Thursday, December 18, 2003

There is a bunch of stuff that I had started writing about back in November....but I never got around to finishing everything I had wanted to write about. So here is what happened during the month of November...in no particular order:

The November Chronicles, Part I

Clubbing with KM and friends...Nov. 22nd

I was feeling kinda down, when, out of the blue, KM sent me an email inviting me to go clubbing in Roppongi on Saturday! I hadn`t been out clubbing since going with him at the beginning of September. Apparently, M-san, the girl from Kobe who had briefly done a study abroad program at UD and whom I had met at the end of August, was coming too. Also, TH (the one I always say is "sexy") planned to come, so I figured it would be sort of like a double date thing, so I was looking forward to it. On Friday, I got an email from TH, suggesting we take the train together to Roppongi to meet up with KM and M-san. The next day, as I was getting ready, I got a phone call from TL, my coworker NL`s daughter, inviting me to get together with her the next day. I agreed to meet up with her in Kichijoji (which I had heard had a really nice park) at 12pm. Anywayz, I met up with TH and we had a nice, relaxing ride to Shinjuku and then to Roppongi, where we met not only KM and M-san, but M-san`s friend R-san. At first I didn`t like the fact that perhaps one of us might end up being the "fifth wheel" but R-san ended up being a really nice girl and I enjoyed her company. Since KM and I are big fans of hip hop, we went to Club99, which plays hip-hop music almost exclusively. Later on, we went to the famous, Gaspanic for a little while. Gaspanic has no entrance fee, but you must have a drink at all times, a policy that is notoriously enforced by staff members walking around with flashlights, making sure everyone has drinks, and pushing you to buy a drink if you don`t have one. However, we managed to stay for several minutes without being made to buy drinks (thanks to KM and TH telling the staff "We need a few minutes to decide")! Then, we went to 911, another well-known club in Roppongi, which was so crowded that you couldn`t really dance and it was inevitable that you were gonna really brush up against people, which I think many people didn`t mind...somehow we managed to find a spot to dance in. We also met up with a friend of KM and TH, who ended up being from Bolivia! Unfortunately, since it was so noisy, I couldn`t make much conversation with him....one never can in these places. Afterwards, we went back to Club99, where I ended up dancing with a guy...he just kinda came up behind me and started dancing. I never got his name or where he`s from, but I know he`s not Japanese. It`s something that I was not proud of at first, but now I realize that the club scene is about just letting go and letting your animal instincts rule. I mean, I`m glad I didn`t end up going home with this guy, but I had a good time. While I was dancing with the guy, KM and the rest of them dissapeared. The guy started to get "more intense" with me and I started to get worried, so I managed to extricate myself out of the situation and told him I had to meet my friends. He followed me to the club lockers, where I called KM, who happened to be across the street at a cafe with the rest of them. So I dashed off. Poor guy, he seemed so dissapointed. Anywayz, when I stepped oustide, KM was there waiting for me....I felt so relieved! He walked me back to the cafe, where everyone else was sitting down and drinking coffee or tea. Poor TH...apparently he had thrown up from the alcohol so he needed a place to sit down and just relax. So we spent the rest of the time there....just chillin`.

One of the advantages of being a gaijin woman is that the pimps don`t harrass you. I often see Japanese girls (usually the ones that are more scantily dressed) being harassed to no end by pimps or club promoters handing out club advertisements to take the flyers advertising that particular club. When I pass them by, it`s as if I`m not there...my gaijiness is like a cloak of protection around me when I pass them by. However, when I was in Roppongi, I realized that I am not immune...in fact the fact that I am a foreigner is all the more reason for the club promoters to harrass you to go to their clubs.

