Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Shinjuku and Monday Night Enkai

Lately I’ve been tired a lot. I need to start getting some more sleep or something. Also I’ve felt pretty lazy about updating a lot but I’m going to try to make sure I at least update once a week. This one will be long because a lot has happened over the past 3 days.

This past weekend I went to Tokyo again. This time I went with a lot of people. I went with Matt, his Girlfriend, Oliver, Adrian, Kristine, Graham, Becky, and Em (who I just met). The plan was to go to Shinjuku - check into our hostel, eat at a crazy restaurant and go clubbing.

I met with Matt at the station where most people were supposed to meet but it turns out it was just Matt and me. Everyone else had gone to Tokyo earlier than Matt planned. We met Adrian after connecting to Oyama. We had to get off the train and wait for a later one to meet with Adrian. While waiting I got some ice cream, and felt adventurous so I got Green tea with Black Honey flavor. It wasn’t horrible, but it wasn’t great.

Once we got to Tokyo we checked in and then we made our way to Shibuya which is where the restaurant was. The restaurant’s theme was a prison hospital. It was called Alcatraz ER. Cool theme but very wacky. The food was ok, but of course pricey because it was a themed restaurant. All the waiters and waitresses are dressed as doctors/surgeons and nurses. Mid meal the alarm went off and these people dressed as loonies came out. They had masks on and were going nuts. One came into our room (cell) and hit me in the head with a blow up hammer haha. It was pretty fun, and good for at least the experience.

After finishing at the restaurant we went toward the bus stop that was supposed to take us to Ageha (the biggest club in Tokyo). Once we finally found it, Kristine had realized she didn’t have her ID which you need to get onto the bus that takes you to Ageha. So we weren’t going to leave her so we decided instead to go to Shinjuku Ni-Chome.

Unfortunately for me Ni-Chome is the gay district of Tokyo. Arty Farty is the bar/club we went to. I’ve been there before and last time I went there it was a lot of fun, but I think that’s because of the group I went with. This time wasn’t so much fun because it was so crowded and I wasn’t in the mood to try and find space on the dance floor. I’m not homophobic, and honestly even if it was a straight bar and it was that crowded I wouldn’t have liked it. I would of much rather gone to Ageha because I think it would have been more fun, and I know for a fact there would have been more space lol, but its ok I still had a decent time.

After Arty we wandered around and stopped in another bar, then ended up at a Curry Place, where we ate and some of us slept.

From there we took taxis back to the hostel which had a weird curfew of 2:00 -4:30am. We got back at like 4:00 but couldn’t get back in until 4:30, so we waited outside. Here's a picture of my "room" its a capsule hostel.

The next day we woke up, showered and headed for Harajuku for some shopping. On the way we passed by Akasaka - it threw me into a jumble of emotions because I haven't been back there since I've been in Japan. I miss those days so much.

In Harajuku there was a Halloween festival there. We split up and some of us got brunch and the others got all you can eat (which here is called Viking) at a place called Shakey’s. I ended up choosing the pizza because there aren’t many chances for all you can eat pizza in Japan haha. The price was cheap too, and they had other stuff like salads, fruit, curry, and pasta – definitely worth it.

I found Luke's best Japanese Friend.

While in Harajuku I bought the toy called Mugen Edamame which means Endless (Infinity) Edamame (Soy bean). Basically it’s a retarded toy that mimics a Soy bean and you can pop the beans out over and over again. Why Japanese people love this I have no idea, but because its so ridiculous I bought it. I also decided to buy a Naruto Shirt because I don’t really ever treat myself to anything and I felt like doing it. I think soon I’m going to buy a DS (with a Kanji Dictionary game) or an Electronic Dictionary, because it would make life so much easier. The thing is I want to do some research first because they run about 200 dollars.

I get paid again on the 10th next month which is pretty soon and I haven’t spent much of my first pay check. The next paycheck is supposed to be a bit more than the first because of all the expenses they took out, which is good. I still wish I got paid as much as the JETs (another English teaching program). I think they get roughly 700 more dollars per month than us which really can add up.

Yesterday I taught at Funatsugawa (the smallest elementary in Sano). It was pretty fun, I made a mask with the 3rd/4th graders (more of a hat) but I liked the way it came out hah. Last night (Monday night) I was invited by the Principal to come drinking with him and the 5th/6th grade teacher Mr. Yamaguchi. It was crazy. We ate, drank, and talked we pretty much talked the entire time in Japanese for 3 hours. After some time had passed the Principal got pretty drunk and started giving me the close talk and I’ve only known him for 2 months and I’ve only been to Funatsugawa maybe 4 or 5 times.

We talked about why I came to Japan, about our lives, if they had kids, what my interests were, about the kids at Funatsugawa, if I liked my job as an ALT, and so on. He said that since Funatsugawa is so small everyone there is like family. He said he hopes all of his students at Funatsugawa’s dreams come true. I agreed and said that they should always do their best and if they do they will achieve their dreams. He said he hoped my dreams come true too. He also said I should marry a Japanese woman and live in Sano haha. They even said a couple jokes that I actually understood. After it all, the Principal treated me, which was super kind of him, because we ate a ton.

I was surprised at how much sake they could drink, they were pros. It was a Monday night and I only drank a few beers but they were pounding the Sake. I asked if they ever get hangovers and the principal said no we’re both veterans haha. The principal also tried to tell me a story about how drinking sake alone is the best. I don’t know if it was his opinion or if it was because of a poem or Japanese people in general feel that way. From what I understood he was saying just being alone hearing the crickets chirp on an autumn night and reflecting on your thoughts sometimes is good (or the best). Apparently it is romantic or cool for guys to be alone drinking sake? Seems a little weird but I think it’s a cultural thing.

Since I told him I want to learn about Japanese culture he was trying to teach me stuff. He also wanted me to eat this paper sheet of fish, but I definitely wasn’t drunk enough to try it. I just didn’t want to gag or something if I ate it because that’d be rude Hahah.

It was a really good experience and I really wish I would have remembered to take pictures. I brought my camera but forgot to take pics and regret that. Next time I go out with them I won’t forget.

Today I’m going to Azuma to give the gifts to my students who participated in the English Speech contest. I hope they like everything.

It’s finally starting to get cold here and it’s almost November. The mornings and nights are chilly but it’s hot during the day. I wonder when I’ll have to turn my heat on?

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