Good Evening Ladies and Gentlemen,

1) Last night in Shibuya, an incredibly sweet and adorable young woman, Miss EW rang in her 24th birthday. Friends from all aspects of her life in Tokyo (work, orientation class, shared house) celebrated her birth. Her birthday festivities took place in an American-styled izakaya; the birthday guests were in a private room equipped for belting out karaoke tunes, but all the dishes were American-sized and flavored: fried chicken, greasy onion rings, french fries, and all other sorts of fried foods served on a platter. Every form of alcohol graced the table, but pretty soon tequila made its way to the party …again, and again, and again. The guests all agreed that it was “the best party” they’d been to in ages.

* Miss EW, the birthday girl.

* Mr. DS tried to escape the camera, because he didn’t want to see himself online. How can one be this photogenic and run from a camera? On his right is the funny and clever S. He told us that he regularly encounters Japanese people who express shock when he says that he’s from the U.K, because he’s “too dark” to be British.

* Lovely LB on the left was all smiles, but he certainly made one blogger frown when he chose to sing the The Lion King”s “Can You Feel the Love Tonight?”Thankfully, he righted the wrong and crooned like Jim Morrison moments later.

* Honestly, the men were feeling a bit sappy, because Mr. DS‘s one and only song of the night was Candle in the Wind. I’m not sure if SB, beside him is smiling or terrified at the Elton John overdose.

* D has a voice “like butter.” I’m not sure what he was singing, but it could’ve been spread all over bread. He told us of a friend who “bullfrogs.” FYI: To bullfrog is for a gentleman, the portlier the better, to take off all his clothes, cross his legs, squat, and then hop around biting people… preferably in inappropriate places. D promised to bullfrog, but didn’t… or maybe I only heard the promise in my head.

* RT intentionally throwing up a peace sign, because a comment was made that Japanese people refuse to pose for photos without two fingers in the air. Truth be told, it is quite peaceful here, so maybe…

* To get the waiter’s attention, we had to pull the cord and turn on the red light, which of course led someone to question, “Remember when turning on a red light meant a different kind of party?” (Give me that red light special all through the night. – TLC (Red Light Special))

2) In other news, I’m moving out this week. As much as I adore my housemates, these last five months have proven my mother and others right when they predicted that I wouldn’t be able to share a room for very long. I thought I could do it, especially since my housemates are amazing and nothing but good times have been had in this house, but I failed. Though I’m moving to another shared house, I’ll have a sizeable private room, and it’s only a fifteen minute walk to my job. The rent’s more than Borderless, but my sanity is worth $200, isn’t it?

3) Every time I comb my hair, thoughts of you get in my eyes. – Prince (Erotic City)

In sports news, the chase has ended. My two month crush saga has come to an end. I didn’t confess to my crush or have a big reveal, but I did try to kiss him with no success… and when I say no success, I mean I didn’t get kissed. All I got was cheek. It was a dark moment (literally) and one that should’ve ended well, but came up empty.

My friend B has lifted my mood considerably by joining me in an Indian food frenzy (I’m convinced Indian has uppers mixed in the curry). Today, he gave me a package of Jif peanut butter and jelly, Crest toothpaste, and a real-sized Oral B toothbrush. FYI: The toothbrushes in Tokyo are ridiculously small, and finding dental floss is like mining for gold. We had dinner at a Nepalese restaurant in Suitengumae tonight that’s out of this world (though I hear I have undiscriminating tastes), and I was so excited to go home and brush my teeth. Yes, it’s the little things.

* The grilled special (shrimp, fish, chicken and sausage).

* Indian the day before.

* And a few days before that… Ok, the Indian/Southeast Indian kick has to stop. (Next week).

4) In weather news, Tokyo’s cold and windy. (Get warm already).

The End of Training… and, My First Izakaya

Dear Friends,

The first week of orientation has been successfully completed. My fifteen classmates and I went to training (grammar, presentation, teaching skills, etc.) everyday from 9-5:30p.m. I think Dolly Parton would agree that working 9 to 5:30 is just way too much. There were practice tests and practice demos, training skits, talks from Human Resources about sexual harassment and earthquakes, and a few videos; and by yesterday, we were ecstatic that not only did we finish, but that we survived to enjoy the long weekend (Monday is a holiday– Health and Fitness Day I believe).

Fourteen of us decided that the best way to celebrate a successful, though tiring week, was to go to an izakaya (a Japanese bar/restaurant) in Shibuya, followed, by karaoke. I’ve never been to an authentic karaoke place before, and it really was fantastic. We paid 1500 yen each for a private room and were served unlimited drinks for an hour (or was it two hours?).

* Shibuya– Imagine the NY Times Square crowd times twenty. It’s wall to wall people, pubs, restaurants, karaoke spots, stores… did I say people?

A few of us continued the party a little later into the night with beer, whiskey and wine, so some details of the night are unclear.

I should tell you that the trains in Tokyo stop running a little bit after midnight (some earlier depending on the line), so the night scene starts much earlier than in NY and goes harder. You can well understand the pressure of getting one’s drinks in in a four or five hour block. It is possible to go to a “Love Hotel” after a late night out, but that wasn’t in any of our budgets.

Now that training’s over, we take a final test next Tuesday, and hopefully begin teaching on Wednesday or Thursday.



*Drinking some Makkoli (Korean rice wine)… and I’ll say that it was the Makkoli that was responsible for my later actions.


* E still going hard… dipped into a Lawsons for an Asahi for the walk to karaoke.

* This photo doesn’t even need a caption; it pretty much says it all.

* This guy wasn’t even in our group. He wound up in our room, after someone met him by the bathroom.

* All the pictures were taken from the floor…. not in a fell out drunk kind of way, but in an artistic way.* C rocked it out, and never took his tie off… not after dancing, spinning, and singing “Hotel California.”

Friends, that’s where we’ll leave it. That was the first bit of partying in Tokyo, and judging by the scene, there’re many more great nights to come (I hear C is looking for the hip hop spot). Well done. Please repeat, “Well done.”