More than 36 million people live in Tokyo. Do you know how many people live in Washington, D.C.? The answer is 4 million.
To see the difference, let's pretend one of you is all the people who live in Washington, D.C. Now let's pretend that nine of you are all the people who live in Tokyo. That's a big difference!
Most of the train stations in and around Tokyo have signs in English. When the signs are not in English, friendly Japanese people usually offer to help you get to where you want to go. Most Japanese students study English in junior high school and many of them like to practice speaking English with American and British visitors.
|Friendly Japanese people on train platform|
If no one is around to help us, we just hop on a train and go where it takes us. Japan is such a safe country that we never worry about getting lost. It is fun to go exploring in a safe country like Japan!
I saw lots of people taking naps on the train. Other people were reading books or knitting or playing silent electronic games or texting on their cell phones. I had a book to read (Nate the Great and the Hungry Book Club) but decided to look out the window instead. We arrived in Tokyo just thirty minutes after we left Yokohama.
Ryan's friends took me to an afternoon baseball game. The Yomiuri Giants were playing the Hanshin Tigers at the Tokyo Dome. I saw a ferris wheel and a roller coaster next to the Tokyo Dome but I didn't get a chance to ride them.
“Besuboru” (BEH-SU-BOH-RU) is very popular in Japan, where it has been played for more than one hundred years. The real Japanese name is yakyu (YAH-KEE-YOU), which combines the Japanese letters for “fielding” and “ball.” The first professional baseball team was formed by a man named Hiroshi Hiraoka when he returned to Japan after studying in the United States. Hiraoka and his co-workers founded the Shimbashi Athletic Club in Tokyo in 1878. The first high school baseball team, Ichiko, started playing in 1886.
|Little League baseball|
Many Japanese major leaguers have played for U.S. baseball teams. The most famous are Hideo Nomo (Dodgers), Ichiro Suzuki (Mariners), and Hideki Matsui (Yankees). There are 12 major league teams in Japan, divided into two leagues – Central and Pacific – and they play a “Japan Series” just like the U.S. “World Series” to crown a champion each year.
The most famous team in Japan is the Tokyo Yomiuri Giants. They are like the New York Yankees in American baseball. Their main rival is the Osaka Hanshin Tigers. The Tigers are like the Boston Red Sox in our country. Whenever the Giants play the Tigers in Japan, it is like the Yankees against the Red Sox in the U.S. Each team has very devoted fans.
|Tigers' cheering section at Tokyo Dome|
Baseball fans in Japan really get into the game. Their cheering sections take up the whole bleacher sections. They are led by a cheer conductor who wears white gloves and stands in the middle of the section next to their band. They all stand and sing or chant the entire time their team is up to bat. Then they sit quietly while the other team’s batters are up.
|Hello Kitty souvenirs|
What fun things will we do tomorrow? I can hardly wait to find out.