TOKYO, Japan — Baseball might be America’s pastime but in Japan, it’s become a way of life that packs stadiums with a festival-type experience more like something you might see at a college football game.
And when it comes to places to watch baseball, the Tokyo Dome and the Tokyo Giants are one of the most popular.
In the days before the pandemic if you wanted to hang out with a lot of people you would see Giants play and CEO Tsukasa Imamura says that team is a lot like the New York Yankees.
“Just like kids in New York want to wear the pinstripe uniform, children all over Japan want to wear the Giants' uniform,” said Imamura.
Fans love the Giants, a team that was founded in 1943 that these days has become bigger than sumo wrestling in Japan.
Fans fill the seats of the Tokyo Dome cheering, singing, and waving flags. Similar sights can be seen in cities all over Japan.
“We have very passionate fans that are based in regions,” said Imamura. “There is Tokyo. There is Nagoya. There is Osaka. There is Hiroshima, those fans are in love with their team and I think that is amazing," said Imamura.
At the game, you can forget hot dogs and peanuts with most options coming down to Ramen noodles, seafood, or a Bento Box with a picture of your favorite player on it.
The game on the field is very similar to the game being played in Major League Baseball but after that, the experience is very different with cheerleaders on the field.
They also have places where you can sit on the field called excite seats where fans are given helmets and gloves just in case they need to catch a ball.
"So you have to have hard hats and gloves on the seats so you can catch the ball, “ said Imamura. “These seats sell out first and the fan is part of the game.”
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