Yesterday on the train I saw a gaijin* male in a pinstripe suit (not-quite-dark blue or not-quite-dark brown - I don't remember.) He wore a bowler hat and carried a briefcase and a real umbrella (ie not one of the see-throw ones the rest of us have). He looked an utter twat. Another gaijin said something to him that I couldn't catch, to which Twat in the Hat replied: 'One tries'...
Oh one does, does one? I mentioned him to another couple of teachers and rumour has it he may work for the same company as us. Double gah! I mean, I could buy myself a Kitty San costume and I'd be 'trying'. Right?
I've not 'celebrated' St Patricks (well, for one I'm not Irish) for about a billion years - not in fact since I was in Paris, but somehow found myself drinking 500 yen guinness yesterday in an Irish pub in Tokyo. They had a Japanese band 'pretending' to be Irish. By pretending, try and imagine a Japanese woman, with Japanese accent, trying to sound Irish whilst singing Pogues songs. In fairness, the band WERE very good and played for hours without stopping....
But were were the green cocktails and the raucaus behaviour? Not in sight yesterday where I was, that's for sure. And to be honest, I think I'm getting too old for noisy, smoky pubs (isn't that sad?) and much prefer getting drunk somewhere more civilized and quieter. Unless it's a karaoke booth and then volume doesn't really count.
I miss dips. I don't have a great deal more to say on this but whilst there's an amazing range of yummy foods in Tokyo, I'd like to get my hands on some humous, guacamole, tzatziki, dorito cheesy dip...... And the price of avocado - well, I treat myself to one every couple of weeks, but certainly can't afford to not savour it's pure taste!
In the UK I was a bit of a cheese and wine person (great for someone with dairy and yeast intollerances, but still...) - and shit do I miss them here. I bought some Camembert this evening. Cheese is expensive and there's not a huge deal of choice, though I do buy ready grated something now and then (cheapest way and stops me eating too much of it!). Oh my! How disappointed was I with the Camembert? The texture was just... wrong and where was the flavour? Gutting. Absolutely gutting :(
And as for wine? The choice is limited and it's not cheap. I'm planning a trip to the UK well, vaguely thinking about) next spring when I intend to drink myself into a wine stupour every night. Of course, there's duty free on the way to and from Taiwan to invade tooooooo.
So, and to answer Anshul's question from the other day: not all alcohol is expensive, it's just the choice is limited. When out I tend to drink cassis soda (a blackcurrant liquor drink), shochu (a strong clear spirit made from various different things and lovely with peach or sour or........ many other things), or sake or vodka tonic. In Japanese 'vodka tonic' is 'vodka tonic'. Donno what Gin is. I've not had a G&T since being here. Actually, that's utter bollocks. Rumour has it I was responsible for getting 20 odd people kicked out of a nomihodai (drink as much as you can for a set price) at an Izakaya a few months ago, by ordering too many G&T's. Funny how things like that nearly slip your mind.
Buying bottles of shochu or vodka is pretty cheap at any rate, and beer is cheap.
My favourite soft drinks here include the most wonderul apple juice I've tasted, Pocari Sweat (an energy drink supposedly) and the wonderful bright green melon soda. Tonight though, I bought a bottle of melon sweet. OOOOO WOW!!!!! Tasted most lovely with vodka!
The weather has gone schitzo again. This morning was a beautiful sunny day with a real mid spring feel to it (we've been having really shitty weather recently) and the last few nights I've been sleeping without the blankets on the duvet so it's definitely getting there. We even had lunch outside today. Half an hour later it was raining though and it's now really cold and blustery outside.
While most of Tokyo is being hit really hard by hay fever (allerGies with a hard 'G' if you're one of my students - *giggle* - as in 'I've got a lergy' - never mind, I'm having a moment...), so far I (who have numerous annoying a lerGy's and intolerances, seem to be bearing up pretty well, and haven't had to take more than a couple of antihistamines so far. For Brits, the hay fever season here starts a good couple of months before it does in the UK. Anyway, I'm coping with my mask and am starting to figure out it IS possible to not always steam up my sunglasses whilst wearing mask and sunnies.
I'm not sure what foreigners image is of what the Japanese wear. But I think I was a bit surprised when I got here at just how many people you see wearing kimono. Of course, the number goes up whenever there is a festival or special day and they are truly beautiful. On the feet are worn baggy-ish white silky looking split toe socks and the most uncomfortable looking wooden flipflop (thong) things. Gives girls a very strange walk! Now you do see the odd granny wearing them all the time, but younger people is only for a reason. Oh and apparantly two sets of special underwear are worn under the kimono and the obi (big sash worn outside the kimono) is really uncomfortable which is why you see girls wriggling so much: it loosens them. (I love the things I learn from my students!!!).
Anyway, the Japanese academic year starts in April (unlike September in the UK and, actually I've not idea when everyone else's start!) which means right now there are a lot of university graduation ceremonies going on, and a lot of wonderfully uncomfortable but glammed up kimono'd girls wandering around clutching year books and flower bouquets.
* gaijin = foreigner (I've mentioned this several dozen times though)