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Martial Arts

Seeing a Japanese ’ballgame has much more to offer than just the game. A trip to the kyujo (ballpark) offers an occasion to see Japanese people relaxed and at play and offers you the chance to interact with them in unique fashion. Such interactions are always unpredictable and plenty of fun.

Japanese are renowned for working hard and for long hours. But at the ballpark, they dispense with the inhibitions of daily life and root like mad for their Lions, Tigers or Carp . When you join them, you’ll make new friends, most likely drink a of couple beers, substitute the traditional baseball game hot dog for some yakitori or takoyaki and learn about the game from your new Japanese friends.

For around  Â¥1500 yen, you can buy a ticket for the bleachers and actually participate! The fans of the visiting team sit in the left-field seats, the fans of the home team in right-field. “Outfield seating” at the Japanese ballpark is actually somewhat of an oxymoron, as the fans will be standing, chanting, and waving banners the entire time their team is up to bat - in other words, half the game. Each player will have his own chant, which will be accompanied with a rhythm section replete with horns, drums, and other assorted noise makers.  If you do choose to “sit” in the bleachers, beware that this is not the library and while your adopted team is at bat, you’ll be shouting back and forth with your neighbor just to be heard. For three hours, they will cease to be Japanese and you will cease to be the foreign visitor; you will all be integral members of the oendan  – the cheering section of your adopted team. You’ll cheer, you’ll shout, you’ll laugh, you’ll have a fantastic time. And if you’re inclined, after having spent three hours, drinking, eating, and cheering for your new favorite team, you just might go out for more of the same with your new friends at a local yatai (street-side food stall) or izakaya to celebrate victory.

Generally, the baseball season begins around the end of March and ends at the end of September, with the Nippon Series (the seven-game championship which crowns the Japanese baseball champion) taking place in mid-October. Most games are played in the evening, around 7:00 P.M., with some weekend games starting around 1:00 P.M



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