Seeing Tokyo

Doing a TV interview before Monday’s workout at Tokyo Dome. (Shizuo Kambayashi/AP)

Hey everyone. We just got back from our last workout at the Tokyo Dome before tomorrow’s opener against the Red Sox, and I had to go to a press conference with all the Japanese media for the first time. Mychael, our A’s beat writer for MLB.com, wrote a story about it yesterday, and it’s pretty dead-on. The press conferences here are definitely an interesting experience.

I promised you I’d share a little bit about getting out and seeing Tokyo, which I hadn’t really done before last night, so let’s start there. LeeAndra and I didn’t really do much last night other than go out to dinner, but it was nice to get out of the hotel and kind of feel the city a little bit, and the place we went to was perfect as far as that goes.

We went to a tabanyaki grill that’s kind of like a Hibachi or a Benihana back home, but it was super nice — and expensive — and felt really authentic. It was perfect for what we were looking for. We didn’t have to take our shoes off and sit on the ground or anything, but pretty much nobody there spoke English there, so it was awesome. It wasn’t touristy at all.

We went with Huston Street and his wife, and just as we were getting there, Jack Cust and his wife and Mike Sweeney and his wife had just got done eating. So obviously this place was highly recommended. LeeAndra’s the one who made the reservation, and she got it by calling the concierge at the hotel. I told you she was the planner.

The meal was unbelievable. Great scallops and lobster, and we had Kobe beef. I’ve heard so much about Kobe beef, but this was the first time I’ve ever had it. I thought it was delicious. I don’t know that is was noticeably better than the really good steaks I’ve had in the U.S., but I think I was just so pumped up to be eating it for the first time, I thought it was great.

They prepare the food right there, like at Benihana, and that’s a show all by itself. It was really cool to watch, and that’s a big part of the whole experience going to a place like that.

It was definitely pricey, though. I don’t know what it was in Yen, but it was basically $200 a person. A little steep, but everything’s more expensive here, and everyone really enjoyed it and the food was incredible, so it was worth it.

Before we went out to dinner, LeeAndra and I went to this place called “The Sky Bar” in the hotel. It’s basically like the Space Needle for anyone who’s been to Seattle and checked that out. That’s a good way to compare it. You’re all the way at the top of the building looking out over everything, and it gives you a real nice view of Tokyo.

We had a drink up there before we hopped in a cab for the restaurant, and the meal took a long time, so we didn’t get back to the hotel until 10 or 10:30 p.m., and I basically crashed out once we got back.

Taking a break during the Monday’s workout. (Shizuo Kambayashi/AP)

It’s about 4 p.m. on Monday here now, and we’re going to hit the city tonight. We’ll probably get an early start so we’re not out too late, but today’s when we’re going to hit all the shops and do that whole deal. The weather’s gone back to being cold and rainy like it was when we first got here, so we’ll definitely need to bring jackets. We just want to see as much as we can, grab another bite to eat, then get back to the hotel at a decent hour so I can rest up for the Red Sox.

The fact that we’re actually opening the season tomorrow didn’t really hit me until today, with the press conference and all. That’s when you know it’s about to go down. It’s a little bit like the playoffs, and it’ll be more like that tomorrow. I’ve never really been someone who gets real caught up in the lead-up to things like this. My excitement usually comes more within the game, once it starts.

It seems like the team’s really relaxed and going into it with a lot of confidence. We’re coming off a couple good games here in the exhibitions, and everyone threw well and hit the ball well, so I really like the way we look right now. We’re loose and relaxed, and that’s the way I like the teams I’ve been on to be.

My individual preparation hasn’t been really been affected by the trip. It’s just been business as usual. I didn’t really get knocked off balance at all. We lost a day flying here, so on the calendar looks like I’ll be going on five full days of rest since I made my last start in Arizona, but because we lost that day it’s actually four, which is what I’m used to.

I’ve had my normal bullpens, my normal rest, my normal conditioning. Everything baseball-wise is familiar. The only difference is that we’re in Japan, and the mound here’s the same distance and the balls are the same that we always use, so I feel really good about tomorrow.

