After Jessica’s birthday party, I met up with Dallas and some friends at their lake house. Spending Memorial Day weekend at a lake house sounds awesome, but the weather needs to cooperate more than it did this weekend. It was too cold to spend a lot of time outside, let alone in the lake! Highlights of the weekend were watching Simon ram into things with his cone and when Brian cracked open his Dark Lord beer.
Each beer had it’s own girls that walked around the stadium with a keg on her back, serving beer. All the girls were so cute. Each beer company had a different themed outfit. Dallas liked the Yebisu girl the best. :/
This girl was actually selling Suntory whiskey!
Tigers fan club chanting and singing.
Giants fan club chanting and singing.
Just your typical ballpark food!
I thought these looked like Bugles. I looked it up later and they are! When’s the last time you had bugles?!
Back at our seats, Fukudome struck out, just like he did so many times in Chicago!
The rivalry intensifies!
Immediately following the game, they were doing a press conference right on the field while cheerleaders danced around.
The final score.
Walking out of the Tokyo Dome.
As far as sports go, we really wanted to see some sumo matches while we were in Japan. Dallas grew up watching sumo in Hawaii and I thought it would just be something different to do. Unfortunately, it was not the right season for sumo! But it was baseball season, so Chris helped us get some tickets to the biggest rivalry in Japan, the Hanshin Tigers vs. the Yomiuri Giants at the Tokyo Dome. You might think, “Whatever, baseball. We have that here,” but the Japanese LOVE baseball and it was so much fun to see. I had more fun walking around the stadium and watching the fans then actually watching the game, I think!
Chris’s favorite team is the Tigers. He described them kind of as the Cubs. Loyal fans, but they don’t really win or go far often. The Giants he said are kind of like the Yankees. Lots of money, they can buy a good team and they win often. They won the game we were at! Since Dallas loves the Yankees, he bought a baseball cap with the Giants logo on it. Oh, also, Fukudome, who used to play for the Cubs, is now playing for the Tigers and striking out like crazy!
After visiting Kiyomizu-Dera, we were trying to figure out what to do next. I wanted to see Gion, a super old district in Japan that is the most well known and most exclusive geisha districts in all of Japan. We didn’t see any geisha (too early, I think), but walked around a bit before taking a rest at Gion S Cafe. The cafe is on a narrow pathway along the Shirakawa River. It’s Italian, technically, but we enjoyed the Japanese beer Yebisu there. It was relaxing to watch people as they walked by under the sakura.
After resting for a while we walked over to Ponto-cho, a district (really a street) in Kyoto that is known for geisha and is home to many geisha houses. And like Gion, it is also known for its preservation of traditional architecture and traditional entertainment (ahem, tea houses, geisha houses, brothels, bars and cheap eats). Ponto-cho is like a tiny ally that runs one block west of the Kamo River. It was still to chilly, but we heard when the weather is warmer a lot of the restaurants open up their back side and you can dine river side. We didn’t see any geisha, but I really loved this part of town. It was so old and beautiful. We walked through early in the evening, maybe 4 p.m., and then came back later to eat and a lot of the shops were lit up with traditional lanterns. I liked Ponto-cho so much that I later bought two woodblock prints of this district! Now I just need to get them framed!
One block to the west of Ponto-cho there is a street that runs next to the Takase River, which is really more like a canal. This street could not be more different than Ponto-cho. It was kind of amazing, actually. This street is way wider and so seedy. Tons of pay by the minute DVD places and shady looking clubs. We walked down a little bit. The river was really pretty and there were a lot of sakura in bloom, but I was glad it was still early and the creepy clubs were not in full swing yet!
Here were a couple funny things we saw while walking around:
We were laughing that no American would want to hear “the wonderful taste of fat,” even if it’s true! Also, no one would want to hear that the meat was “wonderfully chewy.”
We looked at this sign for a long time before taking a photo. Dericuse = Delicous??