Customs and etiquette in Japan/Hiroshima Carp

For those of you who are curious, here is a link to what it is like to be polite in Japan. This includes things like bathing, bowing, eating, drinking, gift-giving, letters, hospitality, work, celebrations, etc.



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Went to a professional baseball game Saturday night in Hiroshima City.  It was the Hiroshima Toyo Carp v. the Tokyo Yakult Swallows.  This was the last of 3 tournaments between the major leagues that determined who was to go on to the Japanese playoffs.  Apparently, this was an especially important game, because it was the last game that the Carps would be playing in the Hiroshima stadium before it was to be demolished, and rebuilt in a new location.  I was surprised to see international players on both teams--Americans who likely were a little better than the minor league, but not quite as good to go pro.  Apparently this is quite common, and generally the advanced Japanese ballplayers go to the states to play pro for American teams instead.  The irony--no wonder why Japanese baseball teams aren't exceptionally good.

I suppose you can assume that the atmosphere was not quite like the kind you may be used to at professional games in the states.  Baseball food was trays of perfectly aligned, fermented sushi; shrimp salads and chopsticks galore; bowls of ramen; bean filled donuts, and this thing No one threw their peanut shells on the floor (not that I actually saw anyone eating any peanuts).  Mini beer kegs came on the backs of florescently-outfitted "beer ladies."  The field seemed a bit smaller too, and the pitcher's mound seemed surprisingly close to home plate.

Halftime included 6 or more animated mascots in cute little suits that paraded a lap around the field.  Food advertisements came in the shape of a giant ramen noodle cup in the back of a small truck that made a lap around the field as well.  Chants were tiresome and never ending, and by the end of the game I think we finally got the rhythm down on the Hiroshima plastic clapper things, though the chants were a wee bit out of my league.  Shortly after halftime, everybody in the stands instinctively started blowing up balloons that were to be let go at some precise moment later.  It was really cool to see all the balloons twirl up into the air, and see the aftermath later on the sidewalks outside the stadium.  Someone said that they do that every game; for an environmentally conscience country, this seemed kind of contradicting, but it is Japan.

Afterwards, we departed rather quickly so that a fellow teacher, Fuji San could drive us to Fukuyama, where we could catch the last train of the night back to Okayama.

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