It was business as usual Friday afternoon at Tokyo Dome -- high school boys checking out baseball memorabilia at a store, mother-toddler pairs munching away at a fast food joint near the stadium gates.

When there is no game on, Tokyo Dome is as tranquil and sleepy as any public park on a weekday.

But tension is definitely mounting ahead of the Major League Baseball season-opener, which takes place in Tokyo next week and features a full cast of star players, including Hideki Matsui of the New York Yankees.