Sep 26, 2011

Weekend Adventures

This weekend was quite eventful, and very enjoyable!  Friday was my "moving/welcome" party at my new place, thrown by my boss.  There was he and his wife (who is sometimes my student), three of my coworkers, one of my coworker's son and his friend, and a student of mine.  There was lots of food, specifically okonomiyaki, and yaki-soba, veggies, snacks, and desserts.  And alcohol, of course.  No get-together in Japan would be complete without it (which i find funny because they're so strict about every other drug out there).  It was a lot of fun.  We gathered around the table to cook our food on the hot plates, and ate and drank and talked for a few hours, then everyone went home.

From left to right: coworker 1 and 2 (coworker 3 hadn't arrived yet), boss' wife, boss, coworker 1's son, his friend, and my student

The next day i met up with my friend from Kobe who was in Tokyo visiting his family over the three-day weekend.  I got up in the morning and tried my hand at making a Japanese(-ish) style bento, or box lunch.  I made tuna-mayo onigiri, tamago-yaki, some sliced cucumbers, and some grapes that were left from the party the night before.  Despite the seeds, i really love the grapes here.  I've only tried two bunches of grapes since i've been here, but both have been so deliciously sweet, tasting just like purple Welches grapejuice, yum!
Sweet Factory goodies!

Anyway, it was actually fun making the bento, albeit a little time-consuming, so i think i'll be making more for other outings in the future. :)  We drove out to Lake Town, which is about an hour from here (while there was a river i didn't see an actual lake while we were there though), ate the bento then spent a few hours in the *giant* mall there.  Sooooo many stores, and i was sad that i had to refrain from buying any clothes that day, haha.  I did spot a Sweet Factory kiosk and got extremely excited.  There used to be a Sweet Factory in the mall near my house where i grew up, and i went there often and got all sorts of sweet and sour gummies.  We decided to get a bag of (rather expensive) very natsukashii (nostalgic) candy.  Definitely a highlight of that mall, lol!

Got up Sunday to get ready to meet with S and our friend we'd met at UW, Gaki-chan!  It had been about six months since we'd seen him last.  He still had a few months left in Seattle when S and i left to go to Japan, so it was our first time since then to reunite.  Planned to meet at Shinjuku station at 2pm, and while S was late due to some bus-confusion from her place, Gaki and i both got there at 2, but it took us about a half-hour to find each other in the crazy maze that is Shinjuku station.  Really, that place is ridiculous and you should never use that station as a meeting place!  So i finally found Gaki-chan and we sat and talked and got caught up on recent happenings while we waited for S.  She got in about 2:30- around when G-chan and i had found each other- but then it took her a good 30 to 40 minutes to find us!  We told her to meet us in front of the Uniqlo that's right across from the Bic Camera just outside of the station, come to find out that there are actually two Uniqlos right across from Bic Cameras just outside of Shinjuku station, and as luck would have it she ended up at the ones on the complete other side of the station!  She called us and was like, "Okay, i'm at the Uniqlo across from the Bic Camera, where are you guys?"  We were convinced there was some sort of time warp or alternate reality that we'd somehow gotten into, but Gaki busted out one of his many i-Phone gadgets and discovered that she was on the other side of the station.
We finally met up, decided that we wanted to eat, but the izakaya that we went into wasn't going to be open for another 30 minutes, so in the meantime we went back to the dreaded station to find some lockers for S and G-chan to store their stuff in.  That was quite an adventure too, and it took us nearly 20 minutes to track down some coin lockers and then to find an unoccupied one.  Killed enough time at least that by the time we got their stuff stored and walked back to the izakaya they were open.  We were the first ones there and were promptly seated.  Nearly everything on the menu was 270yen (some "specialty" items were 380)- super cheap!  So we were able to eat a lot and sat talking for a few hours. 
Purikura nowadays like to make your eyes all big...

After the restaurant we decided to go take purikura (photo-booth pictures), since we'd never had the chance to take any with the three of us together, so we did that then looked around in the arcade and played a few games (they treated me because i'm trying to conserve money, and they're awesome like that).  From there we headed to the bowling alley (same one J, Yu-yu, Mr. Rich Man and i went to during Obon week) and played a round of cosmic bowling since all the normal lanes were full.  Didn't do as well as i had the it says- Eyes and legs like a Bambi!
last time, but it was still a lot of fun.  We got tickets to try one of the claw machines at the arcade downstairs.  Of course, as all claw machines are rigged we didn't get a prize, but S and G-chan succumed to the ruse of the arcade people and ended up spending maybe almost 1000yen each at one of the machines just outside of the building.  They both won something though, and won an extra thing for me!  :)
We decided then to head back to my place, and got back a little after 11pm.  They got some munchies and drinks at the convinience store on the walk to the apartment, and when we got there i made some pasta and we snacked and drank and talked until we couldn't stay awake anymore, then turned in for the night.
Woke up Monday morning, took our time getting ready, then headed to the Burger King by the station for lunch before parting ways since i had to work at 2pm.  It was definitely a good night, and we have more fun plans in the workings for the next couple months.  I'd recently been homesick for Seattle, but being able to meet up with my Seattle/UW friends like this has help quell that for sure. :) 

Chilling in the morning
Having it our way at BK!
 Oh, i do have to mention a blurb of conversation that happened while we were walking around trying to find the bowling alley:

S: (making loud comments [in English of course] about some hosts or pretty boys walking by)
Me: (to G-chan) "See what i have to deal with?"
S: "You only have to deal with it like once a month!...
    ....I'm like your period!"
That had us in stiches and probably drew more attention to us that normal.
Aaah, yes, definitely a great night!

Off to bed now.  Been good recently about keeping my "In bed by 1am, up by 10am" schedule.  Makes me feel like a normal human being, and not some nocturnal creature from the forest.  So, good night!  (Or good day, to those of you on the other side of the world).  **Edit:  Well, by now it's good day to me, and good night to the rest of you since my internet crapped out last night before i could post this!**


Mom said...

Sooo good to see you are happy & well! :o)

Did you dye your hair orange or is it just the photo??!

-phx- said...

The pics make my hair look more orange than it is.. it was dyed a reddish color but faded and i haven't felt like dying it since. I think once my hair grows out a bit more i'll go back to dark colors. Don't really like the light color..

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