I'm in Tokyo this week for the Tokyo Game Show (a.k.a. TGS) and a colleague and I decided to make our way the 55,000-seat Tokyo Dome to watch the Yomiuri Giants (a.k.a. Tokyo Giants) play an afternoon game against the Chunichi Dragons from Nagoya.
The Giants beat the Dragons 5-3, and with the victory they locked up their division, as they typically do year in and year out.
The Tokyo Dome has hosted many international sporting events over the years, including Buster Douglas' KO of a then-undefeated Mike Tyson.
The Dome itself feels old and dated, especially when compared to all the freshly built stadiums in the States. It opened in 1988 and I'm pretty sure they haven't updated the old, worn-out Astro-turf since then.
During the game I ate a bunch of stuff. The worst was a hot dog. It was one of the most terrible hot dogs I have ever had IN MY LIFE. The best was a 260 yen (about $2.50 U.S.) vanilla ice cream sandwich that was designed to resemble the Tokyo Dome itself. Delicious.
One thing you can't question is how rabid baseball fans are here. Forget walk-up music; each player gets his own chant, which is repeated over and over and over during his at-bat. Fans do not quiet down here the way they do in the States. They have bands. They wave flags and banners and orange towels. They are hoarse by the end of nine innings.
The atmosphere is closer to a college football game than a Major League Baseball game.
The other thing you can't question: the rabid affinity the Japanese have for gaming. There are arcades everywhere here. During my week in Tokyo, I've seen a remarkable number of Nintendo DSes. (But only a few PlayStation Portables.) Everyone--young, old, men, women, etc.-- practically have DSes attached to their faces.
So it wasn't exactly shocking yesterday to see fans all around me, between innings, pop open their DSes for some quickie gaming. Like Jello after a big meal, there's always room for gaming here.