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Party weekend!

September 17, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments

This weekend was party central. There’s really no other way to describe it. On Friday night, the JETs in Hita were having a get together. Hita is a little town (approximately 70,000 people, but extremely spread out over a very large area) about an hour south of Nakatsu. Natalie and I decided to come along to meet some new people in our area. Natalie is an extremely effective networker and I generally just tag along! The road to Hita could not have been easier. Go straight! Go straight! Go straight! Party!

We got there at about 7:20 and headed to the restaurant, where we met Una (whom I had met before a few weeks earlier when she came up to Nakatsu), Noor, The Most Fashionable Man In Japan (and that is NOT EASY TO DO!), David (a 2nd year JET), Shane from Ireland, and Grant. We dined at a delicious お好み焼きrestaurant in Hita, where we had かぼちゃ(Butternut Squash) okonomiyaki, cheese tomato and garlic okonomiyaki, seafood okonomiyaki and hamburger and cheese okonomiyaki. Everything was really good, and it only cost us 900 yen per person, coming out to a little under $10. That included drinks. After the restaurant we walked around Hita a bit, checking out its bar district, and we ended up in a bar called “Xi”. I think it may have been an attempt to become “Xi bar” as in “The bar” but with a funny accent. Whether it was successful or not remains to be seen, but while there I had an ice cream sandwich. In a glass. Mmmmm. Everyone was actually pretty tired so we ended up splitting up around 11. I was originally going to stay at Shane’s place but he was feeling sick and on antibiotics, so I took his futon and slept on the floor at Una’s. I had a bed, so I was perfectly happy.

On Saturday we met up with Dave and headed down to 黒川町(kurakawa town), which is a fairly popular 温泉(hot springs) resort town. As we got there, it began to rain. We picked out an onsen (there were a lot to choose from) and went in. It’s always funny that in America, friends can go their entire lives without seeing each other naked. In Japan, you see people you’re just met naked and it doesn’t even phase you, because guess what, you’re nekkid too! So David and I were intimately introduced thanks to the outdoor onsen, even though I didn’t even know his last name. (I know! You should always know someone’s last name before you get naked with them, that’s generally a good rule of thumb, but the circumstances are slightly different in this country…) It was finally kind of cool here, so the hot water felt quite nice, as opposed to the last time when it was 90 degrees AND the water was about 150. It being an outdoor onsen, the rain created an extremely pleasant contrast of feelings as your lower body is immersed in steaming water and your upper body is treated to the pitter patter of cool raindrops.

Indeed, eager readers, I can already see your minds flash forward to the winter, when snow gently falls over Japan. Even if your mind did not flash forward, for the sake of the continuation of this story, let us all pretend that it did, and let’s not have any unnecessary interruptions. Going to an outdoor onsen at this time will treat you to the sight of snow falling above, yet never reaching you as the steam billowing from the hot water melts the snow just before it lands on your head. The first image this creates in my mind (and that may be a sad commentary on my mind, but hey) is a scene from Harry Potter, where the main hall has been enchanted to snow, but it melts before ever reaching the floor. This is definitely something I am looking forward to, though as my friend Akiko says, going from the changing room to the onsen is the true test of your grit, as it will be (pardon my french, and she did not use this language) “balls cold.” I unfortunately could not take many pictures of my time in Kurokawa because immediately when we stepped out of the onsen it began to rain cats and dogs. And water. Lots of water. The gentle pitter patter of raindrops turned to the metaphorical yelps and barks of dogs and cats as they metaphorically poured from the sky like some kind of twisted animal shelter drop zone. We did manage to get one picture of us outside the onsen, which can be seen below.

After the onsen we went to lunch at a restaurant which serves only locally grown foods (my mother would be proud!) It was an all you can eat buffet for 1300 yen, around 15 dollars, which is quite reasonable. Following lunch we returned to Hita to pick up the most fashionable man in Japan (Noor, for those of you who forgot his name. He will hence forth be referred to as “The most fashionable man in Japan”, or TMFMIJ for short.) Una, TMFMIJ, Natalie and I would be driving back to Nakatsu for yet another party, this time a Fukuoka and Nakatsu JET outreach party. As we live right on the Fukuoka prefecture border, it seemed smart to get to know each other a little better, as we are actually closer to the Fukuoka people than to most of the Oita people.

This party began at 7:30 PM at the train station, and turned out to be 17 people. These 17 people walked (en masse, creating quite a display) to a yakiniku restaurant (Grill your own meat place) sans reservation. (Two points for using two french words in one sentence by the way!) Luckily, the restaurant we chose was quite large, and had enough room to accommodate all of us. It was a lot of fun, though I didn’t really get to talk to that many of the Fukuoka people. We all did our little short introductions, and then commenced on the massive plates of meat that had been ordered. Also, a few of us (mainly Alex, another Nakatsu JET) ate the “hormone” that came along with the meat. Hormone is the Japanese word for cow intestine. It doesn’t really taste like anything, being mainly chewy in nature, but when I have a choice between actual meat and the inside of some cow’s stomach, I think you know which one I’d choose. After dinner we all made our way to Tropicoco’s for an after party, and after that we went to sing karaoke! I did not get home ’till about 3:30, 3:45 AM, but it was a lot of fun. Also, TMFMIJ was able to test out my new couch’s ability to be used for sleeping. His opinion: “It’s more comfortable than my futon at home.” Success!

But wait, the weekend isn’t over yet! I still have to discuss Sunday! On Sunday Una, Natalie, TMFMIJ and I joined Joel (an eight year veteran of Japan who is teaching for a small English school in town) for a trip to Usa shrine. However, that will have to be a story for the next post, as I think I am reaching the limit of what one person wants to read in one reasonable sitting without many many pictures (I only have one.)

I hope I have kept you all on the edge of your seats today, recounting my fabulous adventures in Japan, though I apologize for those of you who would really like to hear less about me getting naked, and perhaps more about how my teaching is going, or those of you who are really only here for pictures. If you are really only here for pictures, I congratulate you on reading this far, and laugh at you for being entirely out of luck during this post. HA! But I promise the next post will have a plethora of pictures to make up for it. A Plethora!


Categories: Japan Tags: , ,
  1. dotbearman
    September 17, 2009 at 10:11 pm

    Your experiences are all fascinating and the food descriptions, mouth watering….thanks.

  2. Sam K
    October 1, 2009 at 10:03 am

    “These 17 people walked (en masse, creating quite a display) to a yakiniku restaurant (Grill your own meat place) sans reservation. (Two points for using two french words in one sentence by the way!)”-LOL. keep up the posting!

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