New Years, snow, and fireman parties
Date: Feb 5th, 2008 8:12:52 pm - Subscribe
Mood: pensive

So finals are over for us SILS students in lovely, freezing, Japan. Its been snowing on and off here in Tokyo for the last couple of days to the amazement of my okaasan, and while I hate the cold (my body refuses to retain anything resembling heat), I absolutely love the snow. The usual crew and I met up at Baba to play in it the other day. By play in it I mean we found a nice coffee shop to sip hot liquids and watch the snow outside.
Recently our group has claimed a nice out-of-the-way café called Café Rapport as our own little greaser malt shop (greased lightening rarely makes an appearance). Maddy dubbed it the Beatles Café since, in an effort to be international, they played Beatles music nonstop the first few times we visited. It has now become the BC.

After our delicious coffee at the BC we trooped to a nearby billiards hall and proceeded to suck royally at pool. What’s interesting is we all sucked in distinctly different ways; which I emphasized on the chalkboard where we tallied scores. Maddy was the Shark due to her number of victories: 0. David was Mr. Smash, later Mr. Angry Smash, due to his strategy of violent aggression; a ball actually flew off the table at one point. Ken was The Scratch King due to his astonishing ability to scratch, especially after a declaration against such action. I was The Accomplished Scratcher due to my consistent scratching while sinking desired shots. Kevin and I were paired at the end as The Incompatibles because whenever we interacted during any game we were immediately incapable of sinking any shot.

In a recent conversation with Clay and Ken, in which many philosophical questions were discussed and never answered, I brought up the impulse in us all referred to as The God Complex. For those of you who don’t know, it’s a colloquial term used to portray a person who acts so arrogantly that he or she might as well believe he or she is a god. It is also the only reason I think I would ever have children. I explained to the guys that this complex pops up sometimes when I’m at my job (I am currently tutoring a middle aged couple in English). I find myself inappropriately tempted to insert flaws into their English learning. Like, instructing them to pronounce the ‘g’ in words like reign (resulting in ‘re-gin’). It’s a method of immortality really; their speech forever marked by my teaching. I’m always successful in resisting this impulse of course, especially since the couple I teach is so nice and friendly. However, they have a bad habit of keeping me over the two-hour mark. They did it again this last weekend when I was feeling particularly exhausted, so I knocked their CD rack over in a fit of rage.

Even though it’s a tad dated at this point Ill relate what happened the week after our return from the Kyoto trip. First, the Japanese New Year. This is basically their Christmas, so they eat a lot of food, have loads of people over, and engage in smaller celebrations for the following week on specific days. The food was absolutely amazing, but I didn’t know most of the people that came on New Years day.

Following that was week of sickness which I wont go into other than to say that it sucked and its over now. Classes started back up and my life became busy as finals charged around the corner. But there was an amazing weekend where Maddy invited us to her host father’s fireman party. He and a bunch of other firemen and their families greeted us at this cool restaurant in…I forget where…far from where I live basically. The food was great, the families were super nice, and we were able to practice Japanese all night. A good time was had by all; especially when we all went to karaoke afterwards. Firemen sure can put away a lot of booze. However, when the nice 40 something Japanese fireman who spoke pretty good English and was delighted by American culture tried to get Clay and I home via a shortcut, he instead forgot that the trains stopped running earlier for his chosen line. So while Clay was able to get relatively close to his home, I was stranded far from home and looking at a taxi bill that had me seriously considering walking. But, the fireman felt terrible over his mistake, and offered to put me up for the night at his home with his family. And, since I am in Japan to experience new things and meet interesting people I agreed and reassured him that it would be fine and that I would email my okaasan to let her know I wouldn’t be home.

His house turned out to be a menagerie rivaling farms back in America. His wife, who was also his high school sweet heart (they’ve been together for over 20 years!), greeted us at the door, and while they offered me glasses of wine I took in the living room. The walls where lined and stacked with tanks of fish, snakes, lizards, mice, hamsters, and various other small furrys and long scalies. In the center of the room was their ferret cage, which didn’t smell by the way, and at one point I looked to my immediate left and their was a foot and half in diameter turtle sitting in what looked like a modified catbox.

He also had three dogs, one of which was a Burmese Mountain Dog. Seriously though look this dog up, its HUGE. His sons were upstairs with some friends playing video games, but they did come down occasionally and took the sight of a strange foreigner sitting in their living room with relative ease. I cant even describe how nice this family was to me. They set me up in one of their sons bedrooms, gave me sleeping clothes, a toothbrush, let me use their shower and toiletries, took me out to breakfast the next morning, and even drove me home. I got to practice Japanese while he practiced his English, which was really quite good. I cant wait to meet up with him again this Friday for the Fireman Nomikai (the fireman party where there is a booze buffet basically). I’m especially looking forward to the “young firemen” that he said would be coming this time.

Well my study group is trailing in now, so I should get to work. But, Ill be better about updating now that spring break has started.

Ja matta!


Comments: (1)

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anonymous - February 12th, 2008
Sounds like everything is going better-than-well in Japan (well, besides the sickness).

You have to let us know how the nomikai goes! The fireman and his family was an interesting story!

What is this so-called Beatles Cafe near?

Good to see another entry!


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