Adventures from the Far East and Beyond

Afternoon Fun at Marine Stadium July 30, 2008

Filed under: Chiba Lotte Marines — orientalmix @ 1:29 am

CHIBA – Now that I have had a chance to rest a little, I am feeling a bit more clear headed. Again, a great big “thank you” to the Marines staff. I was lucky enough to have a chance to go to the dugout yesterday and say my final good byes (but only sort of because I sent and said good bye after the game too…oh well).

Below: This is what it looks like from the bench in the afternoon before a game. I just missed an interview with Tsuyoshi Nishioka when I arrived. Since this was the last game before the All Star Game and only a few days away from the start of the Olympics, there were a lot of camera crews and reporters.

Inside the Marines dugout

Inside the Marines dugout

I saw a lot of familiar faces amongst the TV crews. There were people from Fuji TV, sports papers, and many other media outlets. It was seriously scorching hot on the field yesterday so I have a lot of respect for the journalists and their patience. It really takes a certain kind of person to go get a story day after day no matter what the weather has in store.

It was great to see members of Team Japan out practicing before the game. The Marines players must have no clue who I am and why I am there… but it was nice to watch things unfold on the field. Here is a picture of Satozaki out at practice yesterday (and you can also see Saburo in the background getting ready to catch).

Satozaki out at practice

Satozaki out at practice

Satozaki, Naruse, and Nishioka adorn the cover of the Marines magazine this week. They are on the cover with an image of the Japanese flag in the background. There aren’t any home games at Marine Stadium before the 13th so I was really, really fortunate to be able to catch these guys before they head off to the Beijing Olympics.

Ohmatsu being interviewed

Ohmatsu being interviewed

Coach Frank Ramppen had to fill me in about Monday’s game and to explain why Ohmatsu was being greeted like a rock star. I had no idea how amazingly well Shouitsu Ohmatsu (no. 10) has been doing this season but he hits when it counts. He has had a lot of great hits. For example, he hit a three-run homer on Monday after the Rakuten Eagles were up 3-0. According to his profile, he played in 77 games in the 2007 season and this year he has already played in 94. At the rate he is hitting you can bet to see him in a lot more.

Coach Frank Ramppen and I

Coach Frank Ramppen and I

Yay! I got a picture with Frank. If you ever see him riding his bike around the Makuhari area, just remember that he is one of the nicest foreigners around town. I met his wife (gorgeous!) and his kids (soooooo cute!!) last night during the game. Really, really nice family. It’s been a pleasure helping translate/interpret for them during my time in Chiba City. I hope that they enjoy the rest of their stay in Japan.

Larry Rocca at work

Larry Rocca at work

Though you can only see the back of Larry, you know that he is hard at work. If you are a foreigner, group of foreigners etc. who love watching baseball and want to come out to a game, he is the person to get in contact with. It can be a bit challenging trying to figure out how to buy tickets or box seats etc. through the Japanese ticket-buying system but Larry is the expert and can help you sort things out. I really hope that more people will come out and experience the fun at Marine Stadium, especially in the summer. The fireworks are a blast and so is the dancing at the end of the evening outside the stadium. Many of the games are also sponsored so you may have a chance to walk away with prizes.


Last Lotte Game (;_;) & last game before the All Stars July 29, 2008

Filed under: 1 — orientalmix @ 2:39 pm

CHIBA – I just got back from my last Chiba Lotte Marines gam (8-2 Marines!!)

 Am soooooooooooo sad. I have been having so much fun cheering on the home team this season. I know for sure that this is one thing that I will really miss about living in Chiba. For the past week, I have been trying to cut down my belongings and make everything fit in to two suitcases and three boxes. Needless to say that this has been quite the struggle. 

Ah… back to baseball: I was hoping to see one full game out in the bleachers as my last hurrah but it turned out that I had to interpret for guests from our sister city, North Vancouver, until after 7:30 tonight. I made it just in time for the top of the 6th but missed the fireworks and the crazy 6 runs in the bottom of the 4th. Um and yes, I was crazy enough to go see the game by myself tonight. I actually had many offers to go with people but since I had no idea what time I would make it, I figured that I would just go alone. It turned out to be a good call since the women that I sat next to were really a lot of fun. We cheered for the home team during the 7th and 8th innings together. As luck would have it, I discovered that I was only sitting a few rows away from the children and wives of coaches. They were also a delight to chat to. 

