Tokyo Dome

April 24, 2024 • Louie Mantia

Earlier this year during the Hakuho Cup, Aiki and I realized we both enjoy baseball games, so we made vague plans to go when the season started. I haven’t been to a baseball game in years, and I kinda miss it. I’m not a sports person per se, I’m there for the environment, snacks, and socializing.

This week, we went to the Yomiuri Giants / Chunichi Dragons game at Tokyo Dome. I wanna tell you about all the things I noticed from the perspective of an American going to a Japanese baseball game. The first of which could not have been more on the nose. It was Godzilla Day at Tokyo Dome.

We sat in left field, which is a spot I haven’t really sat in before. I’m either infield or up in the nosebleeds. There were a few runs in the first inning, which was an exciting start, but Aiki and I realized we both don’t need to sit in our seats the whole game, so we got up to get some snacks. I got ...a Godzilla burger (below) and a Godzilla drink (not pictured).

The game felt surreal. At times, it seemed like I was in California. You see, the Yomiuri Giants look just like the San Francisco Giants. And the Chunichi Dragons are eerily similar to the LA Dodgers. The logos are so close that you would absolutely do a double-take. It’s so strange.

Each team has 3+ mascots, not to be outdone by American baseball. There are also cheerleaders, which I’m not used to seeing in the context of baseball.

We got up again to find some more snacks. You know, I’m used to the hot-dog-peanuts-cracker-jack-nachos variety of ballpark snacks. I was not prepared to see yakisoba and bento. Aiki wanted to get long potato. I think they’re made from reconstituted potatoes rather than from cutting them. Just a little salty. We needed a drink.

Beer is not served from cans, but rather a keg strapped onto the vendor’s back, with a hose that clips onto the shoulder strap. It’s mostly young women doing this job, wearing florescent shirts and skirts, with a folded, pinned hat, tilted back on their head, often featuring the logo of the beer under the brim. It’s a whole thing.

Supposedly it’s not exclusive to young women, but I didn’t see any men doing this.

Coke is everywhere, but Pepsi is not very common in Japan. We flagged down a Pepsi girl and got this incredible retro cup. Use this logo everywhere! It’s good!!

There are also ice cream sandwiches being whisked around the ballpark, and I nabbed one in the shape of Tokyo Dome.

In the outfield on either side, there are the home and away teams’ loudest fans. Chanting, singing (every team has its own song), waving enormous flags, and holding up towels with players’ names. Honestly, this aspect felt more like soccer than baseball!

Oh yeah, they gave everyone Godzilla hats.

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