“Fun” activities for M’s Nation in Tokyo
The Nintendo backed Mariners have a very exciting business excursion coming up next week, with a couple of lucrative exhibition games planned against the Hanshin Tigers and the Yomiuri Giants, followed by their opening regular season two games series with the Oakland Athletics.
The Hanshin Tigers, based out of Japan’s second largest metropolis of Osaka are famed for their rabid fan base, while the Yomiuri Giants are the Japanese equivalent of the New York Yankees for their enduring success and nationwide popularity.
With a few days off scheduled, maybe Ichiro and the other Japanese teammates can escort the rest of the boys along with the fans to take in the sights, sounds and smells of Tokyo, where all the games have been scheduled.
Having been fortunate enough to spend five great years living in Tokyo, maybe I could offer these suggestions to any Mariners fans, or even players, who want to find something to do while in the world’s most populated city.
Here we go folks. The 2012 Essential Tokyo ToDo List!
King Felix Sumo Wrestling!
Not far from the Bunkyo based home stadium of the Yomiuri Giants is the Tokyo sumo venue of Ryogoku in Sumida ward. Two major sumo tournaments are hosted here every year.
It would be priceless to see King Felix Hernandez clothed in the diaper-like mawashi and see if he can dominate the dohyo (circular sumo ring) just as he dominates the pitcher’s mound.
Matsuri is the Japanese term for festivals.
There are many types, but one of the most strenuous and enjoyable is the carrying of the mikoshi, a type of portable shrine, that is borne by the locals around town from early morning until midnight.
The bearers stop every half hour or so to eat and drink sake and beer to collect calories to maintain their energy levels.
(Think of it as an extension of pre-season training). Foreigners are also sometimes invited to take part, as I was fortunate to experience while living there.
It would be a blast to see the Mariners relief pitchers carrying the mikoshi just as they will have to carry the rest of the Mariners this year.
Personally I’d love to see ole “Duckbill” George Sherrill or Brandon League getting their sake time in.
Imagine the stories.
The normally shy and retiring Japanese personalities come out ablazing during Hanami season, when the cherry tree blossoms emerge for spring.
Families, students and friends flock to parks where they eat, drink, sing and cavort under the pink flower laden branches.
It’s a great time to see the characters hidden inside normally quiet people (and who wouldn’t enjoy the image of Justin Smoak on the portable karaoke machine belting out a tune or two).
We know he can punch a tree down in the 2012 M’s commercials, I’m sure he can sing a tune or two as well.
Tsukiji Fish Market!
After all the partying and fun, it is time to cleanse the palate and system with some healthy, fresh food.
It doesn’t get much healthier or fresher than to try some first rate sushi, and Tsukiji fish market near Tokyo Bay is the epicentre of sushi in Japan.
Here the Mariners fans and players can see nearly every edible fish known to man, including 1000 pound tuna that are so big they must be cut up by band saws.
You can dine afterwards at one of the little sushi stands that are also found at the market.
Lastly, hit the public bath of course!
No trip to Japan is finally complete without a visit to the local onsen (hot spring or public bath) for a welcome dip in the super-heated water that superbly relaxes the muscles, taking away any aches and pains.
Beware though that these baths are generally communal and bathing suits are almost always of the birthday type, though you do get a little face cloth sized towel to cover the nether regions.
Just imagine the pictures, like this one, that you can show to your friends and family when you return home…
Need some tips on travelling in and around Tokyo? Our man C-Mac is here to assist.
Shoot him an email today right here. firstname.lastname@example.org