It’s going to be really exciting. I hope everyone back home checks it out. Y’all might have to get up early or stay up late, but it should be a great game.

16 Comments

Best of luck Big Joe! I work Graveyard so I will get to watch the game live. Sounds fun over there! Thanks for keeping us informed!

hi joe how ru doing? glad u and your wife are a great couple, nice to hear!!!! i am from boston joe and friends with one of the red sox!!! even though i am from boston, i am glad to know that there r some nice players like u on the oakland team. u seem to be a great guy by writing on this blog, takecare.

Hi Joe, Thank you for this blog. It’s nice to know what a MLB player does off the field and with his wife. Makes you guys seem almost like one of us, Well Except for the millions you guys make LOL. Anyways May you and all of the A’s have a great year, but mostly a healthy year. May the Lord Jesus be with you all <><

hi manfgod64 how ru doing? ur absolutely right, great to know some players in sports are like us, but have more money than us, joe is like a normal person but richer!!!! GODBLESS , joe and manfgod64!!! my name is joe too

JOE JOE JOE,

Welcome to Japan! Pricey is an understatement. Everything here is like that! Especially with the Yen rate as low as it is. I don’t know who is more excited, you or me!? All you OAKTOWN A’s Fans, you will be represented! Grew up in San Jose, now serving in the Air Force and I will be there with a couple of friends! In your first blog you talked about the silence, you will hear us! We are closer to the dugouts tomorrow….LET’S GO OAK-LAND!!!! I’ll be surrounded by Red Sox fan’s, but hey, I’m an Oakland Fan, I think I can take ‘em, ALL! Bring IT! ‘Cause I know my A’s will!!!!

i want everyone to please note, in japan the count will be strike/ball not ball/strike, so if count is 3 balls 2 strikes in states it will be on tv from japan as 2 strikes, 3 balls

Hi Joe. Just wanted to congratulate you on getting the Opening Day start and wish you all the best. Thanks for the blog, I’ve really enjoyed it. I’ll tune it at 5 AM CST and try to stay awake. The A’s have been terrific all spring so let’s carry that into the season and beat the BoSox. Lets Go Oak-Land!!!!!

Hey Joe,

Grandma and I will be watching at 3am our time tomorrow on the Duece. we’ve got the peanuts and seeds ready. Good luck bro and show those Red Sox what you are made of. We are pulling for you!

Joe,
Good luck tonight. I’ll be there with Sam tonight and my two kids. We will be the only A’s fans in a crowd of Sox fans but you WILL hear us. We’re pumped up to be out there watching you live even though we’re across the Pacific. My kids made thier A’s signs last night and are excited to try to get a few guys to sign them. Well, again, best of luck tonight and the rest of the season. Thanks for making the trip!

JOE,good luck,make us proud!HUGE fans here in vegas-grew up in Rudis roost(left field bleachers)we will be watching-heck we dont sleep in vegas anyhow-thanx for the blog-loved it.

Go get em’ Joe :)

Good luck tonight, Joe! I have finals this week, so i’ll be up studying.. Hope you guys beat the sox!

Oh well, we did good and it was a great game. A treat for us service memebers who are in Japan. I know that is not who it was meant for, but we enjoyed watching MLB influence the nation of Japan…and **** when Okajima was announced if we didn’t see how much the Japanese fan loves thier players playing in MLB! Did I mention I REALLY don’t like the RED SOX!!! We done did good!<—that’s some Tennessee for you Joe!

$200 for a meal?…*****, they just lost their right to sell the High Life is what they did.
Frustrating game today, hopefully you guys get the win tomorrow. Better luck in the home opener Joe, thanks for doing this blog!

You did a good job Joe. Me an (Tennesse speaking) Sam were losing our voices by the second inning. I hope you were at least able to hear us! This is your season Joe and if last night was any preview of what you will look like for the rest of the season…watch out league!

Nice outing, Joe. There were a bunch of us A’s fans in the first deck behind the third-base dugout. Hope you heard us cheer you along!

What is it, though, about Oakland players and base-running? Is Emil Brown the new Jeremy Giambi?

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