Saturday, June 20, 2015

Hokkaido and the Black Ships

Clock starts May 17, 1854

The public histories of Hakodate start their historical clocks on May 17, 1854 when the United States squadron of five "Black Ships" rumbled in to Hakodate Bay.  Fresh from signing the Treaty of Kanagawa down south in Edo Bay, Commodore Mathew Calbraith Perry had sailed up to Hakodate to examine the second of the two ports opened by the treaty. (Shimoda was the other.)

Perry wrote in his diary that Hakodate's harbor had "no superior in the world."  Other Americans in the expedition compared it to Gibraltor or Hong Kong.

I've not seen most of the world's harbors, but of those I have, it reminds me of Hong Kong.


Hakodate Harbor as seen from Hakodate Mountain at dusk.  Viewing Hakodate Harbor from the mountain is considered to be one of the three most beautiful nighttime views in the world.  One can reach the top via a cable car (called "ropeway" in Japan), or on the public bus.  We took the public bus, and a wonderful swaying crowded compartment winding upward through the lush gardens of hillside homes.  Very reminiscent of going up Hong Kong's Victoria Peak. Unlike Victoria, there's no restaurant at the summit, but there are vending machines selling beer.
Foreigners and their ships were a puzzlement to the residents of Hakodate, so much so that they fled up into the mountains when the huge-to-them ships first steamed into the bay.  Even after finding that the Americans meant no harm, they had trouble figuring out how to portray these hairy apparitions.  

Commodore Mathew Calbraith Perry.
 

Perry (with beard) as seen by Japanese artist.
















One finds references to Perry scattered all around Hakodate including a public square commemorating his 1854 visit with a statue overlooking the harbor.


Dedicated on the 150th anniversary of Perry's visit.
Perry was known as "Old Bruin"



Perry's flagship, the USS Powhatan was just as much of an enigma to the Japanese as the hairy Americans.  She was a coal-burning 253 foot steam frigate bristling with 16 cannons and belching black smoke when she steamed into Hakodate harbor.  The citizens of Hakodate had never seen a steam ship much less any ship that large, and Japanese artists had some difficulty depicting  the ship's detail.  



Perry's flagship during its commission
as Perry's flagship. 
The USS Powhatan drawn to resemble a Spanish galleon.  Spanish
galleons were the few ships that most Japanese had ever seen
either in real life or illustrations. The artist came close when drawing
the paddle wheels and smokestack, sails and flag, but did do well
with the ship's bow and stern. 




  
  The Benign Legacy of Perry's Visit and "Opening" of Japan -- When I was studying Japanese history over a half-century ago, most texts and professors portrayed Perry's arrival in Japan in 1853 and the subsequent "open door" treaties as a win-win. And, it never "counted" as an invasion of Japan.  It was, simply, an invitation to come out and play.  We didn't make Japan a colony like the Europeans did China.

The Japanese got to meet the 19th century after over two centuries of isolation, and United States whalers would be treated humanely when shipwrecked.  The internal whirlwind set loose by the visit and the treaties that followed swirled up through Japan, ending, ironically, here at Hakodate in 1869.  And then, so went the story, feudalism gave way to a constitutional government, restored emperor and Japan began an industrial surge that carried into, finally, a war with Russia that Japan won.  Pretty good for a half-century of work--from drawing pictures of ships they could not even imagine, to driving their own steam ships right through the heart of the Russian navy.  OK, but then the military took over and the whole thing went sideways....

Another Legacy -- There were many in Japan who never forgot Perry's visits, and the humiliation of having treaties jammed down their throats while facing those huge cannons.  And so, as with most historical figures, Perry's reputation in Japan is mixed.  When seeing "Old Bruin" looking out over Hakodate Bay, I got the uneasy feeling that there was much more to this story, particularly as seen through Japanese eyes.

Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto is believed to
have been motivated, in part, by Perry's
1853-1854 visits to Japan. 
Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto Knew of Perry's visit -
Though Admiral Yamamoto's motives for his attack on Pearl Harbor, December 1941, were extremely complex, several biographers remembered a cryptic statement he had made as a young naval officer.  When asked why he had joined the navy, he was quoted as saying, "I want to return Commodore Perry's visit."  Some 21st century historians suggest that the shame and memory of Perry's visit may have motivated others in the Japanese military besides Yamamoto. 

