First Tokyo All Nighter
On the way to a small dinner party yesterday, I was on the train, trying to text that I was going to be late (why am I ALWAYS late for everything these days?) when this voice next to me asks me, in English, what time the rush hour was on the train. I responded it's pretty much always rush hour ... anyway, it's a Chinese Canadian student. The Chinese-ness wouldn't be relevant to this story if it weren't for what came a bit later. So, anyway, she's a bit fed up that she's in Tokyo to visit relatives and they haven't broken up yet and, well, she's not happy trying to get around Tokyo by herself and can't find people to help her. I said, in amazement, that Tokyo-ites are SO helpful and friendly I was really surprised. She said, well, they don't speak English, do they? I asked her where she was heading, to change the subject, and she said she didn't know but she'd recognise the Kanji when she got there. I was a little surprised but asked her if she could read Kanji, to which she replied, with great indignation, of course she could, she was Chinese.
Well, excuse me, miss canada 2004.
Chinese friends I've had in the UK certainly couldn't.
No wonder she's disliking Japan so much. GAH! I wonder if she's whingeing the head off her relatives too? She said she was thinking about maybe coming to teach English here when she graduated. Now, that I'd like to see!
Anyway, enough of her. I had a wonderful evening. Two other teachers, one of the receptionists and I joined one of our bosses for the evening. She lives in a truely awesome apartment. It was massive and sooooo beautiful, with a huuuuge balcony running the whole length of the the living room and bedroom and underfloor heating. Yummy! The decor was wonderful, the whole place spacey -- oh I want something like that. Not that it's ever likely to happen, of course, but I can dream. We ate, drank and played silly games for a few hours, then toddled off to do some Karaoke and more drinking for an hour an a half. Except we ended up extending and extending and spent about five hours there. We were in our own little room, so it was pretty cosy. Although the video selection was quite amusing. There were about six different videos that were shown in the background to every song and, naturally over five hours we got through a fair few songs and drinks! Previously I'd hated singing alone, but if anyone else was singing I'd be fine. I'm cured. Now the thing is, I love singing BUT cannot sing to save my life! I know this. I don't care! Oh, oh, oh and there was a tambourine in the room too! Very funny! And you could order your drinks using the same remote control you used to punch in the songs!
These toilets also had baskets of sanitary towels. Now this totally highlights one of the main differences between the UK and Japan. In the UK, one person would just swipe the lot and walk off. And I'm still to find a toilet here without toilet paper! Next to the basins were more baskets with cotton swabs, toothpicks, etc and little tubs of 'Love Catch'. Picture the little 14ml individual milk/cream pots to know what I'm talking about. Now, we did wonder what sort of enticing liquid was in there to help you catch love, but boringly our Japanese friends told us it was mouth wash.
After going back to our friends apartment for a bit, I toddled off home. Getting in a VERY bad mood with the ticket machine that wouldn't take my 5000 yen note, even though it said it would. I tried it in every direction before a Japanese lady said something to me and I figured out she was trying to say it wouldn't take the new notes. I'd heard about this at some stage, but it was ridiculously early in the morning and I was drunk and tired. I tried and swore at a few more machines before eventually finding one that accepted it. Somehow managed to not sleep through my stations (I had to change) and finally crashed at 07:15.
Brilliant fun. I have a sore throat though. Guess that's not too surprising after all that singing and shouting!!!