This last Sunday a friend of my wife and I whose living in the same shared housing unit went to a game in Hakata, Fukuoka (Japan). We first went to the Yahoo! Dome and watched the Softbank Hawks take on a win against the Hanshin Tigers. I guess A LOT of people like the Hanshin Tigers and it was a big turn out and there were almost more Tiger uniforms running around then Softbank hawks, so it was fun to watch them lose :D.
Baseball in Japan is certainly different then in America (for me at least), where I’m use to going to Coorsfield and watching the Colorado Rockies lose to the Arizona Diamondbacks over and over again while taking a nap, waking up and having a hot dog and a beer. Here in Japan everyone is chants, playing trumpets and waving flags…. Constantly! So even if you wanted to take a nap, there is no way it would happen. It’s much like how a football game would go say at Mile-High Stadium in Denver when the Bronco’s are having a good season.
The end results was Hanshin Tiger’s 2 and the Softbank Hawks 5. I have to say though, I saw some really amazing plays that I would expect to see on a YouTube compliation video of the big leagues. Funny enough, it must be a Japanese thing, I saw a throw similar to what Ichiro did in the States by the left field player by the Softbank Hawks, but except it was to Homebase instead of 3rd base. (see video).
Then we took off to Fukuoka tower, took a couple pictures and decided to NOT pay the $8 fee to go to the top. I’ve been a top of several different high buildings and although it is the highest building in Kyushu, I couldn’t say I wanted to pay $16 to see it at the moment. Although, I’ll have to say I’ll just leave it be so as to have something to do at a later time and perhaps at night instead of day time. The top has been called lovers sanctuary, it’s where a lot of couples go to clip a bike lock with their signatures on it on a bar at the top to “solidify” their bond together. So it’s really popular for that, and of course it’s quite a big tourist trap for sure.
Next we went across the street where a Marina is located, it had a few restaurants and a few interesting little shops, but we were mostly interested in getting our shoes off and walking in the seashell littered sands that felt awesome on our feet from standing and walking all day. I’d say it’s a great 1-2-3 punch for a day out in Hakata, Fukuoka. I would certainly recommended. After we were finished for the day we went back to Hakata JR Station and found out there is a ramen shop area on the 2nd floor… (Hakata JR Station is HUGE!!).
Today my wife and I went to Nanzoin temple here in Fukuoka, we rode the train to Yoshizuka and then took a train that went past Yusa to a train stop that I couldn’t properly pronounce very well, all I knew was that it had the kanji for previous at the end of it (Mae), but the area is called Sasaguri. I found out that this large span of small shrines all intertwined each other to make a very large temple compound. The pictures we took were of a lot of tiny very detailed statues, some REALLY big statues and of course the grand prize of them all, the reclining Buddha statue. (update) A few people debate on if it really is the biggest bronze statue in the world, but it comes down to no one else being able to find a bigger one to trump the current master piece (If anyone has any proof otherwise please share it). This statue was built back in 1995 and supposedly the temple has a good connect with Myanmar and some kind of organization there help fund this statue. There are 3 different states of a Buddha statue, standing, sitting and reclining. The sitting is the most popular to show the Buddha meditating, but the reclining is the state of “death” in a way, it’s preparation for entering nirvana or nehan in Japanese.
While we were at the compound we entered into a cave that had a really low ceiling walking into it, no one would come in because there was chanting coming from inside, but we braved it any how and found an older lady chanting and going about her ritual/meditation, she waved us in and attempted to tell us what to do to properly pray/meditate to the shrine inside. So we did, and it was interesting to see her continue on, then get up and leave. We saw here a couple other places around the shrine doing the same thing to practically ever shrine that the temple had (which was a lot). We then also did some hiking up into the mountain which passed the temple grounds and came to a road, there were loan shrines littered throughout the area and on the side of the road, we also stumbled across a well hidden Shinto shrine which was an interesting find. Through these walk we ran into (saw) two different tanuki, which was rather fun to see being I’ve heard they’re very skittish creatures and it’s a sign of good fortune to see them.