General Douglas MacArthur also knew of Perry's visit - Commodore Perry's visit also haunted the official surrender ceremony on board the USS Missouri on September 2, 1945.  The official surrender ceremony by Japan on board the USS Missouri had several elements of Commodore Perry.
        1) The location - Uraga Bay - The surrender ceremony was held almost precisely on the spot where Perry's "Black Ships" had launched their diplomatic (some say "gunboat") effort in 1853.
        2) Perry's Flag - The flag that had flown over Perry's flagship in 1853-54 had been resting in a glass case at Annapolis.  It was removed, case and all, and flown out to Japan and placed on the bulkhead behind the assembled Allied dignitaries.  The symbolism was missed on the visiting Japanese surrender delegation, but they learned of it afterward.
       3) Mac Arthur's Sept 2 Radio address - General MacArthur directly invoked Commodore Perry in his radio address beamed out to the world:  "We stand in Tokyo today reminiscent of our countryman, Commodore Perry, ninety-two years ago. His purpose was to bring to Japan an era of enlightenment and progress, by lifting the veil of isolation to the friendship, trade and commerce of the world."  The United States military knew what an important symbol Perry's visit was to the Japanese, and let them know it.

General Douglas MacArthur aboard the USS Missouri, Sept 2, 1945.
Commodore Perry's flag, 31 stars, can bee seen in the upper left.   Mac
Arthur invoked Commodore Perry's visit in his comments during a
later radio address from the ship.




A Note to the eagle-eyed:  I was troubled by the way the flag was hanging on the bulkhead of the battleship.  It didn't look right, so I checked with the official US Flag Code, and sure enough, when hung on a wall, the flag should have the Union -- the stars --  in the upper left.  The photos not reversed, so that's not the problem So, Perry's flag seems to have been improperly hung on September 2, 1945.  Or, it might have been the case that it came in?  There is some suggestion that the flag arrived at the last minute.  Perhaps it was hung up in haste?  Ironic, no?  The flag they were using to impress the Japanese may have been hung improperly...I admit that I was impressed. 

Two of Perry's finest remain in Hakodate - Perry sailed away from Hakodate on June 7 taking with him a set of impressions and gifts and leaving behind as many as he received. But, he also left behind two crewmen who had died while the ships were in Hakodate Bay.  The Hakodate city officials donated a small plot for them, and on May 27, 1854, they were carried up to the cemetery overlooking the bay and buried with the full honors of an Episcopal burial.

Two American flags adorn the graves of two American seamen
from Commodore Perry's visit to Hakodate in 1854. They were two
of the first foreigners buried in Hakodate's "Foreigners Cemetery."  

They are still there, in a lovely, well-maintained "Foreigners Cemetery" overlooking the bay where they died. The concrete headstones are weathered, but as we walked up to them, we could decipher what the tombstones said.

Tombstone - left - for Seaman James G. Wolf from the ship USS Vandalia.  Seaman Wolf died on May 25, 1854, age 50.  Apparently he had been ill for some time.  His shipmates paid for his tombstone.


  Two days later, May 27, 1854 Seaman G.W. Remick, died of typhoid fever also aboard the USS Vandalia.  He was nineteen years old, and his tombstone was also paid for with contributions from his shipmates.













There is something very sad about graves of military personnel, or anyone for that matter, who dies so far from home.  The U.S. Navy remembered these two men in 1954 when they sent eight ships to Hakodate to commemorate Perry's 1854 visit and included a visit to these two fallen seamen.  

Two other cemeteries nearby:  

      A Chinese Cemetery - just to the east of the "Foreigner's Cemetery" there is a Chinese cemetery.  Not nearly as well kept up as the one containing the Americans, British, and other Europeans, the Chinese cemetery does show evidence of a recent Qing Ming celebration, though the grass has grown up since April 5.  There was a thriving Chinese commercial community in Hakodate that grew up after Perry's opening in 1854.

The Chinese Cemetery began in 1876 to bury a group of Chinese sea-drifters who had died here.  Enlarged in 1919, it now contains many Chinese who have died since, and shows evidence of being a relatively current and active cemetery.  There is a monument commemorating those who died unknown. 
Hakodate's Chinese Cemetery has a very distinctive and
well-maintained funerary oven.  These funerary ovens can be found in Chinese cemeteries all over the world, including Monterey, Santa Cruz, Watsonville and Salinas. Their purpose is as a place to burn ceremonial offerings during funerals and commemorations.  

