Monthly Archives: April 2015

Impromptu College Baseball

It started off like a ‘normal’ Saturday…coffee, toast, walk the dog. The weather was ‘decent’, following a week that began with some actual heat but also saw snow on Wednesday. So, we decided to have lunch at a great new salad place in Azabujuban, Crisp Saladworks; but, that is a post for another day. 

After lunch, we decided to just start walking up towards Roppongi. Near the crossing, we stopped at Yonamine Pearls, a (you guessed it) pearl shop owned by the wife of a former Nippon League Baseball player (foreshadowing?) and is as much a museum/shrine to celebrity (mostly baseball) customers as it is a pearl shop; but, again, that is a post for another day.

Still enjoying the suitable walking weather, we ventured on towards the Meiji Jingu area; in full disclosure, because I wanted to visit the Yakult Swallows (my favorite Nippon League Baseball Team) Store. As we passed by the stadium, we noticed a large group of cheerleaders getting warmed up. At first we thought it might be a cheerleading competition, so we decided to inquire further and see if we could get in. 

As it turned out, it was a college baseball tournament. We could not resist and happily paid the ¥500 per ticket to check it out. 

Unknowingly, we had purchased tickets in the school section for the Meiji Univerity Owls; and, in the end anyway, we were glad we did. Between the bands, football-style cheerleading, flags, banners, and songs, they make it quite a challenge to actually watch the game. But, there is no shortage of energy, intriguing formality (that they were adamant we participated in as well), and fun.  

Oh, the game…Meiji ended up winning 2-0 over Tokyo University.



After a few false starts and last minute schedule changes, last week saw a first experience with Fugu. Also known as “pufferfish” and “blowfish”, this Japanese delicacy is a winter-season offering and is often regarded as one of the 10 most deadly foods in the world.

We have all heard the stories of people dying from consuming the poisonous fish and that restaurants that servie it must have a license to do so. While that may be true, it may also be exaggerated to add to the mistique of the whole thing.

Each year you hear of one or two people dying; but, honestly, we have not heard of it happening at a legitimate fugu restaurant. Most typically, it happens when someone tries to prepare the fish at home. As a result, we weren’t all that concerned…actually, we weren’t concerned at all.

Fugu restaurants offer up tastings in many different ways to show the diversity of the fish in taste, texture, and potentcy. In last week’s experience it came grilled, fried (tempura), boiled (shabu-shabu), and raw (sashimi).  To show its freshness, when brought out for table-side boiling the freshly butchered fish sections were still moving. 

The most tasty was the tempura and the grilled, while the classic sashimi-style was the most potent (but, almost flavorless). If you haven’t done it before, you should give it a try (provided you do so at a restaurant that focuses on fugu).