Dining at the Tokyo Dome

Yomiuri Giants vs Hiroshima Carps

September 10, 2011

Final score: Giants 1 Carps 0

Tokyo Dome; Bunkyo, Tokyo

Reported attendance: 40,361     Capacity: 42,000

Tokyo Dome

Surprisingly retro for such a techie country

Well, if you consider edamame beans washed down with a Coke dinner, then I dined at the Dome. I was in Tokyo for three nights as part of an Asian work trip that included Shanghai and Hong Kong. But visiting Tokyo for the first time since 1994 was what I was most anticipating. And, naturally, being The Frugal Fan (my new moniker… you like?) I jumped on the chance to attend my first ever Japanese baseball game.

The Giants are one of two teams based in Tokyo, along with the Yakult Swallows, who resemble the Mets to the Giant’s Yankees. The Giants have won 21 Japan League titles, 11 of them with legendary player Sadaharu Oh (most career home runs of any player in the world).

The Japanese league has only 12 teams, compared to Major League Baseball’s 30, and each of them are corporate sponsored. With the Japanese economy in the doldrums for, oh, the past 23 years, companies have been pretty stingy with their spending and the league has suffered. The most talented Japanese players now take their trades to the US; thus, the likes of Ichiro in Seattle and Matsui in LA command more attention than local players.

Nevertheless, I was determined to pay a visit to the Tokyo Dome, which most famously was the host of the biggest boxing upset of all time: Buster Douglas’ knockout of Mike Tyson in 1990. The fight was scheduled for a morning start, so that it could be shown late night in the US, and Tyson later admitted he was up mingling with sketchy women in his hotel room the night before. Douglas, grieving over the loss of his mother, was less distracted and miraculously evaded getting knocked out himself, having been floored for 9 seconds before finishing off Tyson in the 10th round.

The Japanese love to stand in line

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