Lately, I've been having trouble filling my time with interesting things to do. In between blasts of fun are stretches of undulating boredom. You might think that since I'm in Japan, I should be having loads of fun, and don't get me wrong, I am. It just costs an arm and a leg to do anything. Take for instance going out for drinks, expect to drop at least US$20, though there have been plenty of outings in which I had to fork over $40 and up. Bowling? US$15 (not so bad, I guess). Movies? US$10-$20. Even getting around the city costs around $5 round-trip. So, lately, I find these stretches of boredom getting longer and longer as I notice how much longer I am going to have to stay here. I also found out today that my broken camera is probably going to cost $200 to fix. Either I'm going to have to open up a new stream of revenue, or I'm going to have to find cheaper ways to spend my time :)
Whoa, I didn't mean to start ranting about prices in Japan, but it's been something that's been getting under my skin lately. Anyway, about the blasts of fun. I had my birthday party at my place last Thursday and invited all the friends I met in Arizona that were in Nagoya. We had kimchee nabe (Kimchee hot pot), and man was it good. I think everyone had a good time, but I don't remember much because I made the dire mistake of consuming every kind of alcohol -- wine, beer, nihonshuu (Japanese sake), and the killer, whiskey. My friend, Andrew, had the same spread, only he didn't hold his in too well.
One of my guests (er, I can't remember who) had brought various kinds of cake individually wrapped in their own neat little packages (this is pretty common actually , it seems, here). In my drunken stupor I decided to take it upon myself to attempt to eat one of these cakes without taking off the wrapper. Now, it's not that I mistook the cake for being unwrapped; the wrapping is thick and, though somewhat transparent, was adorned with a large green sticker. I chomped down on the wrapped confection and sprayed crumbs all over the place. I don't know how everyone else reacted, but I must have noticed the mess because I ended up vacuuming it up later.While others cheat death, pick up hot dates, and/or play pranks while under the influence, I make an idiot of myself by spraying cake crumbs all over my friends. I blame the whiskey.
Anyway, the very next night, I was invited (belatedly) to someone else's birthday party held at another nabe/yakiniku izakaya (hot pot/drinking establishment). I was the only non-Japanese there, so I got to practice whatever drunken Japanese I could muster. The third or fourth drink softened the hangover from the night before. Being drunk and attempting to speak a language you only half understand with other drunks who only speak half your language is way more entertaining than it sounds. Barriers of embarrasment fall down, and nothing but pure enjoyment remain. It was weird though, somehow I ended up with a bouquet of flowers. They knew it was my birthday the previous day, so I guess someone went out and bought it for me, though I'm kind of surprised they thought to buy me flowers.
I took a few pictures of these two nights, you can see them here.