Monday, April 27, 2009

Japan in no particular order: Manners

Vending machines are everywhere.  So you're never far from a Pocari Sweat or Amino Supli.

Late in the game, Emma and I discover that the following things are considered rude:

  1. Blowing your nose or sneezing in public
  2. Wearing sandals barefoot without socks
  3. Eating or drinking while walking

Good thing we are doing them constantly. Oops! Sorry Japan!

The second of these is pretty unfortunate given how hot it gets. And the third is super-strange given the ubiquitous soda vending machines. It explains the lack of trash cans, though.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Japan in no particular order: Baseball


After Lonely Planet tells us that there are "beer girls with kegs strapped to their backs," there is no question we are going to the game. Luckily, the Yakult Swallows suck, so the ticket prices are cheap. (ticket girl: "You want to sit on the *home team* side?"). On the way in, we pick up sake and edamame, which you are allowed to bring in. The game starts out normally, and (phew!) there really are keg girls.

Then crazy things start happening. The other team has carefully-coordinated cheers involving sitting down and standing up and colored shirts and singing. The third batter comes out to Toto's Africa (homage to the Japanese toilet manufacturer?). The next batter opts for Carmina Burana. When the Swallows score, every other fan busts out a pink or blue clear plastic umbrella and thursts it into the air. There are cheerleaders, but in conservative outfits. There is a mascot dressed as a Swallow. When the Carp finally score, they inflate thousands of balloons shaped like sperm and release them all at once.

The Swallows pull off a surprise victory, due no doubt to our keg-girl-beer-fueled cheering.