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Do you know Oyashiro-sama? Yes, Hinomizu wa.

July 22, 2009

Man, izakayas are crazy!

I got out of class early (actually, class was running late) a few minutes before 6:00 and ran downstairs to join Willy.  I felt a little bad leaving class because it’s my Japanese cinema class and we were watching our first movie.  It’s called Swallowtail and it’s really interesting!  It’s built upon the story of the bubble economy that burst in Japan in the mid-90s.More...It’s all about this place called Yentown and the people who inhabit it (who, incidentally, are called Yentowns).  These people are the foreign people who came to Japan to make money.  They are portrayed as money-crazed savages who will do anything to get more yen.  Well, that’s how the Japanese see them anyway.  As the movie progresses you begin to see a broader picture and the Yentowns seem like they’re actually more human than the Japanese businessmen who look down upon them.  Anyway, there are some very interesting portrayals of gaijin from all sorts of countries and it’s pretty funny to see the typical stereotypes of Japan popping up.  There is a big black man who used to be a boxer and he’s a happy-go-lucky guy with the countenance and intelligence of a labrador retriever.  He talks like Mr. T.  There’s the Chinese girl who is a street walker and easily manipulates men.  There are several white guys who walk around aggressively and play their guitars.  Anyway, I’m not sure it’s a great movie (well done, yes) but it’s really interesting.  I’m going to have to finish it sometime.  Several other people left about the same time I did so I felt a little better about that.  They had to get off to meet their Home Visit families.

Yeah, so let’s talk about izakayas!  Willy and I arrived a few minutes after 6:00 and we couldn’t see Ryosuke and his friends inside.  Figuring that there might be some sort of back room, we went in to ask if they were already there.  Sure enough, we were led into the back and there they were.  It’s a really cool setup with long, low tables surrounded by benches with flat pillows on top.  The floor under the table is sunken so you can put your feet down there if you want (much more comfortable then folded underneath you, Japanese style).  There were two guys and four girls with Ryosuke.  We had a really great time talking and eating and there was a lot more laughing the further we got into the festivities.  The servers just keep bringing tray after tray of food.  Most of it was chicken and I had no idea there were so many different ways of cooking chicken!  It all comes on party platters and everyone just grabs bits and pieces of what they want.  You can also order drinks whenever you feel like it.  I had imo jouchu (Japanese potato liquor), nihon-shu (hot sake), beer, umeshu (pickled plum wine), another kind of shochu (with rice), and some more nihon-shu (hot sake).  Ryosuke was very impressed that I was so “strong.”  Partway through the festivities, a young boy and his two friends showed up and began hanging out with us.  Ryosuke really likes kids and wants to be a teacher some day (teaching English) and he was really good with talking with these kids.  It was really fun to watch.  Japanese kids are so cute.  They are totally unreserved!  It’s really funny considering how serious they’ll become when they are adults.  The boy was convinced that Kouhei (one of Ryosuke’s friends) was actually Korean and was just pretending to be Japanese.  Anyway, we had a really great time with the kids there and the poor mother kept coming and apologizing for him and leading him away and then he would be back again after a few minutes.

After the izakaya, many of the group left but six of us stayed together and went out for karaoke.  It was so great!  Some of the songs I sang were Romance by Penicillin, a song by Asian Kung-fu Generation that I can’t remember the title of, Agony by Kotoko, and Tomorrow by Mikuni Shimokawa.  I struggled with parts of a few of the songs because they’re really fast and I was having trouble keeping up with reading the Japanese.  It was a total blast and we ended up singing many songs together.  Out of all of us I think Kouhei was the best singer.  He has a really sweet tenor voice and he sang We Are The World by “America for Africa”.  Willy and I sang Don’t Worry, Be Happy by Bobby McFerrin and the rest joined us for the whistling.

It was a really great night and I didn’t get home until 1:30 in the morning.  Luckily, I didn’t have class until 11:00 this morning so I was able to sleep in a bit.  Ceramics was really great today and we finally got to start using the wheel!  I was so excited!  It’s really fun and I love the feel of the clay sliding by under my palms.  I just worked the clay up and down from tall cone to short cone for two hours and I don’t know if I got any better at it but it was quite enjoyable.  My sensei makes everything look so easy but when I try it either nothing happens or I destroy my work.  Hehehe, I have a new appreciation for just how difficult it really is!

I cooked dinner tonight and it worked out much better this time.  I made an egg and mushroom omelette and was able to grab a few dashes of spices from someone else who was cooking a delicious-smelling meal right next to me.  The mushrooms taste a lot better when they’ve been cooked!  By the way, I’ve discovered peanut butter here!  It’s really expensive though so I’m going to hold off for awhile but nobody needs to send me an emergency package.

I have some crazy plans for tomorrow but they’re going to remain secret for now.

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