Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Tune In Tokyo: Japanese Yakyu (Baseball)

We are back with our third installment of Tune In Tokyo from our dear friend Stephanie.  Enjoy!

Japanese Yakyu (Baseball)

Summer just doesn’t feel like summer without going to a baseball game, right?  Well, here in Japan “yakyu” is ranked as the nation’s number one sport.  Over 20 million Japanese enjoy baseball each year and my family is definitely a part of it.

My husband Jay 
Growing up near Detroit, I watched the Tiger’s play at Tiger Stadium in Corktown and now as an adult, it’s the Tokyo Yakult Swallows.  The Swallows play at an outdoor stadium, Meiji Jingu Stadium, which was built in 1926 and is located in central Tokyo.  According to my husband, the Swallows are historically one of the worst teams in their league, so in a way I feel right at home cheering on the underdog!

Jingu Stadium has seating for over 48,000 fans and features the only scoreboard in Japan that lists each player's home run total and batting average for the entire of the game.  The Swallows fans seem pretty calm and relaxed compared to rowdy fans in the United States.  Put it this way, you don’t see any drunken disorderly behavior while at a game at Jingu Stadium.  The weekend games are filled with families, whereas the games during the week you’ll find more business men.  The cheerleaders only cheer during the week too. Coincidence….I think not!

My favorite part of the night is when the Yakult fans sing their team song, Tokyo Ondo, every time they score a run. Fans open their umbrellas and sing the lyrics to Tokyo Ondo, which is a traditional Japanese song. The song is also sung during the seventh inning stretch, so you're guaranteed to witness it at least once per game.

The night we went, the Swallows were playing the Yomiuri Giants, and both teams compete in the Central League in Nippon Professional Baseball.

Tokyo Ondo

Kutabare Yomiuri, (Screw you, Yomiuri)
Kutabare Yomiuri, (Screw you, Yomiuri)
Kutabare Yomiuri, (Screw you, Yomiuri)
Kutabare Yomiuri, (Screw you, Yomiuri)
Ha-a, odori-o dorinara, (Ha-ha, while we dance)
Choito Tokyo O-ondo, yoi! yoi! (Feel the Tokyo heat, there! There!)
Hana no miyako-o no. (In the Capital city)
Hana no miyako no ma nakade, (In the Capital city)
So re! (Hey!)
Ya to na so re yoi! yoi! yoi! (Take that! There! There!)
Ya to na so re yoi! yoi! yoi! (Take that! There! There!)

I love the “Yo! Yoi! Yoi!” part!  Makes me wish I knew the chant by heart and had an umbrella to partake! It’s similar to the chants and rituals of college football, but it’s more cordial because the opposing team’s fans let them chant without interrupting or cheering over them.

We can all agree that a baseball game wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the beer, right?  The biru girls carry a partial keg on their backs, and they go around selling beer in the stands.  The hardest part is deciding on which Japanese beer to choose: Kirin, Asahi, Sapporro, or Yebisu.  It’s a toss-up between Sapporo and Kirin for me!

Kanpai (cheers)!

What are your favorite summertime memories at the ballpark?  HLNC would love to hear from you!

~ Stephanie


  1. I never knew Baseball was so popular in Japan. Great photos xoxo

  2. @ Adele - We just love Steph's posts. We are learning so much!

  3. that sounds like so much fun! i love a ball game. the hubby and i used to go a lot but after we had the girls, it's not as easy to go anymore. i've gotten to go to a couple play off games, like an Angels game the year they won the world series. that was crazy! i saw them play the Yankees. but i'm a dodger fan, so i've enjoyed seeing them play numerous times, some play off games, but also opening day is always such a blast!


  4. That sounds like a great experience..we've been to a few major league games and it's hit & miss as to whether you've got goofs/drunks around you, this is much more appealing!

  5. What a great post! I'm giggling at the "(Screw you, Yomiuri)" line...haha...love it! =D I'm curious now about the stadium food there.

  6. This looks like a lot of fun! Great post!

    NEW OUTFIT POST: Celebrating Shangri-La

  7. @ Claire - So cool!! We love to hear stories like this. It's so awesome that you got to see a team play that went on win the world series that year.

    @ Tracy D - This sounds so fun! We want to get umbrellas and join in so bad!

    @ Shop N' Chomp - Ok we must ask Steph about the food. Good question!!

    @ Leonie - Thanks so much!

  8. Lovely pics! Looks like you had a lot of fun xoxo



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