The Russian Cemetery - "The Russians were coming!" - In a move from the Northern Pacific southward toward Japan not unlike the Russian move southward along the Pacific Coast into Alta Calilfornia, the Russians inspired a fear in the Japanese that was even stronger than that of the Americans or other Europeans.  Eventually there was also a Russian community in Hakodate (after all, Russia's just a hop and a skip to the north and west) and with them came a Russian Orthodox Church.

Hakodate's lovely Russian Orthodox church.  Presently under renovations, the church was build in 1916, and they are preparing the church for their upcoming centennial in 2016.  

The Russian Cemetery in Hakodate.  The cemetery was first used in 1870 and contains just short of 50 graves, including 25 who were crewmen aboard Russian warships who had died in the region of Hokkaido.  The Russian relationship with Japan is complex, as on the one hand there is economic cooperation on many levels, while on the other there is a serious dispute over the two southern Kurile islands to Hokkaido's northeast.




The Sign of the Present and Future in Hokkaido - One would expect to see signs in Chinese, Korean and Japanese in the airport, but they are also in English and Russian, a testimony to the amount of human movement between Russia and Hokkaido.

Departure sign, Hakodate International Airport, reflecting the primary sources
of passengers including China, Japan, Korea, English-speakers, and Russians. 

Sources:  
  Feifer, George. Breaking Open Japan: Commodore Perry, Lord Abe, and American Imperialism in 1853.  Smithsonian Books, 2006.
  Irish, Ann B. Hokkaido: A History of Ethnic Transition and Development on Japan's Northern Island, McFarland, 2009.
-

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Earthquake in the Beer Garden

The Hakodate Beer Garden, Hakodate, Hokkaido, Japan.  We
were on the 2nd floor when the earthquake came rolling through.

Our itinerary includes pretty much everything - including, apparently,  an earthquake.  There we were at 8:23 PM local time,  quietly (!) drinking beer and conducting our farewell dinner - actually saying goodbye to Frank and Joy Souza as they are leaving the group early in the morning.  Frank was up at the microphone explaining how the group might be able to up-load photos for sharing when Kaori and I felt the earth begin to roll beneath our feet -- we immediately looked up and the chandeliers in the beer parlor were rotating slowly -- and for a long time, it seemed.  Being a group of blasé Californians who experience earthquakes fairly frequently, most paid no attention and continued to drink beer.  Frank continued his explanation, and the chandeliers continued to rotate lazily for another couple of minutes.     We later learned that it was a 7.8 (!) earthquake centered 540 miles south of Tokyo in the Pacific -- and deep enough that the tsunami folks issued no warning. 
video
    Here's a video that Annie shot of the chandeliers that she started about a minute after the main impact of the quake.  Sorry it isn't better, but you can get the idea. 

Friday, May 29, 2015

Volcanoes on our Minds


The Mount Usu eruption, March 2000.  One of the risks of
all that hot water to bathe in.  Fortunately, Mt. Usu telegraphs
its eruptions allowing residents to evacuate.

Heat, Hot Water and Pyroclastics - Hokkaido
My mental image of Hokkaido had always been dominated by wide open spaces (true) and cows (true), but the landscape is dominated by volcanoes -- everywhere one turns there's another one against the horizon, and some are labeled "active" while others "dormant."  The tenuous meaning of dormant came alive yesterday off the southern island of Kyushu when a volcano blew "without warning" sending the 100+ residents off their island home.

The Japanese are painfully but realistically aware that their perch atop these achingly beautiful islands is precarious.  The Four Feared Things that they learn as growing up are Fire, Thunder, Earthquake and Father.  But, they've incorporated the seismic element into their culture with their obsession about sitting in hot water. The onsen - the hot water bath that is a main part of their daily lives - is one of the gifts of the hot, molten earth lurking just below their feet.



Noboribetsu - Our first overnight stop was in a lovely cluster of hotels tucked into the bottom of a gorge that is famous for its hotsprings.  The smell of sulphur announces your arrival long before you see the place, and hotels cluster around the springs that provide visitors with an impossible variety of hot water experiences.  Inside, open-air, you name it -- there's even a public one in a nearby national park that is dedicated to just your feet.  About a half mile from the hotel was the entrance to Jigokudani ("Hell Valley") a part of the Shikotsu-Toya National Park.

