The New Otani served as headquarters for both the A's and Boston Red Sox during their six-day stay in Tokyo and two-game series against each other, and Foulke bumped into many old friends from when he was Boston's closer from 2004-06.
In Tuesday's season opener, Foulke found himself in another familiar situation - on the mound in the late innings of a tight baseball game.
The 6-5 defeat didn't turn out the way the A's planned, but for Foulke it marked his official return to the game after sitting out all of 2007 in "retirement" due to a right elbow injury.
He delivered a 1-2-3 eighth inning Tuesday that carried a 4-3 Oakland lead into the ninth before Huston Street allowed a home run to tie the game.
Foulke, 35, has pitched nine-plus years in the big leagues and saved 190 games, but returning to the game after a year off carries with it plenty of unknowns.
"It was exciting (after) taking a year off and doing some different things," Foulke said. "But I tell you what, I was glad to get the first one out of the way. I'm excited to be back."
The A's second game against Boston got underway a few hours after press time, but regardless of that outcome, there's no denying Foulke's importance to the fortunes of Oakland's bullpen.
Foulke saved 43 games as the A's closer in 2003 before signing with Boston. He returns to the A's as a setup man, teaming with left-hander Alan Embree to give the A's a veteran combination in front of Street.
"It was awesome seeing him in uniform, seeing him compete again," Embree said. Foulke signed with the Cleveland Indians before the 2007 season, but announced his retirement that February when he began having elbow problems. He felt that was the right thing to do rather than sit on the disabled list collecting a paycheck and not knowing if he would ever pitch again.
He had surgery to shave down a bone spur in his elbow in September and threw for teams in the offseason. The A's inked him to a one-year deal for $700,000 with another $2.5 million possible in bonuses.
Foulke struggled in his four Cactus League outings, giving up a grand slam the day the A's left for Japan. He also missed the early portion of exhibition games with a right calf strain.
"I made some good pitches, but when I made bad pitches, they got hit," he said of his spring. Now he's focusing ahead on the rest of the regular season, which resumes for the A's on April 1 in Oakland against these same Red Sox. Foulke will forever remain an important note in that franchise's history, as he recorded the final out in 2004 to clinch the team's first World Series title since 1918.
Though he's now got a new set of teammates, Foulke enjoyed renewing acquaintances with Boston players. But he said the nostalgia goes away once the game begins.
"Once you're on the mound it's not strange, but walking around the hotel and seeing (old) teammates, sometimes you have to check the colors you're wearing," he said. "(But) I approach every hitter the same way."
Note: Fox Sports Net Bay Area will air an "A's in Japan" segment on Monday at 7 p.m. The program will feature clips and highlights from the team's entire trip.
Contact Joe Stiglich at firstname.lastname@example.org.
RED SOX 6, A'S 5
(Note: Wednesday's game began at 3 a.m. For results, go to ContraCostaTimes.com)