Sunday, January 02, 2011

A Picture is Worth 2010 Words

Happy new year, everyone.

Just like 2009 and 2008 and well, every year, I saved every ticket from every game I went to (at least the ones that had tickets).

And well, the final count was 109 games in 2010. I might have been able to shatter my 2009 record of 122 games had I not left Japan for 4 weeks during baseball season. Oh well. I had a pretty good reason to go, and it's the same reason I'll be moving back to the US on January 18th.

I kind of made "resolutions" here last year. Let's see how I did:

1) Go to some Hokushinetsu/BCL games, definitely one in Niigata's new stadium
Done. I saw the Niigata Albirex play three times -- in the new Hard-Off stadium, in Gunma's Isesaki stadium, and in Nagano's Olympic stadium.

2) Go to Okinawa
This did not happen. As a matter of fact, after next week, Okinawa will be the ONLY PREFECTURE IN JAPAN THAT I HAVE NOT VISITED OUT OF ALL 47. I'm going to Kyushu next week to tackle 7 of the remaining 8 prefectures I haven't been to (Shimane, Tottori, Saga, Oita, Miyazaki, Kumamoto, Kagoshima). Technically I've been THROUGH Saga but never left the station so I don't count it.

Maybe I just should decide that Okinawa doesn't count simply because you can't take a train there.

3) Take a train to Hokkaido and see a game in Tohoku inaka somewhere on the way

Yes yes yes! This was one of the most amazing trips I ever took this summer. Unfortunately, due to being on the road for 10 days straight or so, I didn't write it up here. Maybe I'll try to catch up on things like that during the winter.

I basically went to the Fighters game at the Tokyo Dome on August 19, then rode trains all day to get to Sapporo on the 20th (shinkansen to Hachinohe, tokkyu to Hakodate and to Sapporo). Saw games at the Sapporo Dome on the 21st and 22nd, stayed with a friend from Portland who's now in Sapporo with JET, and then rode trains to Akita on the 23rd through Aomori.

Went to Sakata City, Yamagata Prefecture, for an hour on the 24th in the afternoon; took a photo in front of Sakata Minami HS (they were at Koshien a few times recently). Saw the Eagles-Fighters game on the 24th at Akita Komachi Stadium.

Rode the local trains to Morioka and saw the Eagles-Fighters game on the 25th at Morioka Stadium. Came home on the 26th... and saw the entire Rakuten Golden Eagles team in the Morioka shinkansen terminal (was standing behind Yamasaki and Iwakuma in line to get a bento OMG).

4) See a home game for every minor-league team in Japan

Oops on this one. I'm not actually sure I got to any new minor league stadiums at all this year due to time constraints, sadly. I was too busy going to college games and high school games and new other stadiums and prefectures.

5) See the Ibaraki Golden Golds

Oops on this one too. Will have to try for it when I'm visiting in the future.

6) See more industrial league ball than just the Toshitaikou

Yeah, this also turned out to be a big no, though it was actually due to weather; I had plans to go see a regional tourney game once or twice but then decided not to go due to rain or whatever. I'll probably catch some preseason college ball next year against industrial league teams, at least...

And at least I did get to a few games of the Toshitaikou, which is always a lot of fun!

7) See some college ball besides Tohto and Big 6

Hmm. If the Jingu Taikai and the All-Japan College Championship count, I guess I made it. Though I think I was intending more to actually do things like watch some SBBL games and such. Oh well.

I have no goals for 2011 baseball-wise, because I'm really not sure how much I'll be in Japan during the season, sadly. I'll mostly miss the college games, I think; being involved in all of that was really awesome last year. (As noted by the sheer number of little orange and green and white stubs from student ballgames...)


NPB Card Guy said...

What are the Ibaraki Golden Golds? Are they an industrial league team or some sort of celebrity team?

Patrick said...

The Golden Golds are some kind of celebrity club team. They have a girl player named (I think) Ayumi Kataoka, but that's as much as I know about them.

Deanna, you should trek down to the Bay Area at some point and catch a Stanford game with me. Japanese colleges are usually in town in February, so maybe you'll bump into someone you know.

Deanna said...

Yeah, Ayumi Kataoka is on the Golden Golds. She may even be the next manager if the rumors are correct. They're a team organized by a celebrity -- Kinichi Hagimoto (who has the same birthday as me, heh) but they actually do play competitive baseball and are in the JABA tournaments for club and industrial teams. I don't think they historically do very well though. They're also known for crazy promotions and amusements, and even once went to the US to play against their counterparts in the St. Paul Saints.

Patrick -- actually -- I had been thinking about that but I wanted to find out first which colleges are coming. Last year Meiji and Rikkio both went to the US for spring training, and Keio went two years ago, and I know Waseda went one of those years too... unfortunately, the Meiji guys told me they're not going this year and the Hosei guys told me that too, and those are the teams I know the most players on (as in, actually know personally... I'm familiar with all of the Big 6 teams). No idea if Keio or Rikkio will go this year or not, I'm going to ask around.

But yeah, I was saying that I'd go visit the college guys if they trained in the US, so if you hear about it, let me know.