Project: Japanese Baseball

In 2007, when I was a junior in college trying to figure out what I was doing next in life, I applied for Rice University’s Goliard scholarship. I like to describe this scholarship as “funding for travel you’d never get a chance to do otherwise.” I had decided I wanted to go watch baseball in Japan. I wanted to photograph games, because I was thinking about going to graduate school for photojournalism. I love baseball, and I wanted to see what the game was like in another country.

My proposal (you can read it here) was accepted. I spent two weeks traveling solo throughout Japan, taking¬†trains from Tokyo to Sapporo to Fukuoka, and going to baseball games all along the way. In total, I went to seven baseball games at six stadiums. The game, of course, is the same everywhere. What’s different is the stadium atmosphere.

I had never studied photojournalism before; it’s safe to say I didn’t really know what I was doing. My camera display cracked on my first day in Japan, so I couldn’t see how to adjust my exposures. I took photos of things I thought were interesting or evocative of the entire Japanese baseball experience, and hoped that they would come out okay.

Ultimately, the trip worked. It was the push I needed to dive head-on into journalism. I wanted to go out into the world–whether it was my own neighborhood or one across the globe–and find more stories.

This gallery is an edit of the crowd scene at each of the ballparks I went to. From balloon releases to cheerleaders to smoking rooms within the stadium- it’s a slice of the baseball life in Japan. Play ball.