Baseball in Japan is an Experience

24 Nov

I’ve never quite enjoyed a baseball game. Coming from the Philippines, it was never a popular sport and I didn’t understand it. Dating Mr Z who is a lover of baseball, I decided I’d try to get the hang of the bats, umpires, first and fourth innings. After watching two games, I was still scratching my head. I’d never understand what the big allure of baseball was.

Until Japan.

Japan was a ball changer.

The fans/spectators played a major part of Japanese baseball. We just didn’t cheer. We sing and we even do choreography.

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Fans dress outrageously

 

We watched the Hanshin Tigers from Osaka. When it was the Tigers turn to bat, a guy climbed on a box and faced the audience. He started shouting like he was a captain. Suddenly, flags rose and drums and horns started playing. Fans lifted their paraphernalia (see below) and everyone went wild.

Fans get ready

“Let’s go!” Fans get ready

 

There was a choreographed cheering, singing and shouting like never before. We were the whole cheering squad and if you don’t know the chants and songs…. well, you were bound to know now.

In the seventh inning, everyone got out and blew their balloons.

Get ready

Get ready

 

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and let them go to the sky

 

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The audience holds their breath

In the end, the Hanshin Tigers won against DNA. It was a close race too. I didn’t think the Tigers would score at the last inning but they did.

There was such a cheering and crying as never before.

We won! (check out the Japanese guy with the pin)

Japan has spoiled me. I don’t think I’ll ever go back to a regular non Japanese baseball game again.

 

 

 

 

Cormorant Fishing Festival in Japan

20 Oct

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We saw this awesome festival in Arashiyama called Cormorant fishing.  It’s where these ancient fishing masters train cormorants to hunt fish, keep them in their throats then regurgitate them. The practice has begun since 960 AD!

This is the description of cormorant fishing according to  Wikipedia:

To control the birds, the fishermen tie a snare near the base of the bird’s throat. This prevents the birds from swallowing larger fish, which are held in their throat, but the birds can swallow smaller fish. When a cormorant has caught a fish in its throat, the fisherman brings the bird back to the boat and has the bird spit the fish up.

Here is a close up of the snare in the cormorant

Here is a close up of the snare in the cormorant

 

We were all lined up in boats like these.

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Then the fishing began. The cormorant fisherman rows past us in his boat. The ceremony becomes more exciting as it’s fueled by Japanese drums and fire. The cormorants duck (so the speak… couldn’t resist) into the water hunting for fish. Then the cormorant fisherman takes them out and forces them to regurgitate the fish.

 

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Nothing quite like it.

To learn more about cormorant fishing, click Wikipedia’s Cormorant Fishing.

Image credit

 

Seeking Buddha 2 in Arashiyama Japan

20 Oct

Another off the beaten path trip we took was to Otagi Nenbutsuji in Arashiyama. I heard rave reviews about it in travel blogs. They all said it was worth the trip to get up there.

When we first went to look for it in Arashiyama (near Kyoto), we made the mistake of starting from the bottom and work our way uphill. What a mistake! It was hot, the climb was steep and uphill, full of people and by the time, we almost made it up there (probably walk for another 20 more minutes) we were tired and sweaty and have had enough of Arashiyama.

After consulting the blogs, I found the best way to get there. The second time we went we took a taxi cab up to Otagi Nenbutsuji from the Arashiyama station. It was a 5-7 minute cab ride and easy! After visiting the Otagi and Adashino (a solemn big graveyard site of 8,000 Buddha statues that date back to 800 AD–this was another 10 minute walk down), it was a 15 minute easy walk downhill past a traditional medieval farming neighborhood to the main attractions of Arashiyama.

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Surfing Buddha?

 

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Eating Buddha- my kind of Buddha!

Tennis Buddha

Tennis Buddha

"I don't like people" Buddha

“I don’t like people” Buddha

boxing Buddha

boxing Buddha

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Achieving nirvana – without hair

 

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Happy buddhas

 

the Otagi Nenbutsuji site

the Otagi Nenbutsuji site

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8,000 Buddhas at Adashino Nenbutsuji

Visit these blogs to learn more about these awesome off the beaten sites in Arashiyama:

Otagi Nenbutsuji

Adashino or Otagi Nenbutsuji

How to get to Otagi Nenbutsuji

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