The famous Route 66 makes an unusual pitstop in 2020.
Beer, bands and baseball are all central to the experience of the Flashback Cafe in Yokohama, Japan where the bright red neon sign greets you as you enter.
In 2020, Olympic baseball and softball bats will swing just steps out the front door at Yokohama Park, a 30-thousand seat sports arena where local fans convene even though their team “needs some improvement,” according to a fan inside Flashback. On the night I stopped by, the DeNA Baystars were being clobbered 11-0. They managed one over the fence while I watched. Both Yokohama and Fukushima will host baseball and softball events in 2020 with Yokohama as the main venue. (OLYMPIC VENUE MAP)
Ken (no last name needed here) is the owner. He’s kind of like “Norm” of Cheers fame – everyone knows his name here. They should. He’s been in Yokohama for 38 years. At one time, he owned several bars in the city but sold them to employees in recent years. Now, he’s behind the bar (and serving tables) at the Flashback Cafe most every day and night.
You know you’re at a good place when the owner of the pub gets your beer then pulls up a chair and starts to talk. He steps away occasionally to serve other customers but keeps coming back to talk about his bar and his loves – his wife and his collectibles. I am truly not sure which comes first in the order of love for Ken.
Ken lights up when talking about California. He says he and his wife of 25 years had traveled to California four times a year for 20 years. His favorite places in California? Napa and Sonoma! The two traveled by tour bus often from San Francisco. Now, Ken says he’s just too busy with so little help in his bar to travel much. With travel and his work, he says he and his wife just never took time to have children.
Ken is proud of the music memorabilia in his cafe. Two of his most prized possessions: a guitar signed by 9 music legends including B.B. King AND a very rare Black Sabbath collectible which he says is one of only eight remaining. The entire cafe is adorned with 60’s and 70’s music memorabilia. If you talk with Ken for more than a minute, you will see he beams with pride for everything he’s collected. “I’m not rich at all but my collectibles are worth a lot of me,” he said several times.
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Social media reviews of the food and atmosphere at Flashback Cafe is mostly positive and probably what Ken would expect.
From TripAdvisor, “I found myself with some time to kill while waiting to board a cruise ship and came upon this place, It’s quite close to the terminal couldn’t believe my eyes when I walked in loads of memorabilia from the 60’s & 70’s music scene even playing old videos on the TV, The staff were very attentive food choice is what you would expect it this type of place I really enjoyed the nostalgic atmosphere and the food was plentiful and good I would make this a definite stop next time i find myself in Yokohama.
From Yelp. “If you are in Yokohama, Japan and want a good burger this is the place. Their Yokohama burger is on point add Blue Moon for a little extra goodness!”
OLYMPIC BASEBALL AND SOFTBALL – WHAT TO KNOW
- Yokohama Stadium: It is the home stadium of Yokohama F. Marinos of the J1 League.
- Yokohama Stadium will be one of the venues for the 2019 Rugby World Cup.
- Portrait engravings of Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig are respectively placed by the left and right stand poles in commemoration that great major league baseball players such as Ruth and Gehrig played here.
- If you go to the Olympics, the closest rail station is Kannai Station: JR Keihin Tohoku Negishi Line / Municipal Subway Line. Trains are preferred here over cabs and cars.
- If you go to the Olympics, consider the price. Follow all the details on the official website. According to Japan’s Nikkei Shimbun newspaper, tickets for the opening ceremony will range from Y25,000 to Y150,000 (about US$220 to US$1330). Average ticket prices for events will be around Y7000 (about US$60) and a significant percentage of tickets will cost less than Y5000 (about US$44).
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OLMYPIC BASEBALL MEDAL RACE
The Venue Master Plan
Innovation will be important even for the medals.
Truly an Olympics of the future.
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