Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon…

Hello Everybody,

This is going to be mostly a picture page but let me say that last week I visited the Meiji Shrine in Tokyo. I took many photos of the park surrounding it, very majestic and quiet in  busy Tokyo.  However, for the first time ever, I thought I copied the pictures and then I deleted them off the card. They were never copied, so I am upset.

meiji panorama
Approaching Meiji Shrine

I stayed at an AirBnB in Kozunomori near Narita. It was a quiet little neighborhood with one aggressive Shiba-Inu (dog) and about three hundred Seven-11s.

bedroom in kozunomori
The bedroom of my AirBnB apartment, for $53 a night. You can’t get a capsule hotel for that price, it was a cozy little place.

It was a lovely little community and the super sento Hana no Yu should be experienced by everyone (without a tattoo)! Particularly the rotenburo, the outside hot springs, when it is about thirty degrees and windy. This sento had a very large bathing pool, then a smaller one with a giant television and three big tubs that look like clay pots. I made my naked trot over to the big tubs and positioned myself to soak while watching curling. It was incredible. I made two little friends when I opened my eyes and saw they were leaning over staring at me. We had a wonderful cultural exchange as I deftly handled the questions that were shot at me with machine-gun rapidity… Where are you going? Where are you from? What is your name? Why are you staying here?… I have begun stepping up my Japanese study to 1 hour a night at least and two hours each day on the weekend. It is helping tremendously. That and listening to the political broadcast on NHK and watching my Japanese police dramas when I come home for lunch.

hana no yu
Hana No Yu….in case you can’t read Kanji.

Anyway…I ended up chatting away with these two little girls, one was six and the other eight and they were sisters…and went to get some clothes on and go back to my apartment. The little one came over to my locker and I gave her my business card, which is both English and Japanese. She was very impressed. I sent her one for her sister also. They both came back and thanked me. I gave them each my personal card and they again were very happy. I was enjoying their personalities, so curious about me! I went out to the common area and was hanging around watching the Olympics with everyone else. There were quite a few glances, since Amerikajin are not very common there. The six year old came out and gave me a ring as a thank you. I said, for me? and she smiled and showed me how the lights came on it. What a great experience!

my ring
One of the greatest gifts I have ever received…a ring as a token of friendship.

So here I am back in Okinawa and it is still Spring Training. Right near the house there is the Chatan baseball field, which hosts the Chunichi Dragons, the Nagoya team.  This is the final weekend of baseball here so I wanted to see my beloved Hanshin Tigers play. I also wanted to feel the rush of shooting sports again. There is nothing like photographing baseball, football, tennis…you name it, I love it.

mori and kanemoto
Dragons’  Shigekazu  Mori  and Tigers’ Tomoaki  Kanemoto  meet before the game and shake hands with the umpires.
vertical little dragon
A little Dragon…
crowd
This is a preseason game…and $25 ticket.
55 cd
Chunichi Dragons Shortstop Nobumasa Fukuda
fujinami pitching
Tiger Fujinami ready to deliver a two-seam fastball.
moya 44 cd
I don’t know why I love this picture so much, but I think it’s my favorite of the day.

The day cloudy but it never occurred to me to bring a rain coat or the ubiquitous umbrella. I was shooting away and the bottom half of the first inning, the skies opened up and began downpouring.

rosario almonte rain
Right before the rain delay, then cancellation.
rainy boy
American boys love the rain.

So with less than one complete inning of baseball, the game was called. And unlike American baseball, you just had to go stand in line and they promptly refunded your money.

Well, it wasn’t the whole game that I had hoped for, but I did manage to shoot off 208 pictures and get my money back. And now  I say goodbye to the Tigers until next Spring, or until I fly up to Osaka to watch them play….

But I just saw there is a Korean team, the Hanwha Eagles playing a practice game with the Dragons tomorrow at 1300…I may have to sneak down there with my camera and see what I can get!

Have a great week everybody!

kanemoto walking
My favorite Tiger – Manager Tomoaki Kanemoto