Our tour of Japanese baseball with Bob Bavasi and Mayumi Smith of JapanBall.com ended more than a week ago, and I'm finally taking the time now to reflect on the trip. It was an incredible experience, regardless of one's interest level in baseball or in Japan. As I wrote in my last story for yesnetwork.com, you'll become a fan of both Japanese baseball and the country after spending a week with Bob and Mayumi.
They've been doing this for a long time, and they have it down to a science. Bob is a skilled tactician, keeping all of the "moving parts" as he liked to call them in play. Mayumi, in addition to being our interpreter, made sure that we saw more than just baseball and gave us an opportunity to experience many of Japan's important cultural sites. The pace of the schedule was hectic, but it never felt as if we were running around with no purpose.
What did we do and see?
- Five baseball games in five stadiums in four different cities (Meiji Jingu Stadium in Tokyo, Nagoya Dome in Nagoya, Kyocera Dome in Osaka, Fukuoka Yahoo! Japan Dome in Fukuoka, Koshien Stadium Osaka)
- The Ginza, Ameyokocho, and Ueno Park in Tokyo
- A vast meat dinner at a BBQ joint in Kyoto
- Kyoto's sightseeing spots of Nijojo, Kinkakuji, Kiyomizudera
- Genbaku Dome and Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum
- A meeting with baseball legend Sadaharu Oh
They planned events, but they gave us the option to participate or not; it was up to us. When Marc and I first decided to go on this tour, we thought we'd be the ones who didn't participate. We didn't think we'd be good with the group tour thing and having our days mapped out for us. Yet we ended up joining the group for all of the cultural side trips because we genuinely enjoyed meeting the other folks and finding out what possessed them to fly to the other side of the world and crisscross the country to watch Japanese baseball games.
The trip continues for Marc and me; we're in Japan until the first weekend in October. I still have more blogging to do. Oh yeah, we've ordered tickets to three more baseball games, so stay tuned. . .