One of the many vents spewing hot water and noxious stuff along the trail
through Hell Valley.

"Hell Valley" - There's a sarcastic saying within the group that "A day without stairs isn't a day on this tour..."  "More Stairs Pleeeeease" - We've been doing a lot of stairs, and "Hell Valley" provided yet some more.  The trails in Japan's National Parks are remarkably developed - handrails, interpretive signs - many with an English section - overlooks -- and stairs.  We hiked about a mile or so to get to an overlook -- and then out to a lake before returning to the bus gathering area.

The busses from the cruise ship.


The Sounds of Mandarin - When we returned to the bus parking area we were astonished to see that the bus or two that had been there when we left had multiplied into dozens of busses -- and the quiet entryway turned into a blizzard of color -- bright reds and blues -- and people.  We learned that a cruise ship with 3,000 Chinese visitors had docked at the port city of Muroran, and 80 tours buses -- that's right - 80 -- had charged into the Hokkaido countryside, many of them to Noboribetsu for off-boat day trips.  The number of Chinese visitors to Japan has increased exponentially, and they soon will be the most numerous of foreign visitors to Japan.  As they already are in the US.  And, oh my goodness do they buy stuff!  We saw few of them on the trails in the outer part of the park -- they were in the visitor center buying stuff -- the sunglasses kiosk was being turned so fast it might have started smoking -- the vending machines were emptied out almost instantly.  Sadly, they fulfill all the negative stereotypes of Chinese tourists -- aggressive and loud.  But, in their defense, this is the first generation of Chinese tourists, and they will settle down once they learn the mores of their host countries.  (Don't forget our own first-generation travelers - the Ugly Americans...)  Plus, day-trippers off cruise ships tend to be single-minded and aggressive no matter their country of origin.

Chinese visitors working the sunglasses kiosk.

     For Ramon De la Cruz and others of us who have spent time in China, it was like old home week. The jostling was almost fun.    And this was the first exposure we had to any competing visitors on this entire trip.  As comforting as the sounds of Chinese may have been, I must admit that it was a relief to drive down the road to the more peaceful shores of Lake Toya - this time a crater lake.

Mount Usu and the Gift of Predictability -- Those of us who live in earthquake country and try to keep the memories of such events alive so that we might mobilize our neighbors into being prepared always wrestle with the issue of predictability.  It's difficult to organize people when the events that threaten them are random and unpredictable - and long passages of time - usually decades - allow memories to fade.  I've often wondered about the issues of forecasting earthquakes -- and would the populace respond any better if they KNEW an earthquake was coming?
    The tragedy of the Great Tohoku Tsunami noted below was that they had a warning - 40 minutes -- yet thousands died.  Why had so many died in the tsunami when no one --no one -- died in the huge eruptions of Mt. Usu in 1977 or 2000?  The answer seems to lie in the certainty of earthquake precursors in the area of Mt. Usu and the uncertainty of the tsunami.   In recorded history, earthquakes have ALWAYS been followed by an eruption of Mt. Usu.  No false alarms.  No crying "wolf."
    And even better, there's no way of knowing where the eruption will occur in the Mt. Usu area.  So, you know it's coming, but you're not sure where.  So you leave without hesitation.  You get the hell out of there.  Simple.  And no one dies.  Evacuation routes are indicated, refugee centers established. 
   No surprises.   I'm not wishing such disasters on Santa Cruz County in exchange for certainty.  But..wouldn't it be nice to know when St. Andrew was going to twitch?  Or would it?

The March 2000 eruption of Mt. Usu.  Despite being in a
densely populated area, no one was killed.  Photo taken from
a brochure produced by the Volcano Science Museum.






 

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Parting ways with the Poet Basho






Heading north - If you look at our map, you'll see where we leave Sendai by ferry and head north to Hokkaido.  In his famous Road to the Deep North journey, Basho turned left and headed across Honshu and then traveled down the western coast and back to Edo (Tokyo).  Our last direct connection with Basho's route came at a place where several threads of Japanese history came together in a stunning mountainous area called Hiraimizu.  We drove due north of Sendai for about an hour and entered one of Japan's most famous historical and beautiful spots.

