Saturday, May 15, 2010

Day 23 in Tokyo

Laura headed out to join Daniel and Sarah so we have a slow morning and decide to head in to Asakusa. The area outside the station is a scenic spot of sorts. Looking across the Sumida River is a good view of the Asahi Breweries building (supposedly resembles a glass of beer). Not sure about the gold coloured object. Also not sure about the tower under construction although I've heard it will be 600 metres high when completed.

We want to check out Nakamise- Dori, which is an arcade of shops leading up to the Senso-ji. These shops apparently specialise in traditional Japanese crafts, but we didn't have time to check them out when we were at Senso- ji with Paul previously. Whilst it's quite a pleasant time browsing around, the items on sale are the usual tourist trinkets. Probably the first time we've encountered this in Japan as the tourist spots usually have quite good quality and varied wares.

We decide to have lunch and head for a fairly crowded 'sashimi train' restaurant. Upon sitting down I pour out some soy into a small bowl and notice a small container with green powder inside. 'This must be some sort of dried wasabi' I think to myself. I mix it with the soy, then dunk some sashimi (a cheap one to start fortunately!). The taste is pretty average. I look up and notice a large bowl of wasabi paste trundle past on the train. I look down and notice the container with the green powder has 'tea' on the top (in English'). I then discover a self-serve hot water tap to make green tea. The Japanese guy beside me is by this time highly amused by the comedy of errors unfolding beside him and graciously gives me some rudimentary sign language instructions. The rest of the sashimi lunch was great.

After sashimi we find a taikeshi stand and can't resist. We have one filled with custard, the other filled with chocolate. Perfect complement to a sashimi lunch.

We head back to Nishi Shinjuku to freshen up (Ginza line then Maranouchi line). We then head out to the Tokyo Dome which is about six stops away from Shinjuku on the Chuo line. We are meeting all the others for a baseball game.

It is the start of the season and the home team, the Tokyo Giants are up against the Lions from somewhere out in the suburbs.

This is amazing covered arena used only for baseball. We have great seats for what proves to be a walkover by the Giants. Stll exciting - the fans of the two teams sit in separate areas (Laura was asked which team we support when she bought the tickets - naturally we are supporting the home side!)

The atmosphere is great. When each side bats their fans keep up a range of songs and chants - there are taiko drums and brass band to keep the fans in time and in tune. The singing and chanting is accompanied by synchronized hand movements. When the Giants score (which is frequently) a special song is used and the fans wave their team colours in synch. Fabulous!!!

As well as exciting an evening at the baseball involves lots of refreshments. We all decide on hotdogs although there are many other foods available. A huge range of drinks are available at your seat - they are brought around by a small army of very fit young ladies who are constantly patrolling - each girl sells one type of refreshment. Those supplying beer have a small keg which they hike around with.

After the game we head home. This sort of midweek entertainment works so well in Tokyo because of the amazingly efficient and effective public transport. Tomorrow it's Sumo.

More baseball photos including beer girls

-- Post From Geoff's iPhone

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