TOKYO – Success! Went to the Nippon Ham Fighters vs. Rakuten Eagles game yesterday at Tokyo Dome.
I had several goals for yesterday and they were:
1. Meet Deanna from marinerds.blogspot.com – easily the best blog about Japanese baseball!
2. Go to Tokyo Dome – have never ever been
3. Be on the Jumbotron – I think many ppl have this dream too
4. See Masahiro Tanaka – (yes, again)
5. Sit and cheer in the outfield – first time
Number 1 was accomplished as soon as I saw a gaijin (foreigner) walking towards the exit at Korakuen Station. She was easy enough to spot in her green Hichori T-shirt. I have been wanting to go see a baseball game with her since the start of the season after Larry Rocca from the Marines introduced us virtually. She is a walking encyclopedia and knows so much about baseball here and back home. Amazing! Add in her West Coast mannerisms (she used to live in Seattle and I am originally form Vancouver) and she made a great companion to spend a day with at Tokyo Dome.
Deanna and I
The Marines are in 4th... not 5th!
So yes, on to number 2. That was easy too. It didn’t really hit me that I was at Tokyo Dome for a bit. All together I have lived in/near Tokyo for six years but have never been to Tokyo Dome. I’m not a Giants fan nor a huge arena concert fan so I just never felt inclined to go. When I saw that the Eagles and the Fighters were playing at the dome, I begged Deanna to meet me and show me the ropes. I felt bad making her take a Wednesday off of work (especially since Yu Darvish is pitching tonight and it was Glynn yesterday)… but I think it was worth it.
We had lunch near Tokyo Dome at Baseball Cafe. The “diner” was decorated from ceiling to floor with lots of baseball paraphernalia. It’s kind of one of those pseudo-American style places trying to replicate something from someone’s imagination of what they think American diners should look like. It’s pretty convincing but you only needed to take one look at the pictures of the food to remind yourself you were still in Japan (funny-looking burgers patties with small fluffy white burger buns etc.). But as a lucky bonus, we were treated to a live broadcast of the American All Star Game.
As for goal number 3, wasn’t really sure if I could accomplish this but we did! My first game at Tokyo Dome and we made it on the jumbotron. The funny thing is that I specifically told Deanna that I wanted to get on the big screen. Have been to more than a few games this season but have never managed to make it on the big screen at Marine Stadium. It helped that Deanna brought along her two Nippon Ham Fighters jerseys, cheering sticks, posters, Hitchori blowup microphone, a Kensuke Nakata bright pink blow up hand, and knew Fighters fans in the first row of the outfield bleachers. We made it on to the big screen for a few second while cheering on Fighter’s players up to bat.
If you live in Sapporo and are looking for a team to cheer on, support the Fighters. The fans are very welcoming, they have song sheets prepared, and never say anything bad about the other team (even if their home team is loosing). That’s a really big feat. Deanna and I must have really stood out because after the game some fans came over and asked to take pictures with us… go figure. Yay for random gaijin power.
Fighters stretching in outfield
No. 4. Well, really no. 18 for the Rakuten Eagles. I spotted the Rakuten pitchers warming up and dragged Deanna over to see them with me. After Sunday, I do believe that Tanaka thinks I am a crazed Canadian fan. There was no way that he missed me then (was only standing several feet away) and he noticed us there last night… he even waved after we shouted a few “Tanaka”s and “Ma-kun”s. I even wished him good luck at the All Star Game… slightly awkward but worth it! I also shouted below to Domingo Guzman and got his attention. He singed my ticket from Sunday’s Rakuten vs Marines game. Um… he is pitching against Yu Darvish tonight. Best of luck.
Domingo and Tanaka (pitchers for the Rakuten Eagles)
Masahiro Tanaka (no. 18)
5. We sat in the front row of the outfield bleachers! I haven’t even had the guts to sit through a game at Marine Stadium but I did it last night. It took some time to get used to the Fighters cheering songs but I got the hang of it after a while. Marines cheer songs consist of a lot of “la la la” and “ooooh” so the Fighters songs felt a bit complicated to me… I had such a great time last night at Tokyo Dome with Deanna. Am sad to think that this might be my first and last game with her but it’s safe to say that I will be living vicariously through Deanna’s blog for the next while.
Deanna's huge pink hand
Not sure when I will be back in Japan next but hopefully it won’t be too far down the road. If you want to read more about the game, I suggest you read marinerds.blogspot.com for the details.