Though I am heartbroken that I won’t be able to catch another game until who-knows-when, I know that I can always count on the Marines website for information on the team.

I am really, truly, grateful for the opportunities that I have been given by the staff of the Chiba Lotte Marines. There is no way that I would have been given these types of opportunities back home. It’s been quite the ride.

A huuuuge thank you to Frank, Larry, Paul, and most of all, the big man himself, Mr. Bobby Valentine.


Ohmine adds a 1 July 25, 2008

Filed under: 1,Chiba Lotte Marines — orientalmix @ 1:47 am
Tags: ,


A beautiful view of Ishigaki

A beautiful view of Ishigaki

SAPPORO – The Marines beat the Fighters last night 5-2. Not only was it the only baseball game yesterday, but the Marines beat the Fighters in their home stadium for the second straight night and Yuta Ohmine, the pitcher from Ishigaki Island, won his first game at the farthest possible stadium from home. Considering that Ishigaki is 1,952Km from Tokyo, and is only 278Km from Taipei, Sapporo must feel very foreign to him. I can only imagine how excited everyone in Ishigaki was last night when they heard of Ohmine’s first win.


Sendai shenanigans July 23, 2008

Filed under: 1 — orientalmix @ 6:06 am

SENDAI – Besides being home to the Tohoku Golden Rakuten Eagles (now in 6th place) and Kleenex Stadium (yes, Kleenex…), Sendai is home to Japan’s largest Tanabata Festival. The Sendai Tanabata festival has been held since the early Edo Period (1603 to 1868 ) and is held each year between August 6th and 8th. Colourful decorations made from washi paper and bamboo will fill the main streets of Sendai and many vendors will be out to sell treats. Thousands of fireworks will fill the sky and even more people will line the streets. Warning: Tanabata in Sendai is a sight to see only if you are comfortable with big crowds.

You can learn more about Sendai from the “Sendai traveling information” homepage

Some tips on how to get there:

By bus – There is the “Sendai Liner” starting at 3000~ yen each way

This highway bus is very affordable. It will take you from the West Exit of Shinjuku Station to the East Exit of Sendai Station for 3000 yen plus. There are over a dozen buses that leave both Sendai Station and Shinjuku Station each day from the morning to the evening. You can see the times listed here. (http://www.489.fm/015/1942719531.html)

There are other highway buses that will get you to Sendai for about the same price. Another example is the Sunshine Express. They have day buses and night buses too. One way starting at 3300~ yen.

By bullet train (aka shinkansen)

The best weekend deal if you have kids is the Donichi Kippu by Japan Rail (JR). You can use it any consecutive Saturday and Sunday with the exception of 4/27~5/6、8/11~20、12/28~1/6.

Price: Adult 18,000 yen
Jr and Sr High School 9,000 yen
Children 3,000 yen

The best thing about this is that you can use the ticket in a really wide area. You can also even get to Nagano and Yamagata. You can see the map in Japanese and more details here.

Best one-night-two-day trip deal for groups of 2 and up- Odorikidane (JR East)

JR East has a fantastic deal for those who are traveling during the week. The Odorokidane includes bullet train fees and a one night hotel fee starting at 10,600 yen. Some of the hotels even include breakfast. The thing is, this is much cheaper than paying the regular price for the bullet train. It’s really quite a great deal. Click here for a list of hotels, prices, and available bullet trains.

I know that all of the links that I provided are in Japanese so let me know if any of them peak your interest. Just leave a comment if you need help looking at something for a specific date.

Safe travels!


Summer at Marine Stadium July 22, 2008

Filed under: Chiba Lotte Marines — orientalmix @ 1:58 am
Tags: ,

Summer vacation has finally arrived for children in Japan! I just took a list of all of the great things going on at Marine stadium this summer and thought I would share what I discovered.

Summer '07 at Marine Stadium

Summer '07 at Marine Stadium

Here is a list of some of the regular events taking place at the stadium:

1. Photo areas (July 28 and 29, Aug 13 – 18, 24 – 28) : There will be life-size cutouts of the star players set up at special photo booths. There will also be life-size blow up picture of the posters with players and game schedules (Imae, Ohmatsu, etc.) One neat Olympic addition is that there will be life-size cutouts of Marines players who are off to Beijing in their old uniforms. That’s Naruse, Tsuyoshi, and Satozaki.

