Most people who have met my family know that we are huge baseball fans. And anyone who understands the culture of Japan knows that they are baseball fanatics. So it was a perfect fit for us to go to a Yomiuri Giants baseball game while in Tokyo during our Japan trip.
|Walking into the Tokyo Dome with my baseball ticket.|
Now, baseball is not my favorite sport. That said, I’ll take this opportunity to apologize to my brothers, beg them to forgive me for speaking such crazy talk and ask to be allowed to stay part of the family. But Japanese baseball is about as far away from its American counterpart as possible while still being the same sport. When you think of Japanese baseball, think of the die-hard fans and rowdy stands of a soccer game, add choreographed cheers for each player on both teams and girls selling beer wearing kegs on their backs and you have an idea of what I’m talking about.
|Our view of the field in the Tokyo Dome.|
Baseball in Japan is lively, it is rowdy and it is fun. Oh and there is good Japanese food to munch on, too. Beer girls run–and I mean book it–up and down the aisles wearing miniature kegs on their backs, selling several different brands of beer (Kirin, Asahi, Suntory, you name it). In addition to their beer backpacks (by the way, where can I get myself one of those?), they wear baseball hats propped on their heads, short skirts and knee-high socks. No wonder there are so many guys at the game!
|The beer girls at Tokyo Dome, complete with miniature keg backpacks!|
And the crowd is entertainment in itself, way beyond the regular people-watching excitement of American baseball. First off, entire sections of the stadium chant in unison, complete with choreographed hand movements and a different song for each player. Drums beat constantly. Horns blare. Flags fly. And hundreds of fans from the visitor’s team do the same thing, creating a back-and-forth who-can-cheer-louder challenge lasting all nine innings. Many of the fans have obviously come straight from the office, wearing their favorite player’s jersey directly over their business suits. There is even standing room only areas that are packed! Talk about team dedication.
|The cheering visiting section and having a good time at the Tokyo Dome.|
Then there’s the food. The food is not your typical baseball grub of hot dog and fries. That’s available, but my dad claims his hot dog may have been the worst he’s ever had in his life. In addition, the stadium serves an array of Japanese cuisine. It shouldn’t be surprising that Japanese food is available, yet somehow I was shocked to see people chowing on sushi bento boxes and yakitori sticks of grilled meat at a baseball game. I opted for gyoza that was, in contrast to my dad’s hot dog, the best I had ever had in my life (up until that point–after all, it was only my second day in Japan).
|Yamazaki whiskey (in High Ball form) at the baseball game.|
And don’t let me forget the whiskey. Yeah the beer girls were fun but beer, shmeer; I’m a whiskey girl. Just my luck, the stadium sold several different kinds of whiskey, including the single malt whiskey that I was ranting and raving about a few month’s ago, Yamazaki. Nothing like drinking good scotch at a baseball game, right?
|Back in Utah, it was 3:15 a.m.! Needless to say, we were tired.|
The Tokyo Dome and everything about the baseball game was such a fun experience. Definitely worth the trouble it was to get tickets. Tickets aren’t sold online (at least in English), so we hired the awesome guys at JapanBall.com to buy our tickets and deliver them to our hotel for a reasonable fee. The game was a great glimpse of modern Japan after our visit to the Meiji Shrine and before touring the Sensoji Temple–up next!