Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Baseball tournament game at Tokyo Dome

On 20th November 2015, I had some business at the Embassy of India in Tokyo. 21st and 22nd November were weekend holidays and 23rd November was Labor Thanksgiving Day national holiday. So hubby and I had been to Tokyo area from 20th to 23rd November last year. Hubby had to take one day’s leave from his workplace on 20th November. We usually use flight to travel from Akita to Tokyo area as the two places are very far apart and such long distance travel can be a bit tiring. However we could not reserve flight tickets, and so we traveled by Shinkansen bullet train and it was so much fun. The business dealing at the embassy was only possible between 4 pm to 5 pm on 20th November, so we had to be in Tokyo area by 3 pm. Therefore on that day we left our home in Yurihonjo City at about 9 am, and after about 50 minutes of car ride, we reached Akita Airport where we parked our car at a parking lot for four days. This is because it is extremely difficult to park cars for several consecutive days near Akita Railway Station area in Akita City. Afterwards we took a bus and reached Akita Station. We used Akita Shinkansen Komachi train to travel from Akita to Ueno in Tokyo area. The train started at about 11 am and it took us about 4 hours to reach Ueno Railway Station. The Shinkansen train travel was comfortable and fun. Then we used local trains to travel up to the Embassy of India in Tokyo. While walking from the Shinkansen platforms to the local platforms inside Ueno Station, somewhere along the way we saw a huge traditional rake called Kumade hanging from the ceiling of the station. Kumade is a good luck charm that is supposed to rake in success, wealth, safety, and happiness. The colorful, decorated, and ornamented Kumade looked absolutely stunning. Since we were in a hurry, I could appreciate the Kumade charm only for a few minutes. We reached the Indian Embassy at about 4.30 pm. and my business there was finished with in just ten minutes.
Huge Kumade rake hanging from the ceiling inside Ueno Railway Station

Good luck charm Kumade

After finishing my business at the Embassy of India in Tokyo, we traveled by local trains for about 1.5 hours and reached Tsukuba City in Ibaraki prefecture. My Ph.D. supervisor from India was visiting KEK Tsukuba for some experiments and I wished to meet her. The last time I met her was way back in December 2003 and that too only for a few minutes. So this time I was very much looking forward to meet her. Writing here about her brought back a flood of memories from the past. While doing my doctoral thesis work, I might have felt her to be a bit strict. But looking back I realize that instead of leading us by holding our hands, she asked us to walk ahead while she observed from behind. She helped all students in cultivating three important qualities, namely creativity, imagination, and originality. It has definitely helped her students in professional success. I am thankful to her for guiding me as her doctoral student and appreciate her efforts for mentoring me in the correct path in my life. It felt great to meet my Ph.D. supervisor and we talked a lot about the past and present research conditions in India. We had dinner at a restaurant in Tsukuba City and had a nice time for about three hours. Afterwards we all said our good byes, and hubby and I went to a hotel in the city itself where we stayed for two consecutive nights.
My Ph.D. supervisor and I

On 21st November 2015, hubby and I went to see a baseball tournament game at Tokyo Dome. The baseball tournament was named 2015 WBSC Premier 12. It was an international baseball championship tournament sponsored by the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC). The tournament was actually the inaugural event of WBSC Premier 12. The entire tournament was held from 8th to 21st November in Taiwan and Japan. The top twelve teams in the WBSC World Rankings qualified to participate in the tournament, which began with two groups of six teams playing in a round-robin format for the first round. The tournament then continued with the top four teams in each group playing in the single elimination knockout stage, leading to the championship game. The semifinal and final round were held in Japan. The consolation game and championship game were held at the Tokyo Dome stadium on the final day of the tournament. We went to see the third place consolation game between Japan and Mexico.

We had already purchased two tickets for the baseball tournament game at a convenience store in Akita. The tickets cost 8800 Yen per person. In fact, with these tickets it was possible to see the consolation game as well as the championship game though we only saw the consolation game in which the Japanese baseball team fought for the third place. On 21st November 2015, we left the hotel in Tsukuba City at about 10 am and took several local trains to reach Korakuen Railway Station in Tokyo area. From the station, we walked for about 10 minutes and reached the entrance gate of Tokyo Dome City. Tokyo Dome City is an entertainment complex having many structures including Tokyo Dome baseball stadium and an amusement park. After walking inside the Tokyo Dome City premises for about five minutes, we saw Tokyo Dome stadium right in front of us. I was surprised by the hugeness of the dome stadium. It is the first domed stadium of Japan located in Bunkyo Ward of Tokyo. The stadium opened in March 1988 and has a maximum total capacity of 55000, with an all-seating configuration of 42000 people. It is the home field of the Yomiuri Giants baseball team. In addition to the baseball games, several other sports like basketball, American football, and pro-wrestling matches, as well as music concerts and many other important events are held at the dome throughout the year. We loved the dome shaped architecture of the stadium building and took a few photos of it. We appreciated the stadium building and its surroundings for some time and then entered inside the stadium at about 12.15 pm. The minute we entered inside the stadium, we were transported to a different world altogether. We loved the atmosphere inside the stadium where a huge crowd had gathered to cheer for their favorite national team. We bought a few snacks from a food stall located inside the dome and settled in our seats. The whole field was visible from our seats. We loved viewing the interior architecture of the big and clean stadium.
Hubby standing near the entrance gate of Tokyo Dome City

Hubby standing in front of Tokyo Dome stadium

I am standing in front of the dome stadium

View inside the dome stadium

I am sitting on my seat and waiting for the tournament game to begin

An opening ceremony was held at about 1 pm prior to the start of the third place consolation game between Japan and Mexico. The Mexican and Japanese baseball players were led on to the field and they lined up forming an L-shaped pattern on the stadium ground. The Japanese team wearing black and white striped jersey tops and the Mexican team wearing red jersey tops looked grand. The national anthems of both the countries were played. In addition, the Mexican and Japanese national flags were unfurled during their respective national anthems.
Japanese baseball players lining up for the opening ceremony

Japanese (black and white striped jersey tops) and Mexican (red jersey tops) players lined up forming an L-shaped pattern on the stadium ground

Unfurling of the Mexican (red arrow) and Japanese (black arrow) national flags

National anthem of Mexico being played

National anthem of Japan being played

After the opening ceremony, the consolation game between Japan and Mexico started. It was very interesting and enjoyable to watch the game. As the game progressed, the atmosphere in the dome stadium got hotter and stronger, and the Japanese fans cheered non-stop for their national team. I would like to mention here that attending a baseball game in Japan involves active participation of the spectators and fans in cheering their team. For me the most fun part was enjoying this uniquely coordinated non-stop cheering and singing by the fans. We all fans energetically cheered for the Japanese team. It was unfortunate that there were not that many fans of the Mexican baseball team in attendance. Well, the tournament game was being played in Tokyo, so I guess it was bound to happen.
2015 WBSC Premier 12 third place consolation game between Japanese and Mexican baseball teams in progress at Tokyo Dome stadium

Another photo of the baseball tournament game in progress

Japanese fans cheering for their national team

Another photo of coordinated cheering by the Japanese fans

Hubby is enjoying the game immensely. We can also see a huge crowd inside the stadium.

Hubby taking photos of the game

Almost all the baseball players in the Japanese national team were selected from the Central League or from the Pacific League of Nippon Professional Baseball. So we got an opportunity to see many of our favorite batters and pitchers in action during the game. Here are some photos of several batters and pitchers. We clicked a few photos of pitcher Takeda Shota from Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks, pitcher Sugano Tomoyuki from Yomiuri Giants, batter Sakamoto Hayato from Yomiuri Giants, batter Yamada Tetsuo from Tokyo Yakult Swallows, batter Tsutsugoh Yoshitomo from Yokohama DeNA Baystars, batter Nakata Sho from Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters, and batter Matsuda Nobuhiro from Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks in action. In addition, I also compiled animated GIF photos of all the above batters and pitchers. It is fun to watch these animated GIF photos.
Pitcher Takeda Shota

Another photo of the pitcher in action

Animated GIF photo of the pitcher in action

Pitcher Sugano Tomoyuki

Another photo of the pitcher in action

Yet another photo of the pitcher in action

Animated GIF photo of the pitcher in action

Batter Sakamoto Hayato

Another photo of the batter in action

Animated GIF photo of the batter in action

Batter Yamada Tetsuo

Another photo of the batter in action

Animated GIF photo of the batter in action

Batter Tsutsugoh Yoshitomo

Another photo of the batter in action

Yet another photo of the batter in action

Animated GIF photo of the batter in action

Batter Nakata Sho

Another photo of the batter in action

Yet another photo of the batter in action

Animated GIF photo of the batter in action

Batter Matsuda Nobuhiro

Another photo of the batter in action

Animated GIF photo of the batter in action

For the third place consolation game, Japan beat Mexico 11-1 in 7 innings, and we were very happy that Japan won the game that day. There was celebratory mood all around inside the stadium and all the Japanese players congratulated each other. In addition, the Mexican team members also congratulated the Japanese team members for their hard-earned bronze medal. Afterwards there was an award ceremony. All the Japanese players lined up on the ground, and one by one they received bronze medals from the invited dignitaries. The stadium was filled with cheering and clapping of fans. It was such a happy moment for the Japanese people.
Scoreboard inside the stadium indicating that Japan beat Mexico 11-1 in 7 innings

Japanese players congratulating each other after the win

Mexican players congratulating the Japanese players

The scoreboard indicating that the award ceremony is in progress

Japanese players lined up on the ground for the award ceremony

A few Japanese players receiving bronze medals

A few more Japanese players receiving bronze medals

The Japanese team posing for the media photographers after the award ceremony

We left the stadium after the award ceremony. In fact, we were a bit undecided whether to watch the final championship game between USA and South Korea which was to be held later in the evening. This is because with our tickets it was possible to see the championship game also. But finally we decided to give it a pass. Once outside the stadium, we again enjoyed viewing the Tokyo Dome stadium and its surrounding attractions for some time. Near the dome stadium, we saw a parachute-shaped attraction known as Sky Flower. The baskets attached to the Sky Flower seemed to float like parachutes. We decided to ride on this amusing looking attraction. We bought two tickets each worth 620 Yen and entered one of the baskets of the Sky Flower. The basket was initially at the ground level, and then slowly went up to its maximum height of 61 meters from where we enjoyed viewing the dome stadium and its surroundings. The basket then made a free fall drop before stopping at the ground level. We can enjoy such a free fall ride twice. The free fall rides were really amusing and that weird sinking feeling in the stomach is unforgettable.
Hubby standing inside the stadium and is a bit undecided whether to watch the final championship game also

Hubby and I standing in front of an advertisement board of the baseball tournament located just outside the stadium

Hubby standing in front of the dome stadium

I am standing outside the stadium along with a few amusement rides in the background

Tokyo Dome, a few amusement rides, and I

Sky Flower amusement ride

People inside baskets (red arrow) enjoying the parachute-shaped ride

I am too excited while going up inside one of the baskets of the Sky Flower

Tokyo Dome stadium as viewed from the top while looking down from the basket

We left the Tokyo Dome City area at about 5 pm and had dinner at a beef-bowl chain restaurant named Yoshinoya located nearby. We had Gyudon meal sets which were simple and delicious. Afterwards we returned to Tsukuba City where we stayed at the hotel for one more night. On reaching our hotel room, we immediately retired to bed as we were rather tired due to all the travel and excitement of watching the baseball tournament game.
My dinner

Hubby’s dinner

Hubby having dinner

Hubby fast asleep in the hotel room

The next day, that is, on 22nd November 2015, we went to see a soccer game at a stadium in Tokyo area about which I will write in the next post.


Kalpanaa M said...

I love reading your blog. I always learn so much.

Manisha Kundu-Nagata said...

Thank you very much Kalpanaa for reading my blog.