Friday, May 14, 2010

Focus on this play, this moment!!

Ichi-go, ichi-e!

Let's Eat Ham!, originally uploaded by Nurse Kate.
Yesterday was our day in Osaka, which is about a hour and a half train ride (non-shinkansen) from Hikone. I felt like we weren't that far away from home, since we were going to a Tiger's game (Hanshin, not Detroit). That day, they were playing the "Ham Beaters". Seriously, no joke. This photograph was taking outside of the stadium, outside of some sort of bus thing. Besides the picture itself cracking me up, it says, "Kyou wa, hamu tabecha(su?)" or "Today, let's eat ham." With "he he he" at the bottom. Oh Japan.

I have hands down never enjoyed myself more at a baseball game in my life. Japanese people, for all their reservedness (is that a word?) just go batshit (ha! pun!) crazy and let themselves go totally. The best way that I heard it described to me was that it's like a high school football game. Actually, it made me feel young again. All the people chanting (constantly, actually), with drums and trumpets and huge flags. You get caught up in it so easily; I found myself clapping along soon enough.

This is a photograph from in-between innings. All the Japanese children were decked out in Tigers gear, and were as excited as the adults were about the game. Just behind the stands were a ton of food stands, with awesome Japanese food... no peanuts here! I had okinamiyaki, which was pretty much my favorite so far. It's kind of like a pizza, but with egg instead of dough and it has beef and Japanese food that I have no idea what it is, so... yeah, it's not really like pizza I suppose. That plus Japanese beer = a wonderful afternoon at the game.

These stands didn't just have food, it had a smoking room! Wait, wait, wait. It wasn't a smoking room, it was a smoking fishbowl. Imagine a bunch of people chain smoking, staring up at the television screen and reacting to every play that was occurring. This guy really intrigued me, and I loved the way the light hit his face and jersey as the smoke wafted from his mouth. His concentration was unbroken as I was taking shots of him, whereas the guy behind him just wanted another puff. I feel the blurred arm and reflection add to the "caged tiger" look (I'm full of it today!).

Finally, there was the Seventh Inning Stretch. Hold on to your bento box, because this is unlike ANY kind of stretch you've seen. At the beginning of the seventh inning, you start to see these large balloons (which were pretty phallic shaped actually) rise among the rafters. By the middle of the inning, everybody stands up and starts chanting/singing... and then they release the balloons! They make the most hilarious sound, but besides that, it creates the most wonderful display of colors against the stark black sky.

Today we're going to Hikone Castle, because it was too rainy for us to go on Tuesday. We're then going to have dinner in Nagahama and perhaps go to a Sento (traditional bathhouse!). Then this weekend, I'm planning for Kyoto again (there's going to be a procession with traditional dress! plus I need to see a geisha), and Tokyo on sunday. I'm so geeked. I love this country.


  1. The guy in the background just does not give a damn what you or anyone else thinks. I love his facial expression. Good capture!

  2. Your pictures are pretty sweet. Simple and focussed on their subject. So professional!