I went to the baseball game this weekend, as well as walked around Tokyo for the first time. It was very interesting indeed.

I started the day by going to the imperial palace. At least the parts that I could go to. It’s about 5 km around and it’s surrounded by this really big moat and then a massive wall. On the other side, there are plenty of Matsu trees (Japanese pine) and lots of guards running about. I saw some cars leave with a police escort – perhaps someone famous!

The east garden is accessible for everybody for free, so I went and walked around. They had a lovely little lake in the middle with some great Japanese gardens. Definately the most manicured gardens I’ve been to in Japan.

After that I took the train to Ueno and walked to Asakusa. I didn’t really like Asakusa that much, but it was pretty interesting. I found Kamakura much more interesting. Asakusa seemed to be very touristy, with lots of kitchy things and expensive stuff. I bought a dango with sweet soy on the outside and the machi inside wasn’t good at all. So perhaps there were a few things that I didn’t like. Plus there were gaijin everywhere. Possibly more gaijin than nihonjin.

So I tailed my way out of there. On the way out I found something interesting. There was this old guy doing some sort of ritual – more of a song than a ritual, but it was very cool to watch! I wonder what he was doing? Execising the tourist demons from the area? Maybe.

After that I went to Ueno. That was really nice. I really enjoyed the big park and the big lake in the bottom part of it. There’s a zoo and in the lake the lotus flowers were blooming and the lotus leaves were gigantuan! Kinda like the King Kong movie! I’ve never seen such big water flowers before. I thought that perhaps Budda could have been born on one of those. That would make sense.

I then hooned it to the Tokyo Dome, where the baseball was playing. I exchanged tickets and ran into Geoff there. I had forgotten my mobile at home (doh!) and the others had tried to ring me. Nevertheless, I ran into Okada-san and Ines at the game, so that was great. Okada-san was doing pretty well from the drinks and got progressively more drunk at the game. He bought us all beer, which was very generous. The beer in the Tokyo Dome is sold by women wearing a tank on their back. The order for beer would come, they’d kneel down in front of you in a very submissive way, pour the beer from the tank (through a hose, like a draft would have) and then we’d gulp it down. Yum! Okada-san said that that system is patented and can only be used in the Tokyo Dome! Interesting.

Anyways, the game got off to a slow start, but then the Nippon Ham (Fighters) got 4 runs in one inning. The Softbank Hawks could only get 1 run in the next inning an then the Fighters got some more after, so the game ended with 7 points to 1.

The Fighters are quite famous and they have 2 celebrities on the team. Actually both of them got home-runs so I imagine they deserve their fame. The first in Shinjo (just “Shinjo” – kinda like Madonna or Cher, and also only in Romaji – the other players had their usual Kanji or Katakana (for foreigners) name). He’s a bit of a loaded gun, but he did deliver. Apparently he’s got an LED belt that flashes slogans on it. Too wierd! The other was some guy named Osagaru or something. Okada-san knew them all and went wild when they came up to bat.

We all did the YMCA dance at the game and we all had a good time.

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