Izakaya

Time for another blog. Today is October first and I still don’t have internet, but I’m hoping to hop onto the campus wifi tomorrow and get pictures and whatnot uploaded.  I suppose if I do that, this blog will go up too.  This time I’ll be less abstract and tell you about how I’ve been doing.

First off, I have successfully moved into my dorm room.  The campus isn’t actually in Hiroshima city, the one you probably know, but is in Saijo, a part of Higashi Hiroshima.  My dorm has a nice view of the mountains and is a rather scenic ten minute walk from the campus itself.  At night you can hear the crickets all over the place.

This is actually my first time living outside of my parent’s house.  However I’ve never minded being home alone, rather, I’ve always enjoyed a bit of solitude.  I’m not feeling homesick yet, though I’ve heard rumors about the sounds of girls crying in the showers beneath the sound of music.  At this point what I miss most of all is my friends – shortly followed by Western style showers.  I’d rather just stand under a steady jet of water than have to hold the showerhead the whole time!  But then, that’s such a small thing to complain about.

I love the people in the program with me.  I know them all now, and since getting a Japanese cell phone (even the cheap ones are super cool by the way), I’ve gotten a lot of their numbers.  I think my favorite part of this program is that there are people literally from all over the world.  There are sometimes so many languages going on at once, and I think it’s great.  I’ve always loved languages and trying to pick up words here and there.  Maybe now I can learn some French, German, and Indonesian, along with Japanese of course.  On a slightly related note, I’ve come to love people from England.

Maybe for that one I’ll talk about my first 飲み放題(nomihodai) experience.  Nomihoudai is the Japanese word for, I suppose, “all you can drink”.  You get all the food you want, also.

As a group, the students in my program along with whatever Japanese students who wanted to tag along, we all went to an 居酒屋(izakaya),or a Japanese-style pub.  It was a cute and very Japanese traditional place.  The group of us, probably 40 or so large, took up half of the bar.  I wondered what the other Japanese customers were thinking – we were making a ruckus from the moment we got in, and the place didn’t lend to much privacy.

We started by ordering food – of note was the fried chicken (the Japanese name I’ve since forgotten), which tasted like the chicken of a Chinese place back in Minnesota I’m quite fond of, and the sashimi.  Then of course came the drinks.  It was my first time legally drinking, since the drinking age in Japan is a year below that in America.  Naturally I had to take advantage of this.  I’m sure several of the other students in the program did the same, since most of us are twenty.

When everyone got their first drink we did かんぱい(kanpai), or cheers.  I think the restaurant literally shook when we all shouted it.  And that, I suppose, was us really welcoming in the new experience.

I myself didn’t get too drunk, but it was sort of amusing to see how the pictures in my camera show everyone’s ‘progress’.  Apparently with enough alcohol you can persuade any British person to make (very amusing) a toast (part of the reason why I like Brits), and Japanese people start chanting, “USA! USA!” (to whom I asked, ‘Are you really Japanese?’).  There was also one guy who kept insisting he wasn’t drunk until later that night, when he put his head down on a table and admitted, “Maybe I am drunk.”

After leaving the izakaya we went to karaoke.  It was funny – on the way one of my Japanese friends pointed out all the izakaya between the one we were at and the karaoke place.  Apparently this small city doesn’t have much to do besides drink.

Lots of people went to sing, but by the end there were only six of us.  Probably because we somehow got the room for four hours.  By the end all of us had lost our voices.  We weren’t out of there until five in the morning.

It was a good way to kick things off.  I got to meet a lot of people.  This way I won’t be lonely while I stay here.

Of course I have to do more than go drinking and karaoke’ing while I’m here.  Now is the time for me to start registering for classes.  The system here is strange to me.  I have to go to class before signing up, and if I want the class I have to get a professor’s signature.  Most of my classes will be in English, but I’m trying to take Korean with Japanese students in order to improve both languages at once and meet Japanese people with possibly the same interests as me.  I figured that since I’ve taken some Korean in the past, it’ll be something I can do in a language other than my native tongue.

I have lots of paperwork to finish.  Once I get it all done and get into a normal routine I’m sure things will go much smoother.  I’m looking forward to that.  I am excited to see what this experience will do to me.  I think it will be nothing but positive.

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~ by megumiwasframed on October 1, 2010.

One Response to “Izakaya”

  1. Yes…love us Brits! But I dance when I’m drunk, I don’t make toasts ;)
    Sounds like you’re having an amazing time, I’d be so nervous if I were in your position, but you seem so calm and in control, it’s great. Good luck finishing the paperwork, hope everything continues to be brilliant :D
    xxx

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