Oh yes, it’s about time I got around to this. The Sendai trip. I’m a bit removed from it now so some of the finer points might be a bit grey now, but I’ll try my best to capture it.
So the trip began very early one Sunday. September 14th to be exact when mornin and I headed over to Tokyo station to hop on the Shinkansen （新幹線）bound for the north. We arrived some time around noonish at Sendai station. The area around the station was very clean, very new, and very nice. We stopped at a Rakuten Eagles （楽天イーグルズ）team store to pick up a few goodies for the game that afternoon and the next afternoon as well and then headed over to the hotel that was supposed to be about 1 minute from the station. Who did the calculation I will never know, but it was not 1 minute from the station by anyone’s calculation… The hotel was nice enough, fairly new, fairly central to the city, nice enough. After checking in, we headed out for the stadium, my main reason to go to Sendai in the first place. The stadium is about a 5-7 min bus ride from the station. There is also a subway that goes over there too, but we opted for the bus. So here it is, Kleenex Stadium Miyagi!
That’s why I wanted to go. Not only did I cross off the last outdoor baseball stadium in Japan from my list (excluding the new Hiroshima stadium (Mazda Zoom Zoom) set to open next year), but I had a new 2nd favorite. This place was really cool. Kleenex is a fairly old stadium, much older than you would expect by the looks of it, but very clean, an abundance of stuff surrounding the stadium (shops, restaurants, and games for the kids) and it’s named “Kleenex Stadium Miyagi! The best part though is the inside. There are tons of different seating choices, I would venture to guess more variety than any other stadium than I’ve been to. The 1st game we went to ended with a Rakuten victory! It was a good game despite the light rain that fell at the beginning.
After the game we headed back to the station and headed off to some station to grub down on one of Sendai’s most famous foods, BEEF TONGUE! （牛たん） We headed to the #1 place listed in the guide book magazine that I purchased weeks before called “Aji Tasuke.” （味太助） After a shortish wait in line we got in and got some tongue and chowed down! It was pretty decent, I’m not much of a fan of the stuff to begin with and even though it’s a specialty of the city, it didn’t help me enjoy it that much more.
After dinner we headed back to Sendai station for another one of Sendai’s famous foods, “zunda mochi.” （ずんだ餅） This stuff is sticky rice balls covered in the sweeeeeet sweeeet green soybean sauce. Man it was sweeeeeeeeet! It was OK, but too sweet for this guy. An experience none the less.
Day 2 in Sendai began even earlier I think (the 3rd early ass/little sleep day for me in a row, and I was tired!) as we headed out for Matsushima. Matsushima is one of Japan’s 3 beautiful views (日本三景) and the second one I’ve been to (the 1st one I went to was Miyajima （宮島）near Hiroshima (and the 3rd, that I haven’t been to is Amanohashi （天の橋） in Kyoto)) We walked from the station down to the docks where we jumped on a boat to take a ride around the bay to see the many islands that dot the bay and give Matsushima it’s fame. It was quite beautiful but the most amazing thing was the sheer number of freaking seagulls that fly around the boat and pluck these little shrimp flavored snacks from the boat riders’ hands… just astounding! The speed that they display as they swoop in and grab the snacks is awesome and the stamina that they have to follow the boat for a good 30-40 minutes as the boat swings around the islands. Shocking, especially for someone, me, who isn’t so cool with birds in general.
After Matsushima we rocked back to Sendai and then we were off to our second Rakuten game. This one was a loss, but we had pretty nice seats, actually, the first time I’ve sat in seats at a game that were not in the outfield. Nice enough, but the security level was waaaaay more strict than the day before when we were in the outfield. Something to note, if you are smuggling beers into the stadium.
That was about it for Sendai. We went back to the station, collected our bags and picked up a few souvenirs and then headed back to Tokyo. I was a pretty good trip, mornin and I had some good fun even though the weather could have been better.
One last thing, on the 1st night while walking near the station I encountered the lead singer of the “Monkey Majik,” a band of mostly foreigners that sings often in Japanese and who are just f’n terrible! They were playing a show in Sendai that evening. Google them and check out their terribleness if you want. Terrible.