6/26/2010

Japan 2010: Day 9

Day 9 in Japan was another day in which I was able to lounge around a bit.

I ran out of toothpaste so I decided to walk down to B&D, a local drugstore, in the light rain to buy some and pick up some souvenir snacks as well. On the way back I, by chance, walked through the Okazaki Civic Center outdoor walkway and, upon seeing the library within, thought that maybe I'd kill some time there.

I entered only to find Matsubara-san, a kindly older lady whom I met at Kurashi no Gakkou (暮らしの学校) during my original stay in Japan, sitting right near the entrance. I was hoping to see her while in Japan, but I had no idea how to reach her and had pretty much given up on the idea, so this was really lucky.

She was overjoyed to see me and probably three times as shocked as I was. She immediately invited me to tea at the cafe in the Civic Center, where we caught up for about thirty minutes. She just couldn't stop going on about how our meeting was like a dream and how glad she was that was could meet. It really was quite ぐうぜん to meet like that.

She invited me to write a message in her notebook, so I found an empty spot and did just so (in Japanese). She was impressed that I didn't have one mistake in my message (which I was glad to hear—I even threw in some keigo for her) and asked me to write something in English and sign my name as well.

After taking a photo together, I had to head out for a lunch appointment with someone, so I bid her a thankful adieu and headed back out into in the rain. I deposited my B&D goods at the hotel and then walked to Yamasa to meet my lunch partner, a buddy from the old days I always wanted to spend more time with. We dined at Kitsutsuki, the on-campus cafe. I was surprised that the ladies that run the place remembered me, but indeed they did. Lunch was delicious and the conversation, most enjoyable.

As I my lunch partner and I left, I saw one of the two fellows that I met the other day at W-san's house sitting in the cafe, so I after seeing off my friend, I returned and chatted a while with him and the other fellow, who'd come in my absence. These are guys with whom I share a similar view of Japan and ended up exchanging stories and whatnot for at least 30 minutes. I even went a little senpai on them and offered some advice regarding studying Japanese and places to visit in Okazaki. Great guys that I'm sure I'll keep in touch with.

As I mentioned before, they are SILAC (short-term) students and they said that they impressed that I did the whole two years. Funny thing is, they asked if anyone else had done that. I'd never even though about that before. I don't. To the best of my knowledge, I'm the only one of my Yamasa generation (the Greatest Generation™) that went the whole two years. (Neo came close, though.) Maybe that just shows my insanity, but still, I guess that is kind of cool, objectively speaking.

After a while, we all parted ways and I found myself wandering about my old Hane-higashi (羽根東町) neighborhood for a while. I went by Seiyu for a while and bought some souvenirs. Once I left there, I decided to see if Hane Shokudou (羽根食堂), right down the street, was still there. It was indeed, so I went in for a quick bite for old times' sake. Delicious. I pretty much had the place to myself as well.

That evening, I went to Nagoya to meet a few folks. The first was my old classmate Andy, so just happened to be attending a goodbye party for an acquaintance that I (just happen to) know. Unfortunately, though, the location of the get-together was quite tough to find (I later heard), a situation exacerbated by the fact that I rushed out of the hotel to catch my train without taking any information with me. I ended up walking the streets for an hour in the rain looking for the blasted place but to no avail. Sorry, Andy!

I was, however, able to meet up with someone else, the friend that I'd be traveling to Kanazawa with the very next day. I met my friend on the street and she guided me to the restaurant and introduced me to her co-worker, with whom we'd be having dinner.

After walking around in the rain for an hour, I wet, tired, and a bit grumpy—and nothing hurts my Japanese ability more than being tired—so I was worried about how it would go, but it went quite swimmingly. My friend's friend is a blast. I guess I made a good impression because, by the end of the night, she was telling me (in quite good English) that I was very interesting and funny. I like the way she thinks! (Har!)

When we left the restaurant and were walking down the rainy street, I ran into no other than Aritaki-sensei! Yet another lucky meeting! I called out to her and, yeah, she was about as shocked as you could imagine. We chatted briefly and took a photo together before parting ways. That was awesome. A great bonus for the evening.

Anyway, I found myself back at my hotel for the last time that evening. The next evening would be spent in Kanazawa!

No comments