Monday, February 23, 2009

CD Review - Sounds of the Tokyo Big 6 League

I was looking through the sports CDs at Book-Off a few weeks ago and came across this amazing one...

TOKYO BIG6 ~Sounds of 神宮球場 東京六大学野球編~
(Tokyo Big 6 ~Sounds of Jingu Stadium Tokyo Big Six Baseball League~ link to in Japanese)

Basically, this is a CD of the marching band music from the colleges in the Tokyo Big 6 League. The league is kind of like the Japanese equivalent of the Ivy League; they play baseball at Meiji Jingu Stadium, which is now home of the Yakult Swallows, but college ball predates it there by almost 40 years.

Despite the competitive level probably being lower than several other college leagues, even ones around the Tokyo area, Big 6 is by far the most popular of the college leagues, actually managing to sell out Jingu and its 37000 seats from time to time, especially when Waseda and Keio play against each other in their biannual Soukeisen series. Most of the schools in the league are known for being excellent academically and being very difficult to get into, with the University of Tokyo being THE number-one college in the country, insofar as having an impossible entrance exam and a stellar reputation for all of its students being really smart. (How much schoolwork they actually do during their college years after passing said entrance exam is another story, but these kids definitely have brains, money, or in most cases, both. The school also has a historically abysmally terrible baseball team, which has never won a league championship in the past century, and these days are lucky when they win two games in one season.)

Many current and former stars played their college days in the Big 6 league, from Hosei's Atsunori Inaba to Waseda's Norichika Aoki to Meiji's Kenshin Kawakami. Satoru Komiyama made his start at Waseda, and legend says he even passed the real entrance exam.

There are 13 tracks on the CD. The first track is a medley of the fight songs from all six colleges -- Waseda, Meiji, Keio, Hosei, Rikkio, and Tokyo, in that order. Then the next 12 tracks are partitioned out, 2 tracks to each university, with each having a minute-long version of their fight song, and then a medley of their cheer songs:

2-3. Keio
4-5. Tokyo
6-7. Hosei
8-9. Meiji
10-11. Rikkio
12-13. Waseda

The cheer songs aren't per player, but just the songs that the particular school often plays. Some are of course to well-known tunes like Popeye the Sailor Man or Tetsuwan Atomu (aka Astro Boy), and others are songs that I actually don't know the exact names or origins of, but have heard a bazillion times either with these marching bands or at the Industrial League games, and so on.

The entire CD is instrumental, so while the fight songs do have lyrics printed in the case, there's nobody singing them here.

This CD is totally perfect for someone who either attended a Big 6 school and several sporting events, or for someone who's gone to a ton of Big 6 games and loves the cheer music and has tried to record it with their digital camera and randomly starts humming Konpeki no Sora and so on -- i.e., me. I don't know if it'd make sense for someone to just buy for the heck of it, unless you really like marching band music and want to hear what some of the common sports band melodies are in Japan.

Now I've just got to figure out if there's a "best of the industrial league marching bands" CD out there -- because those bands are phenomenal. Seriously. It's almost worth going to the tournaments just to listen to the bands.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

WBC Tickets @ Tokyo Dome

I went down to the Tokyo Dome today and as it is, there are still tickets available for a few of the WBC games. You can walk right up to the ticket window and buy them there, every day from 10am to 5pm.

March 5 18:30, Game 1: China vs. Japan: Sold out
March 6 18:30, Game 2: Korea vs. Taiwan: Tickets available
March 7 12:30, Game 3: Losers: Sold Out
March 7 19:00, Game 4: Winners: Sold Out
March 8 18:30, Game 5: Game 3 winner vs. Game 4 loser: Tickets available
March 9 18:30, Game 6: Game 4 winner vs. Game 5 winner: SOME tickets available on the 3rd base side

I was told that if Japan IS in Game 5, they will be on the first base side.

Games 3 and 4 were actually sold together, so basically, even though it's unlikely many people will go to game 3, the game is sold out. Bummer.

Price scale:
Games 1/2:
S - 10000 yen / A - 7000 yen / B - 5000 yen / OF - 3500 yen / 2F unres - 2000 yen, 1000 for children

Games 3/4/5/6:
S - 16000 yen / A - 12000 yen / B - 6500 yen / C - 4500 yen / OF - 5000 yen
(no unreserved -- B and C are the second floor)

You can also see prices and seat charts here, though it's in Japanese.

I'm really interested to see how Japan and Korea fare against each other this year. After the Olympics and the last WBC, there's got to be some pretty high friction between those teams going on.

On another note, if you want a Chunichi Dragons 2009 team calendar, you can get one at the Tokyo Dome store for 1230 yen. If you want a Doala 2009 calendar, you can get one for 1575 yen. In other words, the Chunichi Dragons are, infact, less marketable than their mascot.