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:
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!
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.
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:
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.