Feb. 2nd, 09 · 7:18 am
Oh my goodness. I hurt all over. Why? Because I went snowboarding last weekend. Yep, about 12 of us from the law school joined up with folks from Outdoor Japan and headed up to Naeba to ski and snowboard. I had no experience doing either one of those. Granted, I’ve been on two ski trips but never made it skiing due to the fact that we partied too hard the night before. Not advisable to get on the slopes with a hangover. Trust, it’s hard enough to do sober!
Friday after class, we hoofed it to Harajuku where we loaded onto a bus that took us and some other folks up to the mountain. We nearly killed a whole bottle of Jack on the way up which was a good compliment to jerk chicken they served on the bus. Oh yeah, it was a “Reggae Snowsplash” weekend. Reggae music, good vibes and snow! We arrived at a traditional Japanese inn, the kind that doesn’t have any beds, just tatami mats and futons. No… not
Tatami mat floor/sleeping area
the futons you had in college with the metal frame and all. I mean a thin pad that rolls/folds up and you store it in a closet when you’re not sleeping. We also kicked back on rice pillows which were exactly what they sound like: pillows stuffed with rice. Not cool. It was also type annoying to have to take off your shoes all the time. The JPNese don’t mind because they have slippers for everything. Slippers to put on after you take off your outdoor shoes. Slippers to put on when you go into the bathroom. Special slippers for every room it seems!
Anyway, after having a few (more) drinks that night, we went to bed to prepare for the next day. Saturday we rented gear which, when all said and done, had to add like 15 more pounds to our bodies. It wasn’t too cold out but the snow was falling lightly. It was pretty out there. Being in Tokyo, I haven’t seen snow in a long time. A crew of us started out on a little practice hill just to figure out how to stand up on the board, get it strapped up and “get our legs.” By the end of the day, I don’t think we had any of that down except for the strapped up part! After a couple of tries on the baby hill we slid over to the ski lift for a ride to the top of the mountain. Continue reading →
Jan. 29th, 09 · 6:49 am
What have I been up to this week? Not much. Regular life stuff, school/sleep/eat. Walk around the city, pop into different shops every now and again.
On Monday, our Japanese teacher Suzuki set us up on a rendez-vous with some advanced students of hers, French guys. They were pretty cool, albeit young (21!). I was hyped at first because I have way better French skills than Japanese. When I got there though, I was kind of quiet with the francais because I didn’t want to sound like an idiot. All was well though. We went to an Izakaya (almost like a tapas style restaurant with drinks and private rooms) in Shinjuku and shared plates while drinking warm sake
1 of our new French pals
and having conversation. Afterward we headed to an English Pub for a beer. I think it was that brief interaction with those guys that reminded me how much I need to get to France. They were telling me how 7+ yrs of language study was like a complete waste without ever having visited the country. Who can disagree with that?
We also went out with Suzuki for an eel lunch. Pretty tasty. I could have sworn that my last experience with eel was unpleasant, but when we got to the restaurant and had a lightly grilled eel over rice in a brown sauce, well I was pleased.
Side note: the Japanese will make tea out of anything. I’ve had rice tea, soba tea, oat tea and who the hell else knows what kind of tea. They’re all pretty bad if you were wondering. What happened to all that green tea I was told they drink over here?
Tonight I’ll pack a bag to get ready for a weekend trip. We’re heading up north to Naeba to go snowboarding! So you’ll most def have to check back for the details on that!
New FLICKR photos up, BTW. If you’re my f’book friend, you’ve already seen ’em though.
Jan. 25th, 09 · 6:02 am
Nomi-hodai. Key word for the weekend. Nomi-hodai is the “all you can drink” option offered at many Japanese establishments. We did it two nights in a row and paid for it dearly after day one.
Friday: Went to lame ass Japanese Law class and then headed over to our new favorite restaurant, some Korean BBQ spot. Can’t tell you the name of it because it’s in Japanese, which I cannot read, duh. Anyway, it was our second night in a row going there and the waitress who served us was totally surprised that we came back so soon. We had to though. We’ve been craving some really spicy, seasoned food. I’ve got to be honest with you, Japanese food isn’t that good. There are but so many noodles and so much rice you can eat, ya know. The meats are all boiled and soupy. Not very good. You can hardly find vegetables to eat in anything! So finding the Korean spot was great because they have the meat you can grill at the table and very spicy, flavorful stews and soups. Anywho… since we went back the second day, the waitress brought us out some complimentary kimchi style pickles and then finished off our meal with green tea and chocolate ice cream! We’re so going back. Wonder what she’ll give us next time?
After the restaurant, we made a pit stop at home then headed out to Ebisu where we met folks from school for an all you can drink deal at a place called Zest. We walked in and the restaurant was HUGE. It was kind of like bizarro world though cuz there we were, a bunch of Americans in Tokyo, at a giant Mexican restaurant. FYI, we’re totally going back to Zest for dinner because I’ve been craving Mexican like you wouldn’t believe. Realizing that we only had two hours to cash in on our nomi-hodai special, we set to work ordering whisky, scotch, tequila, pitchers of beer and margaritas. Let me be clear, okay… these servers at Zest did not play. When we ordered shots of tequila, they just brought over like 10 glasses and two ice cold bottles of tequila and left them on the table. NO WAY would they do that in the States. Just leave the entire bottle of liquor on the table for you? In a restaurant? That’s against most liquor laws because there’s no way to regulate how much folks are drinking, ya know? Continue reading →
Jan. 19th, 09 · 10:12 am
Last weekend was our first time really going out to party in Tokyo. True, we’ve been here for a couple of weekends, but we were so jetlagged out the first week there was no way we were making it out. I think we made up for it sufficiently.
Friday: After a lame class on Japan Law, we hooked up with some students and went out for Japanese fast food, basically rice bowls topped with anything from taco meat to curry. It was cheap but it wasn’t yummy. Afterward, we met up at an English pub for drinks. The place was alright but most importantly had semi-decently priced drinks. Pretty important here because our area of town is kind of pricey when it comes to that sort of thing. On suggestion of one of the crazier students in the group, we headed over to this club called 911 to dance a bit. That spot was suuuuuuuuper crowded but the music was good.
Yo, Japanese people are pretty damned reserved during the day but at night… whoa! They’re crazy. They were dancing around all nutso (think white people dancing) but definitely enjoying themselves. It’s really interesting how even the most straight-laced looking people get totally wild at the club. I danced with like 3 suited up business men, one even took off his tie and wrapped it around my neck, freaky styles! There was this one guy we dubbed RainbowCoat who stuck close to our group all night long. He was dancing around in his puffy rainbow jacket, putting his head on the girls’ shoulders, seemingly trying to get as close to our boobs as possible. You ain’t slick, RainbowCoat! There was a decent amount of foreigners in there as well but not too many. I think I burned 17 nose hairs due to the one African dude (sorry my dark continent peeps) who obviously has a cultural aversion to deodorant. Altogether, that night was alright. Once the music devolved into a techno nightmare, we got out of there and headed home. Click for Saturday, Sumo & more