After venturing into a baseball store in Tokyo the Junior Roos attended a pre season baseball game at Meiji Jingu Stadium. The stadium is home to the Yakut Swallows and we saw them take on the Hiroshima Carp.
The Swallows fans celebrate their team scoring runs by raising umbrellas and singing the team song.
Japanese baseball fans are known for their enthusiasm and team dedication. At many games fans from each team seated in different sections to keep them apart from each other as they tend to get a little too enthusiastic.
The Junior Roos fully embraced the umbrella tradition.
The first game of the tour started with a chilly warm up in Saitama Prefecture where the morning temperature was in single digits. Later in the day it even started sleeting.
The team enjoyed traditional Bento boxes for lunch with a side of hot soup providing welcome relief from the cold weather.
After 2 days of double headers it was time to pack the bags and take the Bullet Train to Osaka but not before a farewell party put on by the host families, and a birthday cake for Ed.
The Japanese High School Baseball Tournament is played at Koshien stadium. Contested by schools from across Japan it is sudden death all the way, loose just 1 game and you are out. There are 2 tournaments each year, the summer tournament and invitational spring tournament. The Junior Roos players were lucky enough to get prime seating directly behind home plate.
The Japanese are well known for their hospitality and the local teams that we played against hosted a party for the Junior Roos. It soon became apparent that the source of entertainment was going to be the players themselves with on stage introductions and performances.
After another 2 double headers it was time to hang the boots up for a day and take in some more culture. We were in time to catch some early Cherry Blossoms
No visit to Japan is complete without a visit to an authentic castle and Hikone Castle was superb behind the spring cherry blossoms.
We made an afternoon stop at Fushimi Inari shrine in Kyoto before heading to Osaka Dome to watch the opening round of the Japanese Professional Baseball League between the Hanshin Tigers and Yakult Swallows
7th inning tradition of Hanshin Tigers fans. Balloons are inflated by the fans and released into the stadium.