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.
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.