Where: Third floor, third base side, gate 20 concourse

2. “Marines Bon Odori” -Japanese summer festival dance (July 28 – 29, August 13 – 18, 24 – 28) : Marines mascots (Mar-kun, Rin-chan, Zu-kun), and the M-Splash cheerleaders will lead summer festival dances after the games to the tune of “We Love Marines Bon Odori” – there will be other songs too. Come join in the festivities.

Where/when: 20 min post game, in front of Marines Stadium and the bus terminal loop

3. “Makuhari Fire” – fireworks (July 28 – 29, August 13 – 18, 24 – 28) : The fireworks are back! Fireworks will fill the sky at Marines Stadium at the bottom of the fifth.

When: Bottom of the fifth inning

4. Fireworks tour (July 28 – 29, August 13 – 18, 24 – 28) : You and your child (10 and under) can enjoy the fireworks from the field! Two children per guardian. Note: A guardian must be present.

Where/when: First 100 couple/pairs to line up at F gate before the game. Numbered tickets will be given out 30 min before the start of the game.

I hope this helps convince some of you out there to hop on a train to Makuhari! You can spend hours and hours enjoying your time at Marine Stadium and the surrounding neighbourhood. If you find yourself looking for a few hours to kill, I suggest wondering around the Makuhari outlet and going for a good crepe or two.

And yes, I am kicking myself for booking my flight home on the 12th. Wanted to catch a full day at Marine Stadium before heading back to Canada but the first home game in August is on the 13th…


The Eagles’ Exercise ball July 19, 2008

Filed under: Rakuten Eagles — orientalmix @ 2:35 pm
Tags: , ,

TOKYO – When Deanna and I caught a glimpse of the Rakuten pitchers warming up at Tokyo Dome, we noticed some funny things going on with the team exercise ball. 

See exhibit A:


Domingo squashes teammate

Domingo squashes teammate


Um… I feel sorry for the player buried under the ball. It can’t be that comfortable to be squashed by Domingo Guzman (no. 99). I just checked his weight and he is not a light guy by any stretch of the imagination. He weighs in at a comfortable 92Kg (that’s just over 202lb). Ouch.

Now, see exhibit B: 


Tanaka talking to Hisashi Kitani (no. 54)

Tanaka talking to Hisashi Kitani (no. 54)

It may just be me but I don’t see any exercising happening in this picture. However, it’s kind of a nice candid of Kanehisa Arime (no. 26). 

And finally, exhibit C:


Tanaka demonstrating how to sit on an exercise ball

Tanaka demonstrating how to sit on an exercise ball

This was the only point where I feel like we saw how to “correctly use an exercise ball” – well, according to Tanaka anyway. I was secretly hoping that Tanaka would turn around while taking this show but he kept on balancing away… 

Yeesh. Just checked today’s scores. Softbank Hawks beat the Rakuten Eagles 5-4 at Kleenex Stadium. The Eagles were actually winning until at the bottom of the eighth. They haven’t had a win at Kleenex Stadium since July 2nd… But the Marines weren’t so hot today either. They lost to the Seibu Lions 17-10. Hope they win tomorrow! Good luck guys 🙂


Hoshino Japan July 18, 2008

Filed under: Chiba Lotte Marines,Rakuten Eagles — orientalmix @ 2:30 am

TOKYO – Tanaka is in and Saburo is out?

Manager Senichi Hoshino announced the 24 team Japan members at a press conference yesterday. From the Marines, Yoshihisa Naruse (no.17, pitcher), Tomoya Satozaki (no. 22, catcher), and Tsuyoshi Nishioka (no. 7) made it on to the team but Saburo (no. 3) was left out. Out of the four that played in the Olympic qualifying tournament this past December in Taiwan, the only player I managed to talk to on Sunday was Saburo and he said that he wasn’t optimistic about his chances of going. That’s too bad but I hope that the other three who are going make Japan proud. (I better be careful because Team Japan plays against Team Canada on August 18)

Super cute Baseball Japan file

Super cute Baseball Japan file

I picked up this “clear file” at the Tokyo Dome store on Wednesday with Deanna. I was having trouble choosing between a Tanaka file or a Stitch file but the Disney character won me over (but it’s really because I already have a different Tanaka file…). Out of the Rakuten Eagles, Tanaka (6 wins and 6 losses) was picked over Iwakuma (who has 12 wins and 3 losses). At 19, Tanaka will be the youngest member on the team. He is also pitching at the All Star Game so it looks like he has a very busy summer ahead! I’m hoping that Karakawa will make it on to the next Olympic team in four years. Yay for team 平成 Heisei .