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If we were living in America, spring would signal the beginning of many things – and for baseball fans, the most eagerly anticipated would be the start of the official baseball season. Fortunately, Japan is a great place for baseball fans too!

Baseball was introduced to Japan in 1873 and is now the most popular team sport in Japan, with over 14 million people attending professional baseball games each year. The popularity of the sport is clearly evident when you attend a baseball game in Japan. If you thought American fans were enthusiastic, you ain’t seen nothing yet! Every professional Japanese baseball player has his own theme song, and fans sing a song every time their team is up at bat. Not only do fans sing, they stand and cheer; it’s a loud and rowdy spectator sport – much more interactive than the American version.

And, even though you won’t find crackerjacks at the Kyujo, you will find squid jerky and other Japanese delights. For the thirsty dad, you’ll find beer, fresh from the tap and you don‘t even have to get up from your seat. Confused? Thanks to a team of very strong young Japanese women carrying small kegs on their backs, at both Tokyo Dome and Meiji Jingu Stadium, you can buy an icy cold draft beer without missing a minute of the game.

There are twelve professional teams that play across Japan, with the very popular Yomiuri Giants playing at the Tokyo Dome. Tickets to the Giants are the most difficult to get, but don’t panic. The Yakult Swallows call Meiji Jingu Stadium their home, and are also a great team to watch with really spirited fans. Ticket prices range from ¥1,500 (outfield) to ¥5,000 (behind home plate). Tickets are available at convenience stores, the stadiums, and through several websites. (You might need to enlist the help of a Japanese-speaking friend). There are also a couple of English websites with game schedules and player information that are useful.