Hokkaido Day 2 & 3: Pikachu, More Baseball, and a Sheep’s Hill

My second and third days in Hokkaido went by without much fanfare. As I had forgotten my new memory card for my camera, I headed to Bic Camera in the morning to pick up a new one. I also swung by the Fighters shop in Sapporo Station to pick up a new hat.

While I was passing through the station I came across Pikachu. It turns out there was some pokemon event going on. I figured what the hell, and snapped a quick photo with Pikachu. Kudos to the staff for actually using the zoom function on the camera. I hate when you hand someone your camera, and when you look at the photo later it is zoomed out all the way with you all tiny in the middle. +10 Awesome points to you, good sir.

Pikachu? Gesundheit!

Once I arrived at Sapporo Dome, I encountered another costumed character. This time it was B.B. the Fighters’ mascot.

I pushed kids out of the way for this picture.

The game itself was rather a boring one with the Fighters losing 0-4. I ended up leaving after the 8th inning to beat the crowds out. The only thing worth noting is I started my “Photo Challenge” shots. I have a bunch of envelopes that contain different poses or actions to be taken at different locations throughout my trip in Hokkaido. The first one I drew today was “Air Punch.”

It's Darvish Again!! Eeeeeee!

That evening I met up with fellow 501st Legion member, Sgt. Vap (His screen name of course. I think if it was his real name it would something more like Bappuin Japanese). He took me to a bar close to Susukino. It was a Star Wars decorated bar appropriately named “Cantina.” The food was quite delicious and made fresh by the master. After getting an “air punch” photo with Mr. Vap, I headed back to the hotel and went to sleep.

More Air Punches!

I woke up early on Sunday and headed out to Hitsujigaoka Tenbodai.  The park, or rather observation hill, is home to the famous statue of Doctor Clark. He helped to develop the agriculture and farming development in Hokkaido during the Meiji Period. His famous words to the people of Hokkaido were, “Boys, be ambitious.” What about the girls? Girls, be housewives?

Girls, just cook the damn dinner.

It was here that I drew my Photo Challenge card for today. Please don’t be “Take a photo with people wearing hats.” Please, no hats! And the card is… <drum roll for dramatic effect>  “Take a photo with people wearing hats!” Uhg.

For this one I was carrying around three hats that spell out Hokkaido using Japanese kanji (北海道) for just this card. I was looking around wondering who to ask. I saw a family of five and approached them. I explained that I was traveling Hokkaido and about my cards. They were more than willing to help out. I hadn’t gotten worked out and nervous, and I’m not really sure why. It’s not like I was in the 8th grade and trying to ask out a girl for the first time. It was probably nerves about my Japanese. Something that I should have a little more confidence with.

After leaving the sheep observation hill (where I saw no sheep), I headed back to Sapporo Dome for one more day of baseball. The rookie phenom Yuki Saitoh was the starter. I wasn’t too impressed. He let in 2 runs in 2 innings and left the 5thinning with the Fighters down 1-2. It was the Fighters’ bullpen that won this game with a final score of 5-2. This game was a lot of fun as I got to really feel the excitement of a Japanese baseball game. Since this was a comeback win, the fans were constantly in the “rally cheer” mode. There are no changes in the cheers for each player and the cheering doesn’t stop for outs. It just changes names to the next player at bat.

More Hats at the Game!

There was one rather enthusiastic fan sitting 3 seats over from me. He may have been mentally challenged, but he was always yelling things out at the players (positive and negative and to both teams).  His enthusiasm and comments brought a lot of laughs and energy to the area around me. People were making comments to each other but nothing condemning him for his handicap and eccentricity (which I might expect in Tokyo). The comments were positive and along the lines of “This guy is hilarious!” Here is a video with some of his dancing he did to entertain everyone.

The last thing to note for the day is I met a new traveling companion.  Who are they? Where did we go? Stay tuned for the next entry. Same Bat-channel, same Bat-time. Well, whenever I get around to the next post.