As I trudged back home in the early morning, tired and hungover, I figured that I would set my alarm for 10:30 to call TL and tell her that I couldn`t make it to Kichijoji at 12 because I was too tired. I set the time all right, but I forgot to turn on the alarm, so when I woke up, it was 12:30! I was absolutely mortified because as far as I knew, she had no cell phone so there was no way I could get in touch with her...and Kichijoji is a half-hour train ride from Hachioji. I had horrible visions of her waiting there for me for over an hour. I tried to get in touch with her mother by calling Berlitz since she works there on Sundays, but of course, nobody answered the phone. So I quickly got dressed and was hurrying towards the station, absolutely mortified when the idea occurred to me to stop by Berlitz to explain the situation to NL in case TL got in touch with her. When I got there, it just so happened that the last classes were just finishing so I was able to talk to her...to my great relief, NL told me that indeed, TL was borrowing someone`s cell phone and she gave me the number. So I was able to call her and explain everything. Thankfully, TL took it pretty well and it was ok because two other people were with her, so they were willing to wait for me in Kichijoji. I was so relieved! NL said jokingly, "How dare you do that to my daughter!" So I finally got to Kichijoji after having missed the station because I had taken the express train that didn`t stop in Kichijoji. I was told that Kichijoji is a really nice place and indeed...the road leading to its famous park was filled with quaint little shops that sold all kinds of interesting things. I met up with TL near Starbucks, where she introduced me to N-san and his girlfriend K-san. Then, we went to an udon restaurant, where we had delicious udon...which I hadn`t had in a long time! Both N-san and K-san had been to Australia to work/study abroad. N-san especially was pretty good at English so we had a really enjoyable conversation. After eating udon, we headed over to the famous Inokashira Park. It was rather cold, but it was very beautiful with the autumn leaves and big pond. We walked around for a bit, looking at people playing guitar or selling crafts. There was this foreign man with a long, blond scraggly beard and colorful, funky-looking hat. He was playing a strange-looking instrument...it was a combination of lute, harp, and violin. It was decorated in such a way that it looked like a bird was playing the lute...it`s hard to explain. Anyway, it was obvious that this man`s Japanese was not that great, but I could understand that the music he was playing was from Shakespearean times. The music sounded really beautiful. The atmoshphere of the park was just so relaxing and even romantic, which was a welcome and soothing contrast to the loud and wild atmosphere of Roppongi. We decided to stop by a cafe up on a small hill surrounded by trees. It was a really nice place with a really relaxing atmosphere...it was also heated by electric heaters, plus, you were provided with blankets. It felt so cozy after spending time outside in the cold. We ended up staying there for a while, getting to know each other. We asked each other when our birthays are and to my big surprise, N-san replied "next Saturday", which the exact day of my birthday! It`s not every day I meet people with the same birthday as me...Anywayz, afterwards, we strolled back to the station...passed by the nice shops and by a very nice looking izakaya that had a Japanese-style garden. I had a really good time and I`m glad that I ended up getting together with them.

I saw The Last Samurai on Monday...

I finally got to see The Last Samurai, which I had really wanted to see. K and I tried going on Sunday evening, but it was sold out twenty minutes before the start of the movie, so we went to the 10am showing the next day.

What can I say about the movie (without giving it away)? Well, it was rather "Hollywood-esque"(but well, what can you expect?)...almost formulaic, and for the most part, it was rather predictable. But overall, it was interesting, I guess and I enjoyed watching it. It was very beautifully filmed and the main Japanese actor`s performace was very good. However, there were some parts in the movie where you would shake your head and say, "Oh come on, that couldn`t possibly have happened..." But don`t listen to me. I recommend that you go see and judge for yourself....and then we can talk about it!
I told myself I`d never do this....!

But here I am, posting the result of a Quizilla quiz on my blog...

Congratulations! You're Merry!

Which Lord of the Rings character and personality problem are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

The best chips E-VER!

A potato chip company in Japan recently came out with blue cheese-flavored chips (chips the flavor of blue cheese, not blue-colored cheese flavored chips!). They are sooooo good! I can even tell you just how good....;-)

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