Hanshin Tigers Tidbit

One of the more interesting stories concerning the Hanshin Tigers victory this year (so far they have won the Central League chamionships and will play for the Japan Series title later this month) is one I overheard at work. Apparently, this story was seen on TV, reported by TV star Sonomama Higashi, and regards the victory jumps into the Dotombori river by rabid Hanshin fans in Osaka when they won the Central League title.
As you may already know, there was one fatality among the jumpers, a guy who was pushed into the river and died of shock/drowning. There were several injuries as well, not the least common of which can be attributed to the fact that the Dotombori River is notoriously polluted and the water is very probably harmful if swallowed. The river has been polluted by upstream manufacturing for centuries, and is a sluggish, murky cesspool even during the brightest hours of the day.
For some reason, it has always attracted idiots who jump into it to celebrate something, or more commonly, to reaffirm manhood. In a very typical digression I must mention here that I had a classmate at university named Asada (as in Carne) whose hobby it was to strip down butt-nekkid, wrestle with bystanders and the police who oversee the bridge in question (Ebisu-bashi AKA Nampa-bashi due to the pick-up artists who hang out there), then jump into the river to “escape”. He was arrested multiple times for this stunt, and had friends videotape these escapades. I remember seeing one of these tapes; maybe Dave still has a copy…
Unless you read Japanese, you may not be aware that there was plan launched by the fan of a rival team to harm Hanshin fans, in anticipation of the Hanshin win and the celebratory river-jumping. Apparently, he released some piranhas and a small alligator into the the river, near the bridge the night before. The punchline is that the piranhas quickly perished and floated up to the surface, and the alligator immediately swam to the other bank and escaped. And the next day, hundreds of Hanshin fans willingly dunked themselves in the same water.
When people say Hanshin fans are crazy, this may be the kind of thing they are talking about.
P.S. My first year in Japan I also wanted to jump into the river because I never saw anybody doing it and it was a hot summer day. My friend said if I touched that water, he wouldn’t let me ride in the car, so I refrained. Heh.

2 thoughts on “Hanshin Tigers Tidbit”

  1. …My first year in Japan I also wanted to jump into the river because I never saw anybody doing it and it was a hot summer day. My friend said if I touched that water, he wouldn’t let me ride in the car, so I refrained…
    I think its funny that if something is new, then there is an urge to do it even if it is really stupid. I know you and I are both affected by this type of urge on occasions.
    But these people should know better. They are Japanese and most of them know of the sewer-like state of the river and have heard of people jumping into it. Their motivation is the more dangerous, contagious, and perhaps more stupid. This is a clear example of groupthink. High School stunts, the Japanese (and others to be fair) educational system, and Nazi Germany all share this reason for getting people to do stupid things without thinking about them. I like to think that I am free from the grasps of groupthink, but can’t really say if I am. One thing is for sure though- When everyone else jumps into a big body of liquidized sanitation, after our favorite sports team wins an important game, I will order a pizza, pop open a beer to celebrate, and reflect how nice it is to not smell like shit and to not contract hepatitis with everyone else.

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