The Temple Complex at Motsu-ji


Hiraizumi - In a lovely valley jammed with "sites" - World Heritage and Japan Cultural Treasures - there are two major temple locations - Motsu-ji which is one of the last large Heian-era gardens representing the power and glory of the Fujiwara's whose demise happened here, and the Chosu-ji the location of the pavilion-within-a-pavilion -- a glittering cultural treasure.  It's surprising that way up here in the far north we find the first designated Japanese cultural treasure in spite of the grandeur of Kyoto far to the south. 


Kaori wisely provided a copy of Basho's description of this spot
and I read it and the famous haiku.


The View of the Koromo River as described by Basho

The Basho Spot - We've flitted along Basho's route and visited the "kind of near here" locations of some of his stops and poems.  But here on a ridge overlooking the Koromo River, we stand on the very spot where he composed one of his most famous haiku -- a lament to the fleeting world of warrior's such as Minomoto Yoshitsune, who died near here and to whom there is a lovely building dedicated nearby.

Minamoto Yoshitsune, one of Japan's
favorite tragic figures.

Paul Skenazy and his buddy Matsuo Basho had to say goodbye.

The Taiheiyo Ferry - You'll see on the above map that we leave land aboard a ferry -- this is a huge ship -- no small ferry -- and we settle in to enjoy good food, karaoke, and other shipboard amenities and rumble northward in a very soft swell.  Great way to make the trip to Hokkaido -- overnight.  Hokkaido appears through the fog the next morning. 

The Taiheiyo Ferry that we boarded for our trip to Hokkaido.
 

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

The Legacy of the Great Tohoku Earthquake March 11, 2011 - 4 years later

The Power of the March 11, 2011 tsunami in Ishinomaki, several
days afterwards.
The Horror of March 11, 2011 - Who can forget the riveting video of the huge, special-effects-like wave sweeping into coastal Japan, and cars, people, and entire towns being swept away?  They estimate that upwards of 20,000 people died in the earthquake and tsunami, not to mention entire towns.

A shrine dedicated to those lost.


Stand Up Ishinomaki!  We had a chance to visit the city of Ishinomaki, one of the  hardest-hit on the coast north of Sendai and had a briefing by city officials on their progress to date and plans for the future.  We sat in a briefing room in city hall and heard the numbers and saw the aerial photos and maps, but they are numbing.  There's no real way to grasp the magnitude of this event.  The evidence is everywhere: damaged empty buildings, hundreds of empty lots, buildings standing isolated in the middle of what was once a neighborhood, shrines on empty street corners, and sign exhorting themselves to Stand Up! 

Stand Up!


Stand up and Sing!  Kaori made arrangements for the visit, and we brought a donation to the city that we were told would go to assisting those many residents still homeless.  We have been rehearsing a song that became the anthem in Japan for the tsunami, so Kaori thought it would be appropriate if we sang the song to the city officials after we made the donation.  We stood, and holding the words, we sang the song.  The officials later told us that they were surprised that a group of Americans would make such a gesture and they were touched.  It was difficult singing the song and trying to read the words through the tears.   It's particularly difficult for those of us who live in earthquake country and who are joined at the hip through our seismicity with our Japanese neighbors.

video


The Greatest Tragedy -- 40 minutes - Perhaps I missed it back in 2011, but we learned from our disaster tour guide (more about that in a minute) that there had been a warning issued to the citizens along the coast and those in Ishinomaki.  40 minutes before the tsunami hit.  All those school children and citizens could have been saved had they gone to higher ground like they had been taught to do over the years.  They didn't take it seriously.  They didn't have to die.

I remember very clearly as that very same wave raced across the ocean toward the Monterey Bay coastline, and the dozens (hundreds) of people who rushed TOWARD the coast to see the wave, depending/gambling on the information that scientists were predicting that the wave wouldn't amount to much. 

Tsunami Tours - they have volunteers who
give tours of the tsunami area to keep the
memory alive.


Learning and Planning - The city of Ishinomaki and all the cities along the coast are working hard to try and see that the tragedy is never repeated.  Japan is riding through time atop volcanoes and nobody knows better the threat and reality of it.  But now, with the tsunami fresh in their minds, they intend to keep that reality alive.  Those blue plaques indicating evacuation routes are fresh and everywhere.  The marks indicating the height of the wave adorn the sides of newly-built buildings. 

