Japan, May 2014: Day Five

Exhausted after yesterday’s adventures, we decided to take a day out from sightseeing and do something less touristy.

Coincidentally the local baseball team have a series of home games this weekend; so with map of the city in hand, we set about finding the stadium. Because I’m generally organised when it comes to vacation planning, our hotel falls between the city’s two subway lines and one leads directly to the Sapporo Dome; home of the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters.

Exiting the subway, we stumbled into a Club Shop and attempted to by tickets; only to be told that the weren’t selling them today! Fortunately they were still available at the Dome. Arriving at the stadium, we confidently held up two fingers and pointed at a seating map – tickets bought. Next we negotiated the merchandise store. Emma purchased a hat, whereas I went full fanboy and bought a jersey… In Medium?! I don’t understand their sizing here, but it fitted fine.

Whilst everyone was queuing for KFC, we opted for a couple of bentos. I think they were pork, but I know they were tasty. We sat and ate them before going to our seats; unsure of how snug the chairs might be – eating beforehand meant that our neighbours survived being elbowed or showered with rice.

We’re veterans when it comes to baseball, having been to a game in the US so we know what to expect and that’s why we love it. However, confident that the American experience couldn’t be beat we were surprised to be greeted by an atmosphere more akin to a football game. The visiting fans had travelled further than us (assuming we were from Tokyo, not England) and they certainly made themselves heard in the massive Dome.

The visiting Chiba Marines’ supporters waved flags, chanted and jumped around for every play of the game. I take back what I said about the football like atmosphere, this was much more fun and intense… So much so, during the 4th inning we packed up our stuff and moved from our fancy seats by the batting plate and walked halfway around the stadium to stand with the Marines!!

We don’t know who won and we don’t really care to be honest, it was great fun and if you’re ever in Japan, definitely try and catch a game – the football games are probably even better. Picking up Corn Dogs on the way out, our baseball experience was complete.

We left the sanctuary of the Dome and walked into the harsh Sapporo weather. I know the UK is experiencing a warm spell at the moment, so take comfort in the fact that it’s freezing here; a wind chill of 1-degree and raining hard if you really must gloat.

We returned to the hotel, grabbed some dinner in a local restaurant (beef I think) and played a few games in the arcade. Hopefully the weather will be kinder to us tomorrow.