We had a few extra vacation days to kill in our contract, so we took a quick 3 day trip over to Fukuoka, Japan. I'd been wanting to catch a baseball game in the land of the rising sun, and this was our opportunity.
The stadium was North American size, and had a strong resemblance to the dome in Toronto, complete with a retractable roof and corporate sponsorship (this was the Yahoo! Dome). The place was packed. We sat in the bleachers, which were situated in center field. The seats had no backs, which was a bit of a letdown. We realized that we'd be doing as much standing as sitting though...every time the home team was up to bat everyone stood up, chanting and cheering. There was a brass band behind us, playing trumpets and trombones while waving giant flags in the air. Beth and I were the ONLY people who did not have small plastic bats to tap together. This is because these cost about $20. They are serious over there.
Beers are $10, but the vendors aren't carrying cans around, they've got small kegs strapped to their backs. Asahi, Kirin, and others served up on draft to you right where you sit. That's service.
There's no 7th inning stretch, but in the 6th inning there's the ceremonial releasing of balloons. Yes, for $5 you can get 3 balloons that you release with the other 30,000 fans in attendance. It was quite a sight.
The game was a full 4 hours. I chalk this up to slow delivery by the pitchers. There weren't any games or activities happening between innings, and the change happened pretty quickly. I couldn't believe how long it took. After the game, which the home team won, they held everyone there for fireworks. This was a big disappointment. The three measly fireworks were fired as the dome opened (why it was closed all night I have no idea), a lackluster finish to a great game.