Part of the Japan “must-do” list is seeing a game in every Nippon League Baseball Stadium. Tonight took care of #3, Jingu Stadium…home of the Yacult Swallows.
The stadium, located in Shinjuku (a 5 minute walk from the Gaienmae Station), dates back to 1926 and holds 37,933. Babe Ruth played baseball in this stadium back in 1934 and olympic exhibition baseball was held here in 1964.
This evening, a capacity crowd watched the home Yacult Swallows defeat the Hanshin Tigers 11-1. One of the unique elements is whenever the Swallows score a run, everyone breaks out tiny umbrellas to celebrate…no one seems to know why, and no one seems to care.
About thrity minutes away by train is the city of Shinagawa. In Shinagawa is an amusement area called Aqua Stadium. Unasuming from the outside, inside Aqua Stadium (which also houses an aquarium, dolphin show, and other sea-life exhibits) there is a carousel, a boat-swing ride, motion simulator, and a coaster called “Galaxy Express 999”.
The coaster is evidently themed after a Japanese cartoon featuring a kid with an oversided cape and hat, a European looking lady, and a space pirate. Included in the attraction experience are two fairly elaborate pre-shows: one with a couple animatronic military looking robots that rattle off a whole bunch of stuff in Japanese and then a separate small room that shows a video (with the afore mentioned characters trying to escape some sort of disaster happening on their planet by catching a ride on a space train).
Then it is off to the coaster…which I believe is supposed to be the space train.
While it’s an interesting, space themed, indoor, launched coaster with a loop; it is somewhat rough. So, I only rode twice. 🙂
Found this at the local grocery store…
While I am not sure what Mexico is supposed to taste like, I am pretty sure this wasn’t it. My best guess is this bottle contained 50% ketchup and 50% thai chili sauce.
This just begs the question, “why can’t all pricing be happy?”
In celebration of the MLB All-Star Break, I ventured back to QVC Stadium to watch the Chiba Lotte Marines take on the SoftBank Hawks. While it is very high-quality baseball, there are a few things to remind you that you are watching the Nippon League: the college football atmosphere, the hot dogs (served cold while topped with lettuce and a sauce similar to sloppy-joes), and the beer girls.
The Marines won 6-3 and are just 3 games behind Rakuten in the Pacific League.
Today, the third Monday in July, is a national holiday in Japan…Marine Day.
This holiday was first held in 1941 and called “Marine Commemoration Day”, a celebration of emperor Mutshito’s historic sea voyage of 1876. In 1991, the holiday was re-established as just “Marine Day”; a day to be grateful for the blessings of the ocean, wish for the prosperity of the maritime nation of Japan, and raise awareness of the importance of ocean conservation.
Additionally, it marks the first day of summer vacaton for Japanese schools.
So…I am on a simple shopping trip in Shibuya today and up ahead I hear a commotion (aka ~ a bunch of really high pitched female voices yelling something); which, by the way, is extremely common. As I progress through the crowd, what I find is a Chupa Cups (the lollipop brand) tent with a bunch of girls handing stuff away. Liking Chupa Chups, I proceed through the crowd to get one.
But, wait…there’s more! You also get a little plush Chupa Chups mascot guy that can hold on to the little stick.
You would think that would be enough, right? WRONG! There is also a meet-and-greet / photo opportunity with a GIANT Chupa Chups masot guy! Now…that’s a promotion!