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Saturday, August 31, 2013

Baseball Experience Less Expensive In Japan

Having recently spent $150 on a pair of decent, but not overly exceptional tickets to the Toronto Blue Jays baseball game to go with my seven-year-old, I became curious as to what the experience must be like at a Japanese ball park.

Hell... in Toronto, we pay something like $11 for a beer, which is about ¥1025... which is ridiculous... because if you were to buy the same beer from The Beer Store or LCBO here in Ontario, it might cost you only $4 at the most.... I'm talking the tallboys, not your standard beer.

I know a couple of hot dogs and a couple of cokes cost me around $22 (¥2050), but we got to keep the cups to re-use for a refill... though the damn things were so huge even I - who used to drink two liters of Coke a day (no wonder my blood sugars are high!) - could barely finish one. I have no idea how my seven-year-old survived - and without hitting the washroom!!!!    

Anyhow... I saw a comment in the Toronto Star where I used to work as a reporter, where someone wrote:

In Japan…you can bring your own food into the stadium. Koshien Stadium, for the Hanshin Tigers has a grocery store right next to it, filled with awesome food you can bring in…no problem.
If you bring beer, you just have to let them pour it into a paper cup for you. Any size.
If you want to buy beer in the stands, they have armies of smiling, happy, beautiful girls with kegs on their backs, 500 yen (about 5 bucks) for a huge cup of Asahi, and no tipping.
Here, if I get free tickets, I go. But I stuff myself full of Indian buffet beforehand. Tandoori chicken baby! The same price for ONE watered down cup of sludge at the Dome (Toronto's stadium).

The photo above... that's my Hanshin Tigers coin purse that I bought back in 1990 when I was traveling (IE lost) by myself  in Osaka.   

Oh yeah - I forgot - if you do buy a beer from a server in Toronto... you should tip... and no one wants to look cheap, so you always add on the largest coin in your change - in variably $2... for 10 seconds of work. I don't begrudge the server, however. People have to make a living....

 Usually, I drive to the ballpark - $5 of gas there and back, and have to pay $20 for parking....  but this time I took the subway, and only had to pay $7.50 for both of us. My purchase of a $10 FOAM FINGER, however, kind of negated any savings. Oh yeah... and the program - which I bought from this same guy who I first recall working there back in 1977 when I was 12, when Toronto got the the Blue Jays expansion team. He and I have a laugh every year when we met. 

oh well... in Japan... and in other places like Florida or Tampa, you can still go to a ball game and not need to scrimp and save the rest of the week until you get paid again and can once again afford to have a nice meal at home.

This is the type of stuff--along with buying LEGO and coaching my son's soccer team--that I do instead of taking a vacation.

Geez... I just realized I haven't taken a 2013 vacation day yet. And... now it gets busy at work again. Crap.

Oh yeah... the Blue Jays won that day with my son... but it was (for him) a boring pitcher's duel. Me... it keeps me on the edge of my seat. Still... it was better than the game we went to two years ago, when I bought $100 seats each and sat in the third row down the first baseline - got an autograph from a Tampa pitcher - Mat Garza (nice guy!) - and then was mortified when my boy wanted to go home before the game finished... in the second inning.

Anyhow... if anyone has seen a Japanese ball game live, I would be curious about YOUR expenses.

Andrew Joseph  


  1. I went to a game about 18 years ago. It was the Kintetsu Buffaloes. In those days, I brought in a six pack of tall boys (Yebisu--my favourite) Nobody stopped me.

    1. Awesome! I got a full cavity search here in Toronto after they discovered I was bringing in juice in a bottle for my then baby son.
      18 years ago? Did you get to see Nomo pitch? He was my favorite player for Kintestu... watching him do his tornado wind-up. I knew he could succeed in the MLB!
      Back in 1991 (I think) I bought the first set of baseball cards out in Japan... and 1992 and 93... and got the Ichiro Suzuki rookie!
      Love the handle, by the way. I have always said that my hobby was hobbies!