Birthday and Baseball


Oh wow, it’s already March. I’m almost halfway through my student exchange. I feel like I’ve been here for much longer, though I don’t feel like going back home yet.

Last week was filled with action. On Thursday, me and my friends went to see the movie Black Panther after class, and on Friday we searched for birthday supplies for our friend’s birthday. We were distracted from our task a lot and ended up bringing home just a cake piece to give to her in the morning. Saturday morning we spent running around Nishijin’s bakeries trying to find a cake and candles. In the end, we got a plain cheesecake that we decorated with oranges and caramel pen. Our quest was filled with small obstacles and blunders, but we got her what she had asked for and she was happy, which was our goal. We also got good laughs. Note: if you want a certain kind of birthday cake, remember to order one three days prior.

My friend’s birthday cake
Hinamatsuri dessert I bought from a nearby convenience store

Saturday was also Hinamatsuri – girl’s day or doll’s day. On Hinamatsuri, families with daughters put dolls representing the emperor and the empress on display. The amount of dolls depends on the family, but there are up to seven platforms of dolls, where the emperor and the empress are what at least are on display. This tradition usually ends when the daughter turns 10.

At Dormy, we got a Hinamatsuri sweet as a dessert on Friday and there was a cloth on the wall representing several platforms of dolls. I bought different kinds of Hinamatsuri sweets from stores and even a small bear-shaped cake, which was delicious. We saw many beautiful Hinamatsuri cakes while birthday cake hunting, but we decided to get a cake without strawberries so they were out of question.

Hinamatsuri sweets


Fukuoka Yahuoku! Dome

On Sunday, I went to see a baseball game with a couple of friends. Baseball is the most popular sports in Japan and somewhat reminds me of the Finnish national sports pesäpallo (translates as nestball or baseball), which is why I’ve been interested to go see a game. Fortunately, as students we sometimes get free tickets to Fukuoka’s own Softbank Hawks’ games. The weather on Sunday was very nice, the sun was shining and it was warm. Waiting in line to get our tickets changed in a line that almost went around the whole Dome was not a problem as we got to enjoy the sun. Our seats were quite close to the field.

Fukuoka Softbank Hawks were playing against Hanshin Tigers. We were so excited when we saw the adorable hawk mascot family dance with the cheerleaders throughout the game. Some of them made flips around the field, while one of the mascots fell from time to time and even stood on his head at some point. The energy at the game was amazing. Whenever a Hawks’ player came to bat, an individual theme music played as he entered. There was also a fun minigame on the screen showing the rhythm to clap in as a rhythm a batter character swung balls on a field. There were also a cheer chant, flags and sometimes banners on the team’s fans’ side of the audience.

Fukuoka Softbank Hawks won the game 6-4. The victory seemed apparent when the last inning began. However, the Hanshin Tigers scored three points during the last inning and had us on the edge of our seats for a while. When the Hawks won, there were balloons released in the air and fireworks at the end. I am happy I went to see that particular game as my first one and I’m excited to see more games in the future.

Fukuoka Softbank Hawks vs Hanshin Tigers

After the game I headed to Tojinmachi station to meet up with my other friends and we went to see plum flowers in Hakata. There were many beautiful trees in bloom at Kushida shrine. We tried our luck with omikujis (fortunes) and I got a Very lucky yet again. We also saw many cats at the shrine.

Plum flowers at Kushida shrine
More flowers

There was thunder and very strong wind last night. I woke up several times because of the lightning. It’s been raining almost the whole day today. It’s a good day to stay inside and study for a 16 kanji test tomorrow morning.