火曜日, 8月 31, 2010

Another Exercise in Amazing

As promised, the continuation of my previous blog. That means this will appear on the top, but chronologically it's later.

Friday, August 27th
I worked the late shift at the International Center, 1-9 and the first awesome event of the day was when i wandered over to convenience store to buy something for dinner. I didn't know what to get until I saw this:
That's right. BECK Tonkotsu Ramen! You KNOW I had to get it!
Alright, so it isn't really "Beck" name brand, it was just a promotion for movie coming out this month in Japan called BECK, based on a great manga about some Japanese kids who want to form a rock band.
If you don't understand why the Tonkotsu Ramen part is significant, maybe scroll down and read my last entry?
It was good, and it smelled great, but ultimately, instant ramen is instant ramen and that means it met the threshold of it's design. Still I might try it another time.
Anyway, after dinner and finishing closing up the International center, I rode my bike home, got changed, and went out to Itto-Nyushin, a monthly event at a two-story club in Hiroshima City called Mugen (means: infinity). Perhaps this is a sign of how spoiled Hiroshima has made me, but when my friends who didn't go asked me how the event was I answered honestly "It was okay". Looking back, it was much more than ok. Not only was the club two stories, with DJs spinning on the first floor, live music and performances on the second floor, and people around the edges of the room getting tattooed; I didn't have to pay the 1000 yen (about $12) entry fee because my friend, and 2UP bar owner, Taka gave me a free invite ticket! He asked me to come early, and for the first half hour I was regretting that, because he was pretty much the only person I knew there and was constantly leaving to help out the workers, but then Andre came out and started fire twirling!
That and a drink got me feeling good and just then some Japanese friends showed up and great Japanese metal band took the stage and started rocking!

That plus a healthy mosh pit got the second floor heated up in a now-I'm-sweaty, literal way, so we checked out the first floor and the DJs were spinning some cool techno that changed later on in the evening to remixed reggae and later on, house. If you don't know what I mean, just think "techno" and that will suffice for imagination's sake. =P

Back upstairs the singing and dancing continued, more of my friends showed up, some really bad "artists" took the stage and we retreated back to the first floor. They ate curry, which for some reason was for sale in the lounge area of the club, and we kept on for another couple hours going back and forth between floors. At the end of the evening (or at least before I got too tired to stay out any more) I started chatting with one of the tattoo artists who turned out to be fluent in English from spending something like 8 of his 20 year career in NYC! He and his girl friend were really nice and after chatting over drinks for an hour or so we traded contact info, and vowed to meet again. So I made a cool new friend and, feeling satisfied, walked home. The friends who ate curry tried to get me to eat more ramen on the way home, but I managed to avoid eating straight before bed. They swear by how good the place they went was, but it wasn't tonkotsu. If it was... i probably couldn't have resisted.

Okay, so Saturday, August 28th:
I woke up late in the day and had a slow morning. Did some laundry, washed some dishes, went to the chiropractor, and dressed like a pirate. Yes, a pirate. Why? Because then I got on a train to Onomichi, and took the bus with about 10 other friends to the island of Innoshima for the Suigun Festival! This is usually translated by locals as the "Pirate Festival" but in reality there's nothing piratey about it, except boats, and old-old-fashioned rifles. The term suigun (pronounced sue-y-goon) refers to the pre-naval samurai in the area who rode boats, not horses. and protected the area. Not knowing this, some years before I ever went, some of the ALTs started a tradition of going dressed like a pirate, and I was happy to oblige.
We met up with another 15 or so JETs and watched the samurai fire their rifles at the ocean and lots of dance and traditional taiko groups came out to show off and entertain too. After eating some amazing steak from a food stall, and having an old guy thrust a mini-beer (half-sized can) in my hand, a Japanese friend of someone in our group came over and asked if 5 of us would like to volunteer to help carry torches on the boat to which I said "uhhh, HELL YEAH!" We sat on the boats with our kerosene soaked towels wrapped around long thick wooden rods, and when it was finally time, we rowed out into the ocean and lit them, circled around a few times, pulled up on the beach in the middle of the performance area, stormed the beach and then waited patiently while an old guy explained everyone should shout "Ay Ay OH!" I shouted "Arrrrr".
We ran back onto the boats, swam in a few more circles and returned to our starting point and extinguished our torches, and I for one felt pretty bad-ass.

The night continued on with a fireworks show, I brought my uke and played some tunes, and challenged and lost to Tom and Bob at our second annual shove match on the beach (it's a real game that is much less brutal than it sounds), and then it was time to get on the free shuttle buses back to the shore. Our groups split off into smaller splinter cells of people who live far away, or were tired, but I stayed with some of the Saijo group and we drank a round at a semi-American style bar and restaurant after giving up on finding somewhere to drink in Sajo's sleepy, subdued red-light district. I crashed with a few friends at my buddy T-bone's (okay, his name is Dave) and after drinking some white wine and drawing pictures of bugs (more fun than you might think), we fell asleep, air-con: on.

Sunday, August 29th:
We woke up late and walked through town back to the train station. After saying my goodbyes, I took the train to Karuga Beach where Simon and other friends were BBQing and swimming.
I know at this point you must be thinking, "Is Greg alright? やり過ぎじゃないか。” And sometimes I ask myself the same thing, but the reality is, I had a great time. I wasn't pushing myself, I didn't drink that much Friday night or Sunday, and I brought my sunscreen to the beach, got in a good workout swimming and splashing around, and spent the entire day Monday relaxing and doing chores at home. Taka, the same guy who got me in to the event Friday night, showed up as we were winding down and hung out for a bit, and I took this picture with him appreciating the view:
(Taka's the one dressed like an L.A. gangsta) =P
So, food, fun, fireworks, friends, and fucking beautiful views. Japan definitely rocks, and I'm extremely lucky to have some of these experiences, and even more glad that after 4 years living here, they haven't lost their ability to amaze and impress me.

0 件のコメント: