SENDAI – Tohoku baseball fans flocked to special sales at department stores and other shops Monday to celebrate the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles’ first Japan Series championship.
A day after the Eagles won the title in the club’s ninth year, about 1,000 people braved the rain to line up at the Mitsukoshi department store in Sendai, the biggest city in the region and home to the Eagles.
The event started with the splitting of a “kusudama” ball that released a congratulatory banner and colorful streamers.
“I hope that we will gain steam with the sale and it will lead to reconstruction from the Great East Japan Earthquake,” Nobu Momma, 52, said as he joined the line an hour before the store’s opening.
As part of the festivities, Mitsukoshi priced a ring decorated with a big star ruby and small diamonds at ¥10.01 million. The price was based on the given name of Eagles skipper Senichi Hoshino. Senichi sounds like “1,001” in Japanese, and 10.01 million can be read as “1,001-man.”
The regional Fujisaki Co. department store chain sold all of the “lucky bags” with mystery contents at its Sendai flagship in about 30 minutes.
Aeon Retail Co. launched celebratory sales at its six Tohoku stores, and Sendai Terminal Building K.K. at all five of its S-Pal shopping facilities in Sendai, Fukushima and other cities.
The outlets sold clothes, sundries and foodstuffs for flat discount rates based on the uniform numbers of Hoshino and ace right-hander Masahiro Tanaka.
The Eagles defeated the Yomiuri Giants 3-0 in Game 7 on Sunday. Hoshino took Rakuten’s helm just prior to the March 11 disasters, which flooded Sendai’s airport.