May 3, 2008

Tokyo - Ueno, Shibuya, Jingu Park Baseball

Saturday morning was a rainy one. We laid low and had a lazy morning at the hotel, and then decided to head to a museum. We picked out the National Science Museum in Ueno Park. Ueno Park reminded us of Central Park in New York; a large park that houses a cluster of museums.

(To get there, we traveled quite a good distance underground through massive underground malls and walkways that connect various shopping areas and train stations. Between the underground walkways, the aerial walkways, and the escalators every few feet, the "over-infrastructure" of Tokyo was readily apparent. In our hotel, four adjoining two-story escalators were closed for repairs over the weekend. But if you walk literally twenty steps, you come to another set of four adjoining two-story escalators!)

We tackled the very cool dinosaur exhibit, the space exhibit, and the exhibit on evolution. With Jacob's inquisitive mind and bent towards science, it was a nice rainy day activity.

When we emerged from the museum, the sun had broken out and there were many people strolling through the park. We stopped to check out some sidewalk performers, including a talented juggler, who had also come out.

For lunch we continued our trend of Western eating. We trained over to the Shibuya area, and had a nice pizza lunch at La Boheme restaurant. (We know that is French, but it had a nice selection of pizza. Not sure why, but we weren't arguing.)

With some time to kill before our evening activity, we stopped by the nearby Children's Castle (Kodomo No Shiro), where Lauren did arts and crafts, and Jacob participated in organized kids games in the gym. It was a pretty random place, but it was fun.

Afterwards, we made our way to the Meiji Jingu area, not to visit the famous shrine, but to take in a baseball game at Jingu Stadium, a neat little outdoor stadium with the clearest big-screen scoreboard we had ever seen. (It is apparently also the only scoreboard in Japan that lists each players batting averages and HR totals during the game). It was a 6:20 start, and we got their at about 5ish. The skies were a perfect blue and the sun really started to shine. We picked up some noodles, edamame, and fried chicken outside the stadium as we filed on down the street with the late afternoon crowd.

The home-team Yakult Swallows were taking on the uber-famous Yomiuri (Tokyo) Giants. The game was a lot of fun. Lauren was a pip, and spent most of the game dancing in front of us. Jacob made friends with our neighbors, who tried to teach him the cheers. (Funny - the top gaijin player on Yakult is former major leaguer Aaron Guiel. Mike asked Bob and Maho to translate his cheer, because it sounded cool. Turns out it was English. Sort of: "GoGoRetsGo Ga-Eh-Ru" = Go Go Let's Go Guiel.) In the actual game, the Yakult pitcher took a no hitter to the 9th inning, but the game was scoreless. With one out in the 9th, he gave up a double. He was left in the game. By the end of the inning it was 5-0 Giants. Heartbreaking. (Especially for Jacob, who had told us he was going to root for whichever team got to 4 runs first, but clearly was rooting for the home team).

One other funny thing from the game was that they handed out little bottles of bubbles to all fans. The kids were having fun blowing bubbles. In the 3rd inning, Bob translated a PA announcement requesting that no one blow bubbles during the game. (Well then, why hand out 40,000 bottles of bubbles!?) Of course, everyone listened. Except a certain set of blond children.

We'll leave you with this fun little video. In the 7th inning of Swallows games, they do this funky umbrella song and dance. They also do it when they score runs (but since they didn't score any, we only got to see this during the 7th inning stretch):

1 comment:

Lisa said...

I couldn't see the video...but great pictures and great times!