Saturday, May 30, 2009

Who are Tigers? We are Tigers!

In Japan, no sport is bigger than baseball. And no team has crazier fans than Osaka's Hanshin Tigers. The Hanshin Tigers, founded in 1935, generate an annual crowd of over 3 million people, including two Canadians and two cute sushi-eating kids shown below.
Tigers fans go all out in the following ways:
1) Fashion, including Tigers hammer pants
2) Songs and coordinated cheers, with flags and led by fan conductors.
3) Accessories, which include bats and the tradition of releasing hundreds of air-filled balloons. Barry bought the Hello Kitty Pretty Committee bats, which you can see him trying to master here.
While cheering is mandatory when the Tigers are at bat, getting out of your seat during this time is strictly forbidden, and those who do are shamed out of the country. Though the Tigers' uniforms and the logos are similar to those of their sister team, the Detroit Tigers, the two cities are a tad different: you are 331 times more likely to be robbed in Detroit than anywhere in Japan. So feel free to leave your wallet on your seat while you go buy yakitori or curry rice between innings.
So next time you're in Osaka, check out a Tigers game. Hello Kitty is all grown up, and can whoop the Hiroshima Carp's butt!