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You’re not in Chase any more: the Japanese baseball experience

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Makakilo experienced a Japanese baseball game.

Kyocera Dome
Kyocera Dome
Makakilo

At the Osaka Aquarium, I was mesmerized by a school of Japanese anchovies. Later, as I traveled the subway to the baseball game, I was inside a school of Japanese people - zipping thru ticket checking turnstiles, speed-walking hallways and stairs, and packing into subway cars. Surprisingly, no people fell or even collided; did they make allowances for brightly dressed, but relatively tall and slow American?

The aquarium and subway were new experiences. No two experiences could better prepare me for the baseball game between the Tigers and the Bay Stars.

Watching the game did not happen. Instead, like an anchovy in a school, being at the game meant being part of the game.

Before finding my seat, I enjoyed visiting vendors in the hallway that circled the Kyocera Dome. At a three-foot-wide kiosk, I purchased a pre-cooked bento box dinner. Each of its sections was a memorable experience! I ordered a coffee. To my surprise and delight they added a scoop of ice cream. Later I discovered the ice cream was mostly water and ice.

The visual pageantry included on-field cheerleaders, some with pom-poms and some with long trailing ribbons. The fans proudly wore their team’s garb - so much so that most of the stadium was colored Tiger yellow. Albeit I met a delightful woman in impressive black attire filled with colorful Tiger pics and Japanese symbols. When she said, “Do you want take my picture?” I said, “Yes!” That’s me; selflessly giving joy to people.

Tiger Fan
Tiger Fan
Makakilo

Drink vendors were a welcome distraction. They were beautiful women wearing shorts and baseball caps. Each woman smiled brightly as she walked past my seat. Some women carried beer backpacks and poured beer through a hose into your glass. My favorite was the Jim Beam woman. She was friendly and talked with me in English. When a big fan, who sat one row in front of me, asked for a Jim Beam, she quickly knelt next to me. I asked her “Beer?” She looked directly at me, and confidently said “Whiskey!” I was stunned. Her voice said optimistic better than mere words! The fan looked at me and he said, “Good!” We all laughed. After that fun conversation, he would turn around for a high-five celebration of each run scored. For some reason she sold a lot of whiskey in my section. Coincidences happen!

beer was plentiful
beer was plentiful
Makakilo

Each team had their own brass band. They played whenever their team was at-bat, except when fans sang team-songs and team-cheers. Each band was seated with their fans in center field.

A woman color announcer often spoke in Japanese on the public sound system, and was silent when appropriate. Although I understood very little Japanese, I enjoyed her commentary.

Many Tiger fans carried two hollow plastic bats. Fans would smack the bats together, or against a rail, thereby make clicking sounds during cheers and most anytime their team hit the ball. The Bay Star fans heard way too many clicks. The Bay Stars lost - zero to eight.

The Bay Stars had one chance for a big inning. In the third inning, they had bases loaded and only one out. After a strike out looking, and a full count fly to the outfield, they did not score. Hey, I’ve seen this happen to the Diamondbacks!

Tiger shortstop Seiya Kinami (3 hits and 2 RBIs) reminded me of Diamondback Tim Locastro. Early in the game he was out at third after trying to stretch a double into a triple. Later in the game, he smoked a one hopper to the pitcher. It stuck in the pitcher’s glove allowing Kinami to reach first base safely. The fans went wild! Was it a hit or an error? Either way, it was exciting baseball!

An awesome experience was the balloon release! The fans blew up colored balloons before the seventh inning stretch and before the last out. A video counted down to the release. I released two balloons, one from each hand. It was incredibly fun! I saw and heard happiness in all directions.

balloons at the ready
balloons at the ready
Makakilo

Instead of near their seats, fans left trash in hallway bins. By the end of the game, those trash bins overflowed. In contrast, in the stadium their joy and happiness overflowed!

Perhaps fans left more than trash in the hallway. I deeply appreciated dropping my low-emotions and associated thoughts in the hallway, instead swimming with high-emotions as part of the school of joyous Japanese fans.