Arrival in Tokyo

CyazThe last
day, or couple of days, have been a blur. We arrived in Tokyo after a 12-hour
flight yesterday afternoon around 2:45 pm, 12:45 am ET in the
States. Right away we were greeted by Japanese fans and media as we made our
way from the baggage claim to the bus. Although I was tired after a long day
of travel, the energy and excitement of the Japanese fans provided a quick
boost. I knew baseball in Japan was popular before the trip, but the fervor
of the fans at the airport demonstrated just how popular it really is. They
recognized every player by name and most wore some article of clothing
from various Major League teams. The number of fans waiting at the
hotel when the team bus arrived was even greater than the airport. It was
an amazing welcoming to the country.

Today we had the morning free
to explore the city, shop, sightsee or just rest. I walked around the hotel
area for a few hours before catching the bus for the team workout this
afternoon. The workout went smoothly and it was fun to finally be in the
Tokyo Dome. Kenji Johjima of the Mariners joined us today and his presence,
along with Tadahito Iguchi, attracted a great amount of media. The dome seems
to be a mix between the Metrodome in Minnesota and Tropicana Field in Tampa.
As far as the stadium, everything seems to be the same with the exception
of netting extending all the way down the foul lines, unlike Major League
stadiums, and the showers. The shower heads are low to the ground and each
shower has a mini stool where you sit to shower. It was not exactly what
a 6’10” person had in mind!

Ryan Howard and myself at Sensojo Temple in Tokyo.   The two of us stood out just a little bit in the crowded market.

After the workout we returned to the
hotel where we had a welcoming reception. It was a very elaborate ceremony
attended by both teams, many fans and corporate sponsors for the event.
There was a traditional breaking of the sake barrel to start the ceremony,
which consisted of a group of players, coaches and executives hitting
a barrel of sake with a baseball bat. Again, it was great to see
the support for the series and build some excitement for the players.
There is a lot of pride at stake here, especially because Japan won the
World Baseball Classic this spring.

As for the Japanese culture,
there are two major observations after my first day. One, it is hard to get used to walking on the left side of the sidewalk. The second
observation is how technologically advanced everything is. For example, cell
phones appear to be state of the art and sophisticated, and taxi cab doors are
hydraulic and open on their own. Ryan Howard had his picture taken with an
eager fan on his way to dinner, and by the time he came out of dinner, the fan
handed Ryan a copy of the photo to autograph! Overall the city is very clean
and the people are extremely friendly.

Tomorrow night I start the
exhibition game against the Yomiuri Giants so I am off to bed. I look forward
to getting back out on the field and competing against a very talented
Japanese team. I know my teammates are just as excited, and we hope to
represent Major League Baseball well and win the series.



    Its sounds like it was an interesting first day in Japan. I wish I could have gone to Japan and cheer on the team… To bad I’m in school. Good luck on the exhibition game! I hope you pitch great! Like you always do… I’m sure that Major League Baseball is going to be well represented by you, Clay, and the other outstanding players. I can’t wait to hear more from your expirience in Japan.


    I’m really glad that you’re having a great time in Japan. I’m sorry to hear that you’re having trouble with the showers! I want to wish you, Clay and the rest of the team good luck tommorrow on the game! I’m really excited to hear more about you’re experiences in Japan.



    Hey Chris,

    I hope you do great in Japan. Sounds like you’re having a wonderful time.

    Your fan,



    Dear Chris,

    Welcome to Japan!

    If I can ever figure out how to get ducats, I will be at one of the games. I don’t speak any more Japanese than you do, but I have figured out how to get to the Tokyo Dome by train. I hope walk-up tickets are available.

    Enjoy the city, the food, and the people. I’ve only been here 3 months, and I love it already.

    Thanks for a superb 2006 season for my Friars!



    Go Pads!


    Hey Chris, good to hear you guys got over there OK. Looking forward to seeing you out on the hill again, I’ll be up at 1 in the morning back here in San Diego to watch the ballgame on my computer! I can’t wait for you guys to get back out there to defend that NL West flag in ’07. You sure gave us fans a fun ride in ’06.

    Have fun out there, and get back safe! See you at Petco this April!




    Dear Chris,

    Please do us a favour? Ask Ryan Howard to take out his gum when being interviewed by Japanese television? Yeah, it was a nice blast, but it isn’t that difficult to hold onto your gum while you’re trying to be an ambassador. You can always get a new piece later, right? Smacking gum is just an ugly stereotype Japanese hold about us Yanks. (6-4 Yomiuri, bottom of the 6th, as I’m typing this…c’mon MLB All_Stars)!!! uh-oh, 7-4, Andruw couldn’t hold on.




    Chris, welcome to Tokyo!

    I’m a Japanese guy, once living in Chicago. I’m a big MLB fan, rooting for the White Sox and the Cubs in particular.

    I’ll be watching the game tomorrow November 03. I will be unable to see you pitch probably, as you were on the hill tonight.

    In any case we Japanese fan thank you very much to come over here to show us the best of the best!

    Thank you and enjoy your stay in Japan.

    Cheers, Tack


    I can’t help but laugh at a 6’10” guy among the, er, shall we say, “height challenged” Japanese. Your description of the shower gave me a good laugh! I’m hoping to stay up late enough to watch on my computer … gotta get my baseball fix before it’s all done till March when we go to spring training! I know you’ll make us proud back home. Thanks for the update – glad you got to see some sights while you’re there!


    Chris– it was bittersweet to read your blog today. I was astounded to read in yesterday’s Japan Times about the game betwee the All Stars and the Giants. Ron Howard’s picture was prominently featured. We would have killed to be at that game. Here we were, sitting around our Tokyo apartment after dinner. Where did we miss lead up news about this game? My husband reads the Phillies website regularly and didn’t catch any word!


    Chris, great anecdote about the shower…perfect little insight into the things we never think about or expect. I also did not know the bit about the netting down the lines.

    ~ Rich Campbell

    San Diego Spotlight

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