Sunday, October 31, 2004

Halloween in Japan

Well i said that i'd try to post a bit better over the weekend a few days ago, so here is my update for the weekend.

Dinner last night was good fun. The tempura place we went to was very reasonable in terms of price, and it tasted great. Or maybe it's just that i haven't eaten anything deep fried for a while. In anycase, the total bill only came to a bit over 1500 yen per head for dinner!

I spent most of dinner trying to speak to Gou-san in Japanese which was fun - sentences are slowly starting to come out a little bit easier now... But there's still a lot of basic stuff i can't say which gets quite frustrating.

Simone brought her Japanese friend Megumi, who went to the same uni as her back in the states. So she's a fluent english speaker.

This is the ppl i went to eat dinner with last night~ From left to right: Gou; Simone; Megumi; Tony; Kelly; Ji-Hee.


After dinner, it was still early (about 8:30) and seeing as the club only opened at 11pm, everyone was up for some pre-clubbing drinks... We sat around for another 30 or so minutes in the restaurant talking, during which time Hiro-san msged me to ask me where i was. It turned out he was in Shibuya too (okay, maybe that's not so much of a surprise...) and i invited him to come have drinks with us. We met him and a couple of other exchange students at our universal meeting place - Hachiko (i don't think i've ever actually taken a picture of that - i should .... somebody remind me if i don't post one in the next week). Hachiko is the name of this doggy-statue that sits in front of Shibuya station. There's actually even a 'Hachiko exit' which comes out right in front of it. Anyway, that's about the most crowded place in Tokyo, but for some reason we always decide to meet there (just like every other school and university students living in Japan i think).

It was raining reasonably hard by then, and we still hadn't decided on a venue for drinks. Hiro suggested we go to some place that he thought was really cheap; but when we got there the others realised that they'd been going there about once a week and wanted to try somewhere different. In the end we went to some bar called Za-zas (i think) - which isn't the cheapest place but it has a nice atmosphere. All the waitresses were dressed in school uniforms too :) Maybe that was just for halloween tho.

Here are some pics:

Step 1



Step 2



Voila.



Yeah well that's pretty much how we occupied ourselves for the next couple of hours. Unfortunately i wanted to actually go home before the sun came up, and the trains here stop around 12 midnite, so my night was cut a bit shorter than i would have liked. Before i left, we had a bit of fun with some jankenpon (rock-paper-scissors) and alcohol... We bought about 3 or 4 bottles of wine, and it was loser drinks a glass. That got boring after a bit and it turned into loser gets to pick someone to drink a glass. Oh, and Gou-san managed to get a photo with one of the waitresses after losing one of the earlier rounds too~ The picture must be on somebody else's camera tho because i can't find it on mine.

I caught the train back with Gou-san - and i actually took the Toukyuu-Sen which is a different line to my normal one. It means it costs a little bit more, but the upside is that it actually runs all the way to Shibuya (i.e. no line-changing required); meaning more time for me to stay out. The walk back from Hiyoshi station is maybe 5 minutes longer than from Shinkawasaki (my normal station) so i think i'll do that from now on if i'm coming back late.


Today, i actually got up (reasonably) early and went to the Badminton Soukeisen at Hiyoshi. There's a pretty strong alumni mentality here in Japan - as preceding the actual competition was an OB (old boys) match. Only, some of the OBs really aren't that old. For instance, one of the ex-Waseda guys is actually a current Japan national player - who played in the Athens 2004 olympics. Hehe so yeah that was a little bit unfair i think :) In any case, Keio lost the OB match to Waseda 7-5 or something.

The opening ceremony of the 52nd Annual Keio-Waseda Badminton