Hi all! It's been a while... Since I last wrote in this blog I've taken in a Japanese baseball game, I've travelled to Nagasaki, I've read another book, and I've parted ways with Josh.
Firstly, Josh and I saw the local Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks take on the Chiba Lotte Marines managed by former MLB manager Bobby Valentine. MLB fans may have recognized Benny Agbayani (now known as ベニー), he now plays for the Marines. The game, watched by a little under 35000 fans, was agreat pitchers' duel with both starting pitchers throwing complete games. In fact the game came down to the last pitch when Hiroshi Shibahara of the Hawks took Shunsuke Watanabe's (whom some of you may remember from the WBC) two out pitch out to the right field foul pole for the game's only run in the bottom of the ninth. Josh and I had been joking that the game would OBVIOUSLY have to end with a two out full count homerun, but we didn't think our prediction would even come close to coming true. From a baseball standpoint the game was great, I only wish the dome could have been open. Funny how both live games I've attended this year have lead to pitchers duels, and had closed retractable roofs.
We sat to the third base side of home plate, only rows away from the best seats. We even got free t-shirts because I had gotten the tickets at 7 Eleven (the Japanese take the word convenience in convenience store very seriously). The entertainment value of the game was also quite good. Both side's cheering sections were quite hot, but at times the main crowd was a bit docile. SoftBank features 8 Hawk mascots (who look more like chickens), and a streotypically white and blond MC who spoke some (I think deliberately) weird Japanese. The MC was the only thing that bugged me about the game, since it just seemed exploitative. But I enjoyed watching Josh marvel at the confetti throwing after the fifth, the yellow balloon launch after the seventh, and the white balloon launch, fireworks, and 'hero interviews' after the home team win.
Also of note was the hotel we stayed in in Fukuoka. The room was barely big enough to hold our two twin beds but still managed to fit everything you would find in a regular hotel room. The room's TV also had porn so we were able to get a taste of Japan's weird censorship laws, and downright creepy porn. Needless to say we won't be rushing out to extoll the virues of Japanese porn.
The next day we made our way to Nagasaki. We took in the Nagasaki Peace Park and A-bomb museum on our arrival. The museum was probably the best exhibit we saw and Japan, and probably one of the best compiled I've ever seen. The exhibits clearly examine the damage caused by the bomb, and isn't afraid to criticize the Japanese government of the past (even calling it faschist). The park also featured interesting things like statues donateed by various countries. We were somewhat suprised to find many Soviet bloc statues getting prime spots leading up to the main Peace Statue. The Peace Statue is an impressive sight. I would recommend a trip to Nagasaki to see these sights alone.
I have some more to write but I have places to go and people to see so I'll continue this later...