Tuesday, April 3
Where the Osaka Buffalo roam

Forecast for the day - Partly Cloudy with 20% showers. I woke up to pouring rain.

Worked on the website a little during the morning hours in an effort to forget the freezing cold one has to suffer in the mornings around here. After some pleasant recollection of the previous week John and I headed into the big city for an Osaka Buffaloes game. Baseball is definitely a western sport - especially when you take into account the name of teams doesn't always even relate to local wildlife. You aren't exactly dodging live buffalo while walking through Dotonbori. However, we passed the third Sega City on our way to the game. They're smaller and more arcade-like than the Canadian extravaganzas, but still a place I want to see.

We got excellent seats at the Osakadome for 3000 yen each (about $30). Each ticket was for the upper deck - which is about as high as the 200 level in the Skydome - right in the front row along the third base line. Each ticket included two coupons for 500 ml beers. The Blue Jays need a deal like this if you ask me.

The pattern on the ceiling was unusual until I realized the function over the form. There is a set of about two or three dozen speakers in the middle of the dome with concentric circles forming a large amplifier. The entire 200-300 meter in diameter roof acted like a giant loudspeaker aimed directly down. In Toronto, a giant curtain has to go up, extra speakers trucked in and just a lot of effort has to go into working against the naturally awful sound reproduction for concerts in the Skydome. The Osakadome seems to have been built to make sure everyone can hear everything with only a minimum of speakers. Proving that the Japanese seem to have a good clue about architecture as well as technology and making food look good.

However, the proof that they are a master-race of ingenuity came from the girls serving beer on the 100 level of the stadium. Unfortunately my pictures did not come out clearly, but simply stated I saw the woman I want to marry.

...or at least the kind of girl I want to marry.... or at least what the woman I'm going to marry will be wearing. These beer-girls had a backpack with a keg and a cupholder attached to the belt. Wanna beer? Just ask and she'll pour you a draft at your seat. The woman I marry will be walking down the aisle with a beer keg strapped to her back. It only makes sense in my eyes.

Ate some okinomiaki and a can of Pringles. I don't like Pringles "potato" chips but they are about all you're going to find in Japan if you find yourself with a craving that won't go away. Ordered two more beers each after the coupons were gone. 2 L in either one of us now. Japan beer ain't that strong, but we're definitely not driving home.

We left in the 9th as the Buffaloes were losing. Strange. No matter who gets the homerun, the audience claps. And not just a congratulatory golf-clap, but an enthusiastic roar for even the other team's accomplishments. No cheering when the other team makes an error either. Definitely not the kind of competitive spirit I was brought up in with the "Drive of '85". Despite the general enthusiasm, the stadium was barren. Every foul ball that went back hit an empty seat with an empty seat in front, and empty seat behind and an empty seat to either side. The placement of spectators was sporadic at best so when a rogue ball took to the bleachers the ambitious fan would run for the collectors item but would invariably have no competition. Not quite as exciting as seeing half-drunk fat guys wrestle over seats to get the ball first like we enjoy in Canada.

Stopped off at Sega City for a half hour and shot a few rounds at some vampires. My opinion is that if an innocent gets in the way of my gun then it's their own damn fault. I shouldn't be penalized for that. After the tokens were gone we caught the train home.

Fully expecting this to be the end of our day, we sat back with our cafe-au-lait in a can and took a deep breath. We could relax until the final stop on the line and saunter home.

A very strange man came through the bridge between cars. Some dude around 20-25 saw the gaijin and decided to try out his English. He put down his bottle of tequila and hit plastic toy uzi and started chatting. From the conversation, we determined that he is a comedian with a love of Arnold Schwarzenegger. We didn't conclude whether he was actually a professional comedian or whether he mistook the definition of "comedian" to mean "weird, drunken dork", but he was definitely amusing for the few stops before he had to get off. After our conversation about the Terminator, he pointed the gun at us and stated in what was definitely the worst Schwarzenegger impersonation that "I will be baaaack!"

Still not content with letting the day end, there was an earthquake. It was apparently a four to five near the epicenter and was closer to a two or a three in our area. Not only did I have a healthy (or rather an unhealthy) dosage of alcohol coursing through my arteries, but I was on a train during the event. My streak remains alive. Every time there has been an earthquake where I am it has ALWAYS been while I'm traveling - leaving me to trust in those around me that felt it to let me know what the experience was like.

Home. Pass out. Feeling better