High School Baseball

I had a chance to go to Koshien baseball stadium in Osaka again. One of my friends was planning to see some high school baseball and clued me in.

I’ll get higher quality pictures of this event up in the “Bad Pictures” section of this site soon…

baseball_crowd

This high school baseball event in Japan happens twice per year I hear. Every year the best high school baseball teams go down to Koshien stadium for a playoff type thing. Apparently there are scouts watching the games as well looking for up and coming players. The energy during the games rivals even that of the big leagues. The games were one after another. One day 4 games. The tickets are cheap, something around 550 yen.

Before the game the players go out to the field, bow to each other, and then they run back to the fence and bow to their fans. Maybe you saw scenes like this in old movie, “Mr. Baseball”.

During the game vendors are selling all kindsa stuff. Kakigouri, frozen drinks, popcorn, fried chicken, and the Osaka Koshien specialty, Kachiwari. Kachiwari is best described as, “traditional-Japanese-Kansai-style-can-only-buy-it-at-kohsien-meibutsu-crushed-ice.” Literally, kachiwari refers to the way that the ice is randomly smashed up. They put the ice into a plastic bag and sell it for 200yen (approx $2 US). That’s expensive ice.

Because it was the specialty my friend bought some and we ate it. It was just ice. Tasted like it too. ただの氷じゃん!!!

During Japanese baseball games as you have probably heard, the crowd does all kinds of synchronized chants while their team is batting, or, on the attack, as they say. Here is a sign board explaining one of them.

These games are very very serious for the kids though. If you can imagine, these are high school kids getting a chance to play in one of the best baseball stadiums in the country. Add onto that a little bit of Japanese pride, and after the game, there are always tears from the losing team.

I didn’t know where to stick this. In the summer in Japan giant locusts are every-freakin-where. Even on the back of this kids shirt. Gross.

I hardly even watched baseball back in the states, but since I moved to Kansai I have had many opportunities to go down to Koshien I just can’t pass it up. If anyone is going to be in the Kansai area during a Hanshin Tigers game or something, I highly recommend taking the time to check it out. Baseball is more Japanese than even sushi!

-Harvey

Hata-san

I met this guy, Hata-san, on the street in Shibuya about two years ago.

I respect this guy a lot. Let me know if you do the same after I tell you a bit about him.

Back then he would sit out by Hachiko listening to peoples stories, and writing them words to help cheer them in in Japanese. Many people do this in Japan, writing Japanese calligraphy with motivational messages.

Hata’s Bio is posted on his website, but basically, he graduated from college, worked for about one year in a type of school which taught English. He was doing sales really, and doesn’t really speak English himself. Anyway, he realized that type of salary man lifestyle really wasn’t for him, so quit and started selling his messages on the streets of Shibuya.





He did well. So well in fact that he was able to quit all other activity, and life off his work. 1000 yen per message, neatly drawn, personalized, and placed in a nice plastic bag. After a year he was able to get his work in Family Mart, a big convenience store in Japan, and this year he opened his own shop in Daikanyama. You just follow the tracks back towards Shibuya. There is a map on the site.








He always wears black clothes, because since he is always working with Sumi, that Japanese black ink for calligraphy, black is easier to keep looking clean.

Anyway, I highly recommend his stuff, his shop is in Daikanyama, and not only can you get some great artwork, but you can meet and talk to a really great guy!

If you’re in the Tokyo area, and looking for a cool guy to talk to, maybe even to practice your Japanese! Check it out!




Smoke

[Update: 8/9/2004 More posters below]

Tokyo has these kick butt adds going around to encourage people to stop smoking.

The organization that does the ads is… http://www.jti.co.jp

Here they are… ads…




I haven’t had a chance to check the site yet, but I imagine that they have high quality copies for there ads on there. They’re really funny. Doncha think?




smoke10 smoke11 smoke12 smoke13 smoke5
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And if you haven’t heard the rumors, people smoke A LOT. In Japan. Stinky.

-Harvey