But, even in this place where the reality of natural disaster is always present, they have to work at keeping the residents mobilized.  They have to WORK at it.  Barely 4 years have passed and the empty lots stretch for miles, and they still have to exhort the citizens to be prepared. 

We should never forget the Tsunami - We should keep the memories of this event alive not only to honor those who perished -- unnecessarily it would seem -- but to use them to help us be vigilant as we too ride through time on that same seismic roller coaster.






Baseball to Basho

Following (sort of) in Matsuo Basho's footsteps (sort of) -
   Kaoiri Mizoguchi and I built this itinerary around several themes, one of which was the travel narrative written by Matsuo Basho describing his journey to the north of Japan.  He departed in May of 1689, took 150 days and traveled 1500 miles.  We're only interested in the part of the journey that covered from Tokyo to the north of Honshu where he turned west.  We'll continue on to Hokkaido for the last days of our trip.
    Japan has changed a bit since the Tokugawa Period, so we'll not be able to follow his route except when he stopped and wrote about some of the famous Basho places.  Basho is Japan's favorite poet, and also very popular in the United States, so we've got several Basho-followers in the group, and most of the group members have read a bit of his work, if not just the famous of his haikus, such as the "Frog Poem", or the "Cicada Poem" or the "Matsushima account." 
   Setting up an itinerary like this was inspired by Kaori bringing a group to our area who had read "Cannery Row."  We then took them Steinbeck-hopping.  We're now going "Basho-hopping" if you'll pardon the irreverence.

Basho's hut - our point of beginning
  The location of the hut where Basho began his journey is an unassuming little spot down a Tokyo sidestreet -- a place you have to know about to find it.  Kaori knew about it.

The group hovering around Basho's hallowed ground.


The group then walked a couple of blocks to one of many Basho
museums scattered around Japan.
Nikko   The following day we drove north to one of Japan's most popular sites, but our intent was more literary than historical.  We walked down the avenue of the trees -- 400 year old cedars, and then went on to the Nikko ground.  It is huge and wonderful and has a bazillion sets of stairs.
Basho spent some important days here
writing some famous poems.










 
The Avenue of the Cedars.



 


The lower temple complex at Yamadera.

The group preparing to hike the 1,000 steps to the top of the mountain just like Basho did.  For the life of me I don't know what Jack Stevens is doing in the lower left.  You should have seen them all when they got back.

 


 
Matsushima islands - the most spectacular islands that remind
of the Big Sur California coastline.  Stunning.



We also visited the Sendai and Ishnomaki 2011 tsunami sites today.  More to come.
Everyone's fine and eating more than they should.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

More Yokohama Bay Stars and Raining Condoms

More Baseball Photos - The group continues to graze across the Japanese landscape, though much of what we ate at the ballpark doesn't qualify as true foodie fare.

Rob and Nancy Ley.  Compare his level of commitment to the Japanese
fans below.

Yes, Virginia, that's exactly what it seems -- Paul Skenazy
eating the Colonel's own.  Amazing what Santa Cruzans
will do when they're out of sight of the food police.

Beer Girl at work.  The Japanese have their priorities right,
you don't see any cotton candy vendors, but there's beer girls
with several gallons of beer strapped to their backs.  The price
is 700 yen -- about $7 -- and delivered to your seat.  Totally cool.
video



The Condoms part - OK, it's kind of a metaphorical thing -- At the place we call the 7th inning stretch, where the fans of each time stand and stretch - literally - at US ballgames, in Japan they have a different twist on it.  Don't know where and/or how it started, but the fans for each team arm themselves with long, thin balloons, and as the 7th inning approaches, they begin blowing them up.  Then, on their half of the 7th, they sing the team anthem, with the balloons poised, and then at the end of the song, they release them and the balloons fly into the air, falling to earth spent, looking like, in this case, giant yellow condoms.  Dunno how else to explain it.  It is absolutely hysterical.

video


Fans - In the row behind us there were two young men who might quality as the penultimate Japanese  baseball fans.  After the Bay Stars won the game in a delightful walk-off 9th inning victory, they stood and shredded their vocal chords.  If you are ever in Japan during  baseball season, make arrangement to go to a game.