Japanese baseball is as much a reflection of that country’s culture as American baseball is for the United States.
As noted by Robert Whiting in his delightful book “Ya Gotta Have Wa”, there are many unique aspects of Japanese baseball that give it a distinct charm and character. Bands playing Beethoven during opening day, commentators citing the blood type of a player (with the belief that it has an effect on performance), colorful balloon releases during the seventh inning stretch, umpires practicing calls during pre-game warm-ups; there are countless nuances that make Japanese baseball a one-of-a-kind experience.
Perhaps one of the most notable characteristics of Japanese baseball is the demeanor of the fan, who may choose to sit quietly through a game, rather than heckle or send vulgarities towards opposing players. However, if you were to place that same fan in one of the organized cheering groups (oendan), that restraint may quickly be lifted. Spurred by energetic cheerleaders and a pounding rhythm section of taiko drums, horns, and whistles, these fans become wild, often yelling and screaming for the entire game.
A television producer once remarked, after spending nine innings in the midst of an oendan, “These people are lunatics! There’s more noise here than a World Series and Army-Navy game combined!” Though seats for our tour are located in the infield, you can still visit the oendan in the outfield, and experience the madness, if you so desire.
Regardless of if you are cheering at the top of your lungs in an oendan or quietly observing, you will find that Japanese baseball is akin to a big time college football game: over-the-top, full of infectious energy, and meant to be experienced in person for full appreciation. With such immense passion, Japanese baseball is much more than just a game; it really is a reflection of the culture of an entire nation. As such, a goal of our Japan Baseball Adventure is to delve deeply into that culture.
Japan is a fascinating blend of 21st century modernity and traditions that date back centuries: pagodas glitter amidst a forest of glass towers, city life is muted by the tinkling of temple bells, and as a farmer hand-plants his rice crop, a bullet train flashes by. Though we show you a broad array of baseball, we visit many other places all across Japan to provide an in-depth experience of the country.
Even traveling between these destinations is a marvel! From the sleek, high-speed Shinkansen bullet trains that rocket down the tracks, to the modern taxis, complete with automatic doors and white-gloved drivers, to the uber-convenient, gleaming subways, getting from point A to point B is never a dull endeavor. Some of our guests have even noted that the speed and ease of moving around Japan may in itself be worth the visit.
I’ll be with you the whole way, along with my partner, Mayumi, who is a Japanese native. We meet you when you arrive and see you off as you depart Japan. Though the trip is fully escorted, we are never so close as to encroach on your personal experience of the Japanese game and culture.