First few weeks back at work

I have explained about my time up to the dawn of this new year that we are now in, although I have been lazy at keeping a more up to date perspective of my experiences. However I spent most of my time after I came back from my travels sitting in bed, drinking beer, eating junk and playing video games, which I did not feel that was worthwhile sharing with the world in detail. Even when I was back at work on the 5th I was eased back in to teaching as it was a Saturday so I could easily enjoy the next day doing sod all again. It was a pleasant day of wok as well as Teru’s niece from America was there and I got to spend most of the day drawing pictures. The rest of the week my lazy mood carried on as I racked up some more hours of game play, which suited the quiet mood at work as some students were absent presumably due to some kind of New Year fatigue. When the weekend came I was welcomed by a pay check so I then thought it was appropriate to leave my little hole I had created in bed and go out and do something new.

That weekend I then decided to retrace my steps and try to meet up with the fellow Brightonian English teacher, Cam, I had failed to meet before my Christmas adventure. So we met, successfully this time as she now has a Japanese mobile, in Shibuya as I had plans to go to the notorious club “Womb”. First of all she introduced me to some friends she had met here in Japan, an American guy, who works in the music industry and has lived in Japan around 7 years, his sister who was just visiting, and one of his Japanese friends. They took me to a pretty good izakaya so we could get some drinks and eat some food. The deal with the drinks was that we paid a set amount, around ¥1500, allowing us to order as many as we wanted in 2 hours. This is quite a common thing in Japan and most izakayas will have something similar. This seems like it would be unheard of in Britain, drink as much as you can in 2 hours. It seems like more of a challenge rather than an offer. Thus we made our money worth and drunk enough to let the conversation flow, probably in the process of annoying the staff as appropriate etiquette was to order a new beer after the last one was finished so they could take glasses, but instead each of us just keep ordering regardless of the situation of the previous drink.

After our 2 hours were up, I still wanted to go to Womb and Cam was up for joining but the others decided to call it a night. The Japanese guy knew where it was so showed us the way. At first this guys was quite quiet but I found like most Japanese people drink brings them out of their shell and personal boundaries go out the window. While showing us the way he was shouting jokes I did not really understand and the punchline all ways seemed to be grabbing my crotch. Very strange, but he did successfully show us to the club, which was lucky because it was the most discrete place I had ever seen and would not have been able to find it myself. The bouncer outside was even telling people to be silent. Although once inside the silence did not withhold. A large disco ball hangs over the dance floor overlooked by 3 floors of different bars areas, all filled by a mix of people, including lots of people not from Japan. Here we blew the night away listening to Carl Cox, me drunkenly trying to chat Japanese leaving Cam bewildered by some crazy Korean Girl that would not stop shouting in her face. I think she meant well but who knows. Before we knew it the lights had risen and everyone was getting kicked out. Late it was so no trains were running so I crashed at Cam’s as there was no chance of me getting back to Kazo. The next day we woke up late enough to call it the afternoon, so we got something to eat and headed into Harajuku. This was the perfect place to do some gift shopping as you can pretty much get anything that is a bit weird or cute, even both, like for example the shop that just specialises in clothes for dogs. When satisfied with my purchases we decided to cure the hangover with a couple more drinks and headed to an izakaya Cam knew of. This place was great, it felt most genuine and devoid of tourist activity. We were put on a table next to a group of Rockabilly gang members, the ones fitted with embroidered leather jackets and the biggest Elvis like quiffs they can boast. One of them was clearly really pissed and sat right behind me looking over my shoulder trying to make sense of what we where saying, and when they left he tried to banter us, chanting “yer, yer, yer”. By then it was getting late so I decided to make a move to get back to Kazo.

Getting up for work the next day, I was greeted by snow. Lots and lots of snow. This was quiet a refreshing difference and I walked to work armed with my camera, taking some pictures along the way. Although the snow was nice, it made work really quiet again as lots of students could not or did not want to make it in to school for the week. Due to it being quite I had more time to learn some Japanese and decided to take on the daunting task of learning some Kanji, one of the three Japanese alphabets. Before I knew it, it was the weekend again, and one that I was looking forward to because I had tickets to go see a favourite band of mine, Beach House. This was in Ebisu a train stop away or a nice walk from Shibuya. I decided to take the walk as to grab a quick look at the temples and shrines on the way. Although I was more keen to go check out the venue, “Liquid Rooms”, where the gig was held. It is a pretty sweet venue, nice and big, all underground and with a big stage. Before the music started I got chatting to a group of “gaijin” (foreigners or literally translating “outside people”) like me. The conversations pretty much kicked off with, “So are you and English teacher too?”. One guy was from England, another Wales and another from America. They were some good guys to talk to, apart from their good taste in music, they all lived in Tokyo so could show me around a bit more. The music kicked off with this guy called, Dustin Wong, just a single guitarist that relied on an array pedals to loop and create really interesting songs. Beach House were wicked and when they came back on for their encore, Victoria Lestrange, the singer said “we are going to play something we haven’t played for a while”,  I shouted back “play Tokyo Witch!”, a great song from their first album and thought it only right that they should play it that we were in Tokyo, she replied “Yes, something we haven’t played for a while”. So I got my wish and Victoria Lestrange actually talked to me…kind of. After the gig I went to buy a copy of Dustin Wong’s album at the merch stall, only to find him there too. I managed to have a chat with him and bag myself a signed copy instead. Therefore I left feeling pretty please with myself, after a good gig and brush with stardom. The fellow English teachers I met took me to a ramen place where I ended up having the spiciest ramen I have ever had, every mouthful was pretty much agony. We knocked back a few beers, but I had to rush off to scrape the last train home.

Now the snow had melted, being back at work was a bit more lively and back to normal. Again, this week again seemed to rush by without anything particularly out of the ordinary happening. The only thing that was different was that at the morning lessons at Kuki Kindergarten we had to perform in front of all the kids parents as well. At first this was a little daunting, but all the lessons were really fun and both the kids and parents seemed to enjoy it. We practiced some verbs and me and Teru got to order them around, making the the kids do silly things. Some of my faviourites were to tell them to act out two things at once, such as “eat AND drink”, “sleep AND talk” and “ice-skate AND fly”, which if you try you look like demented dancer. Also before as warm up we practiced food vocabulary and “Do like like…?”, which is when I probably got the best innocent slip up from a kid I have heard so far. In Japanese “men” means noodles, so one kids rather directly asked me “Do you like men?”. I thought that it was rather rich talking about sexuality with a 5 year old kid.

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