If you have never experienced a baseball game in Japan, now is the time. It’s the beginning of baseball season and it’s a must see in Japan. Here are a few things that differentiate Japanese baseball from its US counterpart
In Japan there are whole bleacher sections appropriated for each team, complete with drums and specific cheers for each and every player. It is not uncommon to have a sea of people in matching colors sitting in a section cheering in a choreographed manner. Everyone knows the chants for each player and makes viewing much more fun!
There is a wide variety of food other than the standard hot dog, beer, and soda fare seen in the US. Sushi, curry, gyoza, alcohol shots (Suntory whiskey and sake shots being a favorite) and bento boxes to name a few. There literally is something for everyone.
In the US, this is typically used for stretching and the standard “take me out to the ballgame” song. In Japan, this is the time for the “lucky 7th inning” complete with fight songs and balloons. It is quite a sight to see.
In Japan there is a huge premium on time. Games start after business hours (usually after 6 PM on weekdays) and if a game goes into overtime it will stop around 10 PM and can end in a tie. This is to ensure that fans can get home as some metro stations close. This would never happen in the US as games need a victor
It is not uncommon for Japanese teams to be sponsored by companies (i.e. Yakut Swallows), almost unheard of in the US. Can you imagine the McDonald Mets?
So if ever in Japan make sure to enjoy a baseball game. It is so much fun and a definite cultural experience. Go and cheer your heart out, you will be so glad you did!