Category Archives: Sports

Congratulations to Japan’s World Cup winners!

I’m not a soccer fan, but I am very happy Japan won the Women’s World Cup. This should be a huge morale boost for Japan, which is still feeling the effects of the earthquake and tsunami. What I am disgusted about is how many Americans on Twitter and elsewhere have been badmouthing Japan with comments about Pearl Harbor and racial slurs. Honestly, grow up and take the loss like an adult who doesn’t dwell on the past. It’s a great thing for Japan to have this win.

On a related note, I wasn’t upset and insulting Americans when the Boston Bruins defeated the Vancouver Canucks to win the Stanley Cup. Boston deserved the win. Japan deserved this win.

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My first Japanese pro baseball game

In October 2010, I was invited by my friend to a baseball game at Seibu Dome in Tokorozawa, Saitama.  I gladly accepted his invitation.  I’d never been to a baseball game in Japan before.  This game was game 2 of the first stage of the Pacific League Climax Series between the Saitama Seibu Lions and Chiba Lotte Marines.  I’m not a fan of baseball, but what interested me was how the fans cheered.  It was very different than anything I’d seen in Canada.  Every player had their own chant and song.  The fans would do the chant whenever each player came out.  Far from home plate, way at the back of the stadium, there’s a section where fans do a choreographed show of flag waving and singing.  Very interesting to see that.  Unfortunately for the Lions fans, they lost the game 5-4 in extra innings.  Enjoy the pictures and video of the cheering.

It's a beautiful autumn day at the Seibu Dome

Lots of people are here to see the game.

Hot dogs! Yes, I had one.

This is shortly after I entered the Seibu Dome. My seat is on the right, near 3rd base.

The players are warming up before the game.

This is from my seat. I was surrounded by Lions fans. My seat was pretty close to the field.

Looking up at the dome. The dome is actually an addition to the stadium a few years after its construction.

Fans can buy big balloons to blow up. On command, they're all released at once, and they are quite noisy.

Game over! The Marines beat the home team.

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September 2010 Aki Basho Tokyo Grand Sumo Tournament

On September 13, 2010, I attended my third sumo tournament of the year.  There are 3 sumo tournaments in Tokyo each year, with the other 3 being in Osaka, Nagoya and Fukuoka.  This is the first tournament after the return of the suspended sumo wrestlers.  As I mentioned before, those sumo wrestlers were suspended because of illegal gambling on baseball.  For this tournament, I was seated even closer than I had been before.  Directly in front of me was a walkway, so I had no one sitting in front of me to block my view.

This day had a little excitement.  First was a crazy fan of the sumo wrestler Hakuba.  He was shouting and cheering Hakuba’s name, and even ran a quarter of the way around the arena to try to get Hakuba’s attention.  Down below, you can watch a video of this fan.  Also, I happened to see 3 retired sumo wrestlers that I recognized quite well.  First was Tokitsuumi, who is now the head coach of the Tokitsukaze stable.  Then I saw Kitazakura, one of my favourites who retired this year.  He was well known for throwing large handfuls of salt.  And finally, I saw Takasago, the head coach of the Takasago stable, which was Asashoryu’s stable.  Tokitsuumi was the only one to walk directly in front of me.  But the biggest thing was when I arrived.  I arrived at the same time as Goeido, a young sumo wrestler who is thought to be the next best hope to become Yokozuna in the future.

Anyway, enjoy the pictures and videos!

Makushita match

This is a Makushita division match.

Stadium seating at Ryogoku Kokugikan

The lower seats are mat seating, while the upper seats are stadium seating. I always get stadium seats.

Ryogoku Kokugikan

This is my view at this tournament. It's closer than ever.

Ryogoku Kokugikan ceiling

This is the ceiling. It looks like pretty much any indoor arena.

Takamisakari vs Mokonami

This is Takamisakari versus Mokonami. Takamisakari won.

Takamisakari is a big fan favourite, because of how he acts.  After this match, I got to watch the crazy Hakuba fan.  Here’s the video I took of him.

Tokusegawa vs Tochinoshin

This is Tokusegawa versus Tochinoshin. Tochinoshin won.

Aran vs Kotoshogiku

This is Sekiwake Aran versus Kotoshogiku. Kotoshogiku won.

Kyokutenho vs Tochiozan

This is Kyokutenho versus Sekiwake Tochiozan. Tochiozan won.

Harumafuji vs Homasho

This is Ozeki Harumafuji versus Homasho. Harumafuji won.

Wakanosato vs Kaio

This is Wakanosato versus Ozeki Kaio. Kaio won this match. He's the oldest active sumo wrestler, and is very popular. He's been one of the longest Ozeki in history.

Baruto vs Kisenosato

This is Ozeki Baruto versus Komusubi Kisenosato. Kisenosato won.

Kakuryu vs Kotooshu

This is Komusubi Kakuryu versus Ozeki Kotooshu. Kotooshu won.

Hakuho vs Tokitenku - sponsors

Finally is Yokozuna Hakuho versus Tokitenku. These are some of the sponsors for this match, including McDonald's.

Hakuho vs Tokitenku

They're still going through their preparations. Hakuho won this match. He's going for a record winning streak.

Finally, here’s a video of Yobidashi singing near the main entrance as I was leaving.  Yobidashi are the men who sing the names of the sumo wrestlers before their matches, basically acting as musical announcers.  They also do other odd jobs around the ring.

I hope you enjoyed the photos and videos.

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Filed under 23 Wards, Japan, Sports, Sumida-ku, Tokyo

Picture of the Week 23 – Lions Versus Marines

On Sunday, October 10, I went to my first Japanese baseball game. It was a playoff game between Saitama Seibu Lions and Chiba Lotte Marines. The game was at Seibu Dome in Tokorozawa, Saitama prefecture. The Marines won the game 5-4 in 11 innings. Long game! This picture was taken from my seat.

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Watching NHL hockey in Japan

The NHL season is starting soon, but as hockey isn’t very popular in Japan, it’s difficult to see any games.  The only place I can go is online for that.  However, watching streaming games is sometimes difficult.  There are live streaming games that are only available in North America, there are unofficial streaming games that are rather choppy and difficult to watch, and there are radio feeds that are free, but provide no video.  What I usually do is watch the highlights.  The games are played when I’m going to work, anyway.  It’s a difficult thing to watch in Japan.

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Watching sumo live for the third time

I got my seat, and my view is unobstructed by anyone in front of me. I’m closer than I’ve ever been. On my way in, I saw Goeido arriving. I wish I had time to get my camera out. This is my third tournament this year, every one that’s been in Tokyo. Will I do the same next year? Unlike the previous 2 times, I’m not taking pictures of matches. I need a new camera.

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Popular sports in Japan

Japan is a sports-loving country.  You see it everywhere and it’s always being talked about on TV.  The most popular sports are baseball and soccer.  Japan has a professional baseball league with skill levels that rival Major League Baseball.  Japan also has a well developed professional soccer league, J-League.  Amateur baseball is very big.  High schools all across Japan have teams that compete to go to Koshien Stadium in Nishinomiya, Hyogo Prefecture.  This is a closely watched tournament in Japan, and I wonder if it rivals the pro league in popularity.

Apart from these two big sports, there are other very popular sports.  Judo is quite big in Japan.  Sumo is having problems with gambling scandals, so its popularity is waning.  Figure skating is quite big, due to the high quality of today’s competitors (Mao Asada is probably the best known).  Golf is having an upswing in popularity due to the very talented and young Ryo Ishikawa and the number one ranked LPGA player Ai Miyazato.  Volleyball is also quite popular, particularly women’s volleyball and beach volleyball.  And then there’s table tennis, which is often shown on TV, and the focus is on the young Ai Fukuhara.  Another big sport is the marathon.  There are many marathons in Japan, and some of the top marathoners in the world are Japanese.

There are more sports, and I’ve probably missed a couple, but these are the major ones that I could think of.  Any more?

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