Friday, November 4, 2011

A baseball adventure

A few weeks ago, my supervisor asked if I wanted to go to a baseball game with a bunch of people from the City Hall. I, of course, said yes.

So, early on a Saturday morning, I got up and headed to the City Hall to join the party bus headed to Sapporo.

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I sat next to my supervisor and actually had a lot of fun chatting with her and the surrounding people.

After a 3 hour drive, we arrived at the dome and ate lunch on the bus. I was surprised that 2 hours before the game people were already lining up to get into the game.

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Inside the dome, I spotted these “Hokkaido Pride” signs. I racked my brain for an interesting way to photograph them, finally deciding that a slow shutter would be good to convey the movement, this was my best shot without a tri-pod.

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When we got to our seats, I was surprised that my supervisor had Fighters’ shirts for us to wear (apparently in Japan you don’t wear your team colors until you’re in the stadium, in your seat). I was also surprised by the “gear” they have for cheering for their team.

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When you bang these sticks together they make lots of noise.

Just before the game began, I wondered how they would start – singing the American National Anthem would be strange since we were in Japan, but singing or playing the Japanese one would be strange since baseball is an “all-American game.”

When they finally played one, it was the Japanese national anthem. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a group so divided. No one put their hand on their heart (though maybe that’s just an American thing). Only about half the crowd stood during it, and several of those stood mid-way through realizing that people near them had stood. I was shocked at how divided the crowd seemed.

More Hokkaido Pride! Even though I’m not a citizen, am I allowed to have Hokkaido Pride? I decided that I could, since I was cheering for the Hokkaido team.

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At the start of the game, they rolled out a giant Fighters’ tee shirt.

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These ladies were my favorite fans, with their bear ears.

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These people were supposed to warn the crowd between innings to watch out for stray balls. I thought it was funny since we were at a baseball game.

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The game was almost like watching a Wii game, with the funny signs they had telling you which inning it was and cheering for the teams.

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This was the Lions’ cheering section – a fairly small bit of the whole stadium.

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When they rolled these out, my first thought was that the winning team was going to get to do a slip-n-slide in the middle of the stadium.

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Turns out they do fireworks inside the stadium if the Fighters win.

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My supervisor and I with our team “gear.”

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And after the game, it really does become the party bus. With the mayor and other town officials drinking beer and other drinks in the back of the bus. I feel like that would not be allowed at all in America.

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What do you think? Did I miss any important differences between the two?