I finally have internet at home!!! ^_______^
I decided to go with KDDI’s ADSL service because it was cheaper than Yahoo! BB. People with KDDI phones get discounts on their internet, but there didn’t seem to be a discount for Yahoo! BB for people with SoftBank (to which Yahoo is connected) phones. Oh well.
Anyway, two weeks ago I went with a bunch of other Fukuoka JETs & friends to a Softbank Hawks game at Yahoo! Dome. Before leaving my apartment I made sure that I had batteries for my camera, since the ones I had a week earlier at taiikusai had left me in the lurch. But…I forgot to put the memory card in the camera!! >_< So much FAIL! At least there was my phone’s camera.
For those unfamiliar with major league Japanese baseball, all the teams have their sponsor’s name in their name. Hence, SoftBank Hawks. This also leads to some unfortunate names. They may be a great team, but it’s really hard for me to take the Nippon-Ham Fighters seriously. ^_^; Yakult Swallows is just funny.
But I digress…
We sat as a large group in some cheap seats way behind 2nd base. This was actually my first time going to a baseball game, so I don’t know, but it seems like the stadium isn’t that big. The seats were far back, but at least they weren’t up high. Plus, they were right in the middle of the cheering sections, that which makes Japanese baseball games a bit different. Well, so I’ve been told. Not having gone to a baseball game in the States, I guess I really can’t compare. But from the games I’ve watched on TV, it does seem like Japanese spectators feel it is their job to cheer for their team to a much greater degree than American spectators. I don’t think American fans make bands to go cheer for their teams.
Yes, bands. Kind of like marching bands.
Each team’s cheering section has some brass and percussion, as well as large flags. When their team is at bat, they play. There’s one piece where the audience joins in, beating their hollow cheering bats in time, and yelling out “ganbare,” (do your best) + the name of whoever is at bat. Of course, not just the cheering section, but everyone in the audience joins in on that part. It was kinda funny to hear everyone say “ganbare, ootizu!” for José Ortiz, one of the foreigners in the Hawks.
Speaking of foreign players…the funniest thing in this game was that we were sitting fairly close to the position of a foreign player on the opposing team, Todd Linden of the Rakuten Eagles. Some of the people in my group took it upon themselves to tease him specifically. It was hilarious! They kept yelling out his name in funny voices. When he didn’t catch a ball and the Hawks scored, they yelled out, “thank you, Linden!” ^o^ Who knows if Linden heard it or not. I felt kinda bad for him, being a foreign player getting teased by other foreigners! Of course, that’s precisely what made it funny. And acceptable. Oh, and one person was translating “who’s your daddy?!” directly into Japanese, yelling out to Linden when the Hawks scored, お父さんは誰ですか！！ XDDDD The Japanese people sitting in front of us started turning back and looking at us funny. ^o^ Oh, it was great! And it’s really funny because one of SoftBank’s mascots is お父さん！(Otou-san, “father.”)
As for the game itself, Rakuten hit a homerun in the first inning, and the Hawks didn’t score until the seventh, at which point they rallied to score 5 all at once. People had left before the start of the 7th, but when the Hawks started scoring everyone got their hope back and started cheering more passionately then before. Alas, it was for naught. They couldn’t catch up and lost 6-5. But it was one helluva ride!
After the game, I went with 4 other 1st year JETs to have dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe Fukuoka. It’s right across from Yahoo! Dome. It was one little boy’s birthday, so we got to see the Hard Rock style Happy Birthday song & ice cream. About 30 minutes later, two other little boys got the song. I found that highly suspicious. I wonder if those little boys just threw a tantrum and made their parents tell the waitress that it was their birthdays! ^o^ We also walked around the Hawks Town Mall, and went to the Hawks Outlet Store. Three cheers for deeply discounted merch!
Yup, reppin’ the D under my Hawks gear.
I took that picture after coming home. My friends were wearing their Hawks happi (法被) on the train, and got quite a few stares. Even some giggles. I guess gaijin are one thing, but gaijin wearing Japanese-style major league baseball goods are another!
Lastly, asides from the Hawks’ mascots, Softbank’s (that is, the phone company’s) mascots, the Softbank Family, also cheer for the Hawks. Everyone who went to the game got the following sticker, featuring Otou-san (Father). Yes, Otou-san is a dog. (Mother and daughter are Japanese women, and the son is a black man. Don’t ask.)
There’s a “Climax Series” going on. I think it refers to the games leading up to the championship match. So, that’s what this sticker’s about. Not anything else.
And on that note, that’ll be all for now! Stay tuned for Catch-Up Vol. 2: Silver Week!