Baseball may be America’s favorite pastime, but in Japan the love of the game is equally as fervent. At the Yokohama Bay Stars game against the Tokyo Swallows, American baseball enthusiasts could see for themselves Japan’s love of the game.
“As far as the game play goes, there weren’t a whole lot of differences, except that Japanese officials didn’t mark errors often, but the atmosphere and the way the audience behaved was definitely different” said Ryan Raesly, a Temple University of Japan student.
Japanese baseball draws crowdsAt the Yokohama-Tokyo Swallows game, the Yokohama team was fighting their way out of the last place in the division. Though a pivotal game for the Yokohama players, fan attendance was modest. Perhaps one of the greatest differences between American baseball and Japanese game play is the level of crowd participation. Japanese fans are far more enthusiastic than American fans, chanting incessantly from the stands for each individual player.
Each player also has his own original theme song fans memorize to cheer him on. Also, unlike American baseball teams, the Japanese teams have cheerleaders that come out between innings to entertain fans. Though there are still popcorn and hotdogs for sale, the Japanese also enjoy sushi, beef bowls and other Japanese culinary staples.
“Food is still expensive, and they did the t-shirt thing where they fire the memorabilia into the crowd, so that was similar. They still had people walking up and down the stands selling food and whatnot for baseball park prices,” said Raesly.
Baseball is said to be Japan’s number one sport, with many players beginning to focus their intentions and hone their skills in high school.
Adam Glazer is a TUJ student who is a special correspondent for Temple Update.