We started a bit later Sunday morning (breakfast buffet at 9:00). We were going to leave right after breakfast, but Bethy had to unpack and repack to find her Shinkansen tickets. We took the subway to Osaka Station, a train to Shin-Osaka, and then a Shinkansen train to Hiroshima.
I knew we had to take the streetcar to our hotel, and I was sure it was Streetcar #2. As with every station, there were multiple exits and we identified which one was the “streetcar” exit. There were many information stands and tables around Hiroshima Station—it was obvious that lots of people were there to participate in the Peace Day observations the next day. The volunteer directed us to tram #6 or tram #2, and we headed towards the streetcars. We (of course) chose the incorrect side of the streetcar area, and the conductor directed us to the boarding area. When I asked about Koami-cho, he told me that was streetcar #2. Looking at the map, it showed that Streetcar #6 would have taken us to the Peace Park, but not the several stops further to our Business Ryokan.
For adventure’s sake, we missed our stop because the tram just didn’t stop. We got off (not thinking that we should have asked for a transfer or something), and got back on going the other direction. I stood by the conductor and asked for Koami-cho, so he knew where we were trying to go and was sure to stop the tram! We never did find out how to tell the streetcar conductor that we wanted to get off at the next stop! For our first rides, we made sure each person had exactly 150 yen. After that, I took to gathering up 600 yen and paying for all four of us at once.
Getting to the Ryokan
Unlike some of our other destinations, we didn’t have any trouble finding our accommodations (unless you count the missing the stop and having to come back) we knew we were in the right place—my name and “4 people” was on a board when we entered. We checked in, paid, and got our keys. She didn’t immediately say that she had mail for me, and her English was minimal, but we managed to ask about the baseball tickets, which had been delivered the morning before and were waiting for us. It turned out that she’d had an “Elizabeth” there the day before who hadn’t known anything about the tickets, and that had thrown her.
These accommodations were Japanese style, which I knew when I booked them. The toilets were down the hall, which was also something I’d known when I booked them. What I hadn’t realized was that the doors would be so low that Stan would have to duck to go into the room. I also hadn’t known that their definition of ‘3 showers’ wouldn’t match mine (more on that later). Although each room had an air conditioner (thank goodness), which cooled the (small) room very quickly, the halls and bathrooms were not cooled and were stifling hot. This was a bit of a theme in Japanese accommodations and facilities, though—the energy crisis really impacts cooling.
Baseball at the Zoom Zoom Stadium
We’d thought we might have some afternoon time in Hiroshima, but it didn’t work out that way. As it turned out, we didn’t have time for much before the game besides dinner and so off we went. We took the streetcar back to Hiroshima Station, where a crowd of people was obviously heading for the game—the Hiroshima Toya carp vs. the Honshun Tigers. We found a place to grab a bite to eat on the way to the game. We had reconciled ourselves that we might be late to the game but the timing worked our perfectly. We weren’t sure how to find our seats (which turned out to be great seats), but Stan showed our tickets to a Carps staff member, and she led us to our seats.
Bethy had been to a Tigers game before and said the best part was the audience participation, which included “clapping bats” and balloons. I gave Beth some money and she went off to find 4 clapping bats and balloons for us to release at the 7th inning stretch.
The bats were great—you could clap without making your hands raw—and they were just a lot of fun for being out rhythms while the audience chanted. The man in front of us was obviously an intense fan and when something really great happened on the field, he turned around and gave us all “high 5s” with the clapping bats. Bethy had picked out four different ones. I had a definite favorite, which I claimed from Bethy. Jennica decided that the ones she had were the right ones to give Jordan. I think Stan is going to find that he doesn’t have a set of his own when the handing out settles, since Jennica will appropriate Stan’s when she gives hers to Jordan.
Sometime in the 6th inning, the balloons came out. All the way across the field, I could see the yellow balloons of the Tiger fans. For some reason, I had expected round balloons. (Jennica said she had, too). They turned out to be long, fat balloons which had a special plastic piece at the mouth part which caused them to make a pronounced hissing noise when released. The Tiger fans set theirs off first; the Tiger fans weren’t numerous, but they were loud and it was really neat to watch their balloons (yellow) fly up into the air and hear the sound effects at the same time.
Part way into the next inning half, the Carp fans took out their balloons (red) and started blowing them up. The man in front of us blew one up for his child and then for himself. We blew all four of ours up (they conveniently came in a package of four for 300 yen). Jennica’s wasn’t choosing to cooperate, but she persevered and her balloon met the same fate as the rest—it was released all at once with the others and balloons swirled around our heads. Jennica caught some of it on video—I didn’t even try to get still photographs of all the balloons being released.
Since our room was a small tatami mat room with a decent air conditioner, and not much space at all, we moved the two futons so they were together and against one wall, and that just left room for our suitcases. The internet listing had indicated that the Business Ryokan had 3 showers. Strictly speaking, that was true, but only strictly speaking. There were 3 shower heads in one room. Two of the shower heads were too close together to be used simultaneously, and it turned out that people used the shower room one person at a time. As far as I’m concerned, there was one shower, and you had the choice of 3 shower heads to use. There was a bath, but it wasn’t filled, and even if it had been, one wouldn’t have wanted to hog the only shower area by taking a long soak.