Play Ball! プレー ボール!

This past Saturday night.  I found myself the only person in a tiny little mom-and-son-run “akachochin“-type place in Nishi-ku, Osaka.  I had skipped-out of the Osaka Dome (technically, the “Kyocera Dome Osaka,” but everyone calls it the Osaka Dome) after the 7th Inning Stretch (“Take Me Out to the Ball Game” was sung), as the Orix Buffaloes where getting hammered by the Yakult Swallows 9-3 and I wanted a change of venue.

Komatsu's Yakitori. About a 5 min walk from the Osaka Dome.

Orix is an Osaka team, and I’m Osaka-area loyal (having twice lived nearby), but my favorite team is, and since 1984 has been, the Hanshin Tigers.  “Hanshin,” by the way, is written like this:  阪神, which combines the last Chinese character, or “kanji,” for Osaka (大阪) with the first kanji for Osaka’s neighbor city to south, Kobe (神戸).  And it’s pronunciation is changed because to do otherwise would be easy and this, after all, is Japan.   But the Tigers were playing the Nippon Ham Fighters (I kid you not) in Sapporo that night, so we went with the Buffaloes vs. the Swallows.

While at the game I enjoyed a couple of orders of takoyaki (たこやき – octopus fritters) and a couple of cold ones and just as much enjoyed the game itself, witnessing a couple of home runs, as well as several bunts (Japanese teams love to bunt.  Baseball’s much more of a chess game to them), not to mention the incessant, choreographed, set-cheers of the teams’ respective come-to-every-game fans.

Here are a few more pics:


Approaching Osaka Dome from Taisho train station. (大正駅).


Orix Buffaloes Fans. Go Buffaloes.


It was -- once again, I kid you not -- "America Night" at the Osaka Dome.


Happy Beer Girl.


No Comment.


I made it back by the bottom of the 9th (having enjoyed a cold adult beverage, some good home cooking and an immersion in Osaka Dialect — まいど! — at Komatsu’s) to watch the final couple of outs.

"Never Give Up. Never Surrender." Bottom of the 9th. 11-4 Swallows.


Loyal to the End.


A couple more trivia nuggets about my favorite team, the Hanshin Tigers.  Until lately, they’ve had a 20-year Curse of Colonel Sanders.  When I was living in Japan in 1990-91, they were nicknamed the Sanshin Tigers.   ”Sanshin” means “Strike Three!”  One more thing, and (many of you) read about it here, first.  Several years ago a Japanese baseball announcer coined the term “Sayonara Home Run!” to mean a home run that decides the game.  I predict that, someday, Sayonara Home Run will enter American baseball lexicon.  At least when a Japanese player hits one.  Maybe it already has.

.      .      .

Bonus vid:  Enthusiasm!

    • writechic
    • June 2nd, 2010

    I love beer girl’s smile!

    What’s super “DRY” mean in the context of beer?

    Why do those balloons look so dirty? 😆

      • letsjapan
      • June 2nd, 2010

      Super Dry is just a good, respectable beer. As for the balloons, well, there’s this in/famous store in Harajuku (photo taken on Sunday, 23 May):


        • writechic
        • June 2nd, 2010

        Ha-ha-hahahaha!!! The pink guy has a screw for a dimple. 😆


        You’re saying the Natty Lites of Japan don’t say Super “DRY”?

        Lemme guess. Japanese etiquette dictates brutal honesty:


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