This past Sunday 😀
This was the second birthday I’ve spent in this country, and the two were wildly different! If anybody remembers my birthday last year, it was spent in my little retreat in the mountains with about 5 people who made the noble effort to come all the way out to the ends of the universe to hang out and drink in my room. Some Japanese guys brought an octopus, and we all had homemade takoyaki.
This year was totally different! It started with a trip to the local all-you-can-eat, all-you-can-drink yakiniku bar. Yakiniku is Japanese-style Korean barbeque, and it’s delicious. You sit at lowered tables with hot flaming grills embedded in the middle, and order plates of meat (or, if you’re so inclined, vegetables), to throw on the grill and cook to your own preference. The meat’s all pretty thinly sliced, so it cooks nice and quick, and you can mess around with lots of different cuts and animals to suit your tastes. When it’s done, you grab it off the grill with your chopsticks, dip it in the plate of special yakiniku sauce in front of you, gobble it down, and start searching for the next piece to finish cooking before somebody else grabs it from in front of you. It was about 3000 yen (there’s a currency coverter on the right-hand side there), so a bit steep for your average dinner, but for festive occasions, you can’t beat it 😀
So, we dominated the top floor of the restaurant with three Japanese guys and 13 foreigners, ensuring that the restaurant ran at a loss that night. From there, we headed out to a succession of bars. I got given a bunch of cool presents, including a giant set of Kyoto sweets, a cat calendar, a santa suit, pickles, a single glove, and this random dancing dragon thing. Also, I just realised that the video I took is lengthways, so it may pay to lie on your side before watching this:
Somewhere along the transition from bar to bar, I and the three Japanese guys who I for some reason allowed to stay at my place that night decided we had had more than enough and called it a night. I don’t quite remember the final stages of the night, but I do remember that I never got to go to karaoke, despite maintaining that I wanted to for most of the night. I also never met up with a couple of my friends, one of whom later told me that she spent the night behind the bar being taught how to flair and make cocktails. God knows how she did that – she was smashed before dinner ended.
I woke up in the morning with three Japanese guys passed out and intertwined on my floor, due to the fact that my apartment is just plain tiny, and everyone had tried to sleep with their legs under the kotatsu to combat the cold. At least it’s a step up from a couple of months ago when I woke up with half the skin missing off my right shin, blood all over my sheets, my bicycle completely disappeared, and a couple of other details not able to be written on a blog which my mother reads. And not remembering the reasons for any of them. My leg still hasn’t healed from that.
Instead, after the Japanese guys woke up and shook their heads a bit and wandered off, I got a nice long lie in and tried to respons to an insurgence of Happy Birthday messages on my phone and email before being treated to a Birthday Dinner by a girl I’ve been seeing a bit of lately, and who I then asked out. Now I have a girlfriend.
All in all, a pretty good weekend. Being in the city has really lifted things up for me socially! And I’m really glad it has. I was really surprised, actually, with the turnout I got. Thanks to everyone who came (not that I think any of you actually know about this blog), and to everyone who sent me birthday wishes by phone, email, facebook, or any of the other millions of ways we do this crazy communication thing these days. And this week is exam week at school, which means a whole lot of bugger-all for me to do during working hours. Nice. 🙂