Tuesday, August 18, 2009

baseball halfway across the world.

I just wanted to give you a glimpse of the throngs of people I fight through every day to get to work.

So here it is, Shabuya. Not to be confused with the song, Shabuya Roll Call.
This is basically the Times Square of Tokyo. It's loud, neon, and absolutely packed.

And Japan is crazy about their baseball. So crazy, in fact, that they are in competition with the US as far as who can lay claim to the game. I know, I know, baseball is as American as...well, baseball, but not so, according to the Japanese. I had always heard that the game was invented during the Civil War; that we have documented letters from soldiers who talk about this new game involving four bases, a bat, and a ball. But apparently somewhere in the 1860's the Japanese can tell of the same new game appearing on their scene as well.

What else are they going to claim? Apple Pie?!?!

I don't really know who it was that started it, but I do know that I don't really understand it very well and there are a whole heck of a lot of innings. Nine, to be exact. I had only been to one other baseball game in my life and that was in Denver, Colorado. As far as I can tell, the Rockies Stadium looks pretty much the same as the Jingu Stadium here in Tokyo.
With the exception, of course, of the Rocky Mountains that surround the Rockies Stadium.

It also surprised me that the Japanese teams did not have Japanese names--the two I saw play were simply called The Swallows and The Tigers. Just like they were from Michigan or Ohio or Tennessee. Just like they weren't one of the six teams that Tokyo claims as its own.

Oh, but whenever anything great happened (and I rarely knew what that actual great thing was), the crowd suddenly was covered in pastels as everyone grabbed a miniature umbrella from seemingly out of nowhere and pumped it into the air to the beat of the music. I guess it was their version of the foam finger or something.

And here in Japan, if you go to watch a baseball game you get a fan.
Of course you do.

And I don't know if it was because the sun and the moon were passing each other in their respective journeys, announcing the time between times yet again, the slight breeze that carried the heat away and left you feeling perfect, or just that I was seated on the end of the aisle, able to lose track of any conversation or home run or umbrella pumping that might be going on around me, but I suddenly had the urge to write.

The Muse hit me, so I found an old envelope and a pen and got to it. I wrote two pieces and thoroughly enjoyed myself all the while.

Who knew baseball could be so inspiring?


kathiek said...

That's a lot of people!

Cute pic of you with the fan, Jess. Did you happen to notice what kind of snacks people were eating at the baseball game?

Dick Ronkulous said...

yes--there was sushi. Of course. But there was also chicken fingers and corn dogs and hot dogs and then stuff I had never seen before:)

Jessica Latshaw said...

Oops, that was me!

Mom said...

BTW--who IS Dick Ronkulous? Love reading about Japan.

James Ricardo The Actor said...

Baseball is american period.

LOL, I would have went just for the fan!