a toast, but I'm not sure. I'm part of a world's record and I don't even know what it was.
Re: My Japan Baseball Trip
[ Author: number9 | Posted: Aug 4, 2010 11:54 AM ]

Oh neat, you were there at Jingu for the Guiness Record toast?
http://community.guinnessworldrecords.com/_Largest-toast-at-a-single-venue/blog/2450157/7691.html
Re: My Japan Baseball Trip
[ Author: Oogieball | Posted: Aug 4, 2010 12:04 PM ]

Yes. There we are. As I mentioned in the blog post, I got the gist of the situation, but didn't know the specifics. Another mystery solved. Thanks.
Re: My Japan Baseball Trip
[ Author: rhdorsey | Posted: Aug 12, 2010 3:05 PM ]

Oogie,

I have spent this entire evening reading your 'travel log' about your Japan baseball trip. It was very interesting, frequently amusing and sometimes hilarious.

I have been to Japan twice and have seen some baseball games there each time, altho neither was a 'baseball' trip.

I can identify w many of your experiences and some of the things you mentioned I didnt even notice, e.g., that getting the first hit or the first run has special significance in Japan.

Getting to see a game between the Giants and the Tigers must have been awesome. I wish I had seen that. And seeing Koshien must have been awesome, too.

I saw two games at the Tokyo Dome (it doesnt look like a 'big egg' to me!) on my first Japan trip in 1997. At that time, the Ham Fighters were based in Tokyo and both they and the Giants used the Tokyo Dome as their home stadium. There was a dramatic difference between the attendance at the Giants game as opposed to the Fighters game. Only about 10,000 at the latter. For the Giants, it was packed, and I, like you, had to stand in line for hours before the game and still I didnt get in in time to see the first pitch. After I finally got in, there were no seats and I had to stand the entire game, along w many others. At that time, Hideki Matsui played for the Giants, and I had no notion that he'd eventually come play in the States. He and Kiyohara were the big sluggers for the Giants. One thing that has always stuck in my memory from the Fighters game was a girl's recorded voice that they repeatedly played over the speaker system yelling 'GOO FIGHTAHS' (go Fighters).

I also bought a ticket to a Lions game ahead of time at a Seibu department store, but I didnt get back to Tokyo (from Himeji Castle - beautiful!!!) in time for the game. I still have that ticket somewhere. Which brings to mind an observation: altho, as you noted, the Japanese are punctual about trains/buses, etc., leaving at the scheduled time, I found that surprisingly they're not nearly as punctual about arriving at the scheduled time. This seems the opposite of things here in the US where airline flights usually leave late but frequently still arrive early. If my bus had had made it back to Tokyo at the scheduled time, I could have made it to Seibu, but it was not only late - it was very late. The bus stopped often to pick up passengers that waved it down on the highway, like they do in Mexico. I was very surprised.

I, too, went to the Japanese Baseball HOF at the Tokyo Dome. It is in sort of a 'basement', IIRC. Seems like a rather undignified place compared to our HOF, but perhaps that is in keeping with the Japanese way of viewing things, where the team is supposed to be all-important and individual accomplishments are supposed to be secondary.

On my second trip in 2008, I saw games at Jingu Stadium (the first year, I think, after they remodeled it), Yokohama Stadium and the Sapporo Dome (looks like a UFO from the outside). I'm not big on sampling the cuisine on my vacations, but one thing I found memorable was buying a 'rice burger' at a game, where not only was there was rice in the middle instead of meat but the 'buns' turned out to be made of rice also. I thought that was funny. I also noted, as you seemed to allude to, that in Japan you're expected to take all your trash with you to dispose of, instead of just leaving it at your seat for the cleaning crew to clean up. But what I found interesting was that there were very few trash receptacles. I had to walk quite a ways before I found one. If they want you to clean up your own trash, you'd think they would provide more places to dispose of it in.

Perhaps you've already read it, but I'd recommend 'You Gotta Have Wa' as an excellent book about baseball in Japan, particularly the experiences of American ballplayers that go over to play there.

Glad you enjoyed your trip and hope you enjoy your trip next year. Thanx for sharing your experiences!
Re: My Japan Baseball Trip
[ Author: Oogieball | Posted: Aug 13, 2010 12:46 AM ]

Thanks. I'm glad you enjoyed the blog. It was quite the experience, but the Tigers/Giants game was obviously the most intense bit of it.

Yes, I've already read all the Robert Whiting books on Japanese baseball, in addition to a few others. They are a big part of what inspired my interest in making the trips after I ran out of MLB parks to see.
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