6/22/2010

Japan 2010: Days 7 and 8

I still live. I've just fallen behind (and I can't get up!).

「赤井さーん どうしてそんなにおおきくなっちゃったんですかぁー」という引越社のCMがまだ放送されていることにびっくり!なんか嬉しい。〈笑〉

So, where were we? At the beginning of Day 7, I returned to Yamasa as promised to see the sensei and gakuseika folks that I'd missed the day before. Perhaps the best reaction came from Harada-sensei, who looked intently at me for a couple of seconds before a wave of recognition washed across her face and she exclaimed "お父様!" in surprise. After that, I went up to the gakuseika (or "customer service," if you will, which I won't) and chatted with everyone there for a while.

After leaving Yamasa, I was escorted by W-san (from Day 6) to a very nice restaurant named Kisoji (木曽路) at which we ate lunch with the group of ladies to whom I used to each English. The food was delicious and it was a treat to see them again. They talk a lot, so it was also intense listening practice.

I believe that I spent the next few hours resting in my hotel room.

That evening, I met with some of my best friends in Okazaki, the "Three Ladies." We were scheduled to meet at the hotel, see, and as I stood outside looking at the traffic, they came running up behind me yelling and group hugged me as I turned around. It was both hilarious and quite touching.

They took me to the very restaurant at which they all used to work years ago, a very nice Italian restaurant in an area of town I'd been to once or twice. (I was just fancy enough for me to be lost about how to do anything.) I was very surprised when they brought out a cake reading ジョンさん おかえりなさい ("Welcome back, Jon-san"). Man, they're great.

We stopped by the Book-Off near Aeon to see if they had any (落第乱太郎) (Rakudai Rantarou). I used to have the few first books, but I lost most of them in a shipping accident when I moved from Japan and have been wanting to replace them since. I have books 2 and 3 and I was able to pick up 7 and 8 there. Good stuff.

After dinner, karaoke! We sang for a couple of hours before calling it a night. Unfortunately, due to a scheduling conflict, I wouldn't be able to take the daytrip with them that we'd hoped would work out, so it was my final goodbye with them.

The next day, Day 8, I spent with my former language exchange partner, whom I'll call Hobby. She picked me up in the morning and off we went.

I'd forgotten how much fun it is hanging out with Hobby. Her English is quite good so we ended up going back and forth between Japanese and English all day.

The first place that we went was the new library that I'd heard had been built, Libra. It's actually very nice and a bit larger than I'd have expected. It even included in a jazz museum. (Hobby told me that Okazaki apparently is a city associated with jazz somehow, which I didn't know and makes the city even cooler.) We found a great little river behind the library, too, at which we sat and talked and played around for a while.

I think it was after that that we decided to grab some food at McDonald's. There's a very nice McDonald's near the Toys'R'Us in Okazaki and we decided to eat there. Unfortunately, it's in a bit of an odd place and, after we missed our turn, we spent no less than ten minutes driving around and making U-turns trying to get back. It was quite hilarious and I termed the phrase 地獄マック (McDonald's from Hell) for the store. However, despite that name, the actual restaurant is quite attractive on the inside. (Yes, I just used that word to describe a McDonald's.)

Once we finished eating lunch, we headed to what I believe was 東公園, East Park, to visit both the zoo (a little bit) and see the Japanese iris flowers (菖蒲) there. It was dreadfully hot that day but the flowers and surroundings were beautiful. (This marks the second time that I saw Fujiko the elephant at the zoo, but the poor thing looked pretty hot and bored this time around.)

We climbed the stairs back to the car and drove to another park (総合公園) that offers a fantastic view of Okazaki—the view I've been waiting years now to see again. There's more to that park but we've been there before, so we decided to spend our time elsewhere.

After the park visits, we cooled off at Denny's, only to find W-san sitting there with an acquaintance. We said hi to her and took our own table across the way. We only ordered drinks and were on our way again soon, so as Hobby paid (thanks!), I went to say goodbye to W-san.

After this, we went to Fukatsu with the intention to look at buying some used CDs only to find that it's now a non-music resale shop(!). Well, that's a shock. It's even all oranged-up now. Still, it looked interesting and so we browsed through it. Lots of interesting things in there. (I almost bought my friend Sharkbait a cheap Nintendo 64 to replace her broken one, but then I remembered the region-locking. Tsk.) I ended up buying myself a yukata, in which I look totally awesome. I would post a photo but I fear that the imminent flood of female users to the blog would overload Google's servers.

We were going to sing some karaoke after that, but Hobby didn't have the necessary membership card to get in and I didn't want to make her sign up for a new one just for sing for an hour or so, especially when I'd just gone the night before, so we called that off.

We went to Book-Off so that I could look for some more Rantarou, but unfortunately, they didn't have any, even though it was the same store at which I'd bought them from before. Dang. They did have a used Nintendo DSi for about $90 or so that I alllllmost bought. We later went to Wing-Town because Hobby remembered that they sold used gaming stuff too, but they were more expensive, so I decided that I'd just walk back to Book-Off from my hotel room if I decided to buy that DSi. (I promptly forgot about it.)

Anyway, it was getting late and Hobby had work the next day, so we headed back to the hotel and said our goodbyes and off she went. Upon entering my room, I remembered that I stored her souvenir, some chocolate, in my room and I had forgotten to give it to her. Fortunately, she was able to return to the hotel easily since she was still in the area and I was able to give it to her. Thanks, Hobby!

It was only seven or eight, but I was exhausted and got right into bed. After watching some TV, I conked out.

I was awoken around ten by my room phone. Apparently, I had a guest. When I went downstairs, it was none other than the Three Ladies coming to say hello and to drop off Rakudai Rantarou books 1, 4, 5, and 6—just the books that I needed. I was, as you can likely imagine, extremely touched by this gesture. (Now I've got 1 through 8!) Awesome friends I've got here.

The Ladies went home and, since I was awake, I decided to grab a quick dinner, since I'd been far too tired for one before. I headed to the nearby Family Mart convenience store, but as I walked, I heard live music flowing from the train station. I walked up the stairs to the station, where I saw a young man and woman performing. I received a flyer from them stating that their name was Mugen Orchestra (無限オーケストラ). I sat and listened to their last song and chatted with them briefly before heading to Family Mart to get some food.

I ate. I slept. That's all that happened after that.

And with that, another day came to an end.

1 comment

Brian said...

Thanks for sharing your recent experiences and adventures.