Today we begin a series called “Japan is a rocking cool country because…” Today’s rocking cool aspect of Japan is baseball. Since I was a child I have been a lover of baseball games. As a little girl, I enjoyed the open air American-ness of a stadium, the hot dogs and conversation, the singing of the anthem and the slow thrill of the game. For about two seasons in my youth, I even would have television baseball picnics, in which I would spread out a blanket on my living room floor, make popcorn and gather craft supplies and watch a game on tv while making art like a craft nerd.
Japan adapted its love of baseball after the great American sport, but takes it to a new and highly entertaining level that must be experienced to be believed. Now I am a huge fan of baseball, and of public simultaneous song and dance, and what could be better than both put together in one perfect arena? Cousin Kate, Jose and I attended a Yokohama Bay Stars game and witnessed the wonder that is a game in Japan. The stadium was filled with fans, and fans of the respective teams sat on opposing sides of the stadium. While your team was at bat, there was no sitting placidly while your team’s member concentrated on connecting their bat with the ball. Instead there was standing! And cheering! And song! There was a man leading cheers in the stands and two live bands for each team. Grown men trade baseball cards in the stands, and children beat together hollow plastic bats in time to the cheers. Enthusiastic shouts in Japanese we mingled with the gaijin voices of three Americans attempting to discern the content of the cheers and sing along. Pounds of junk food were consumed, cheer interpretation was part of the fun, and though our newfound beloved team lost, I can say that Japan is a rocking cool country because its baseball games are TOO MUCH FUN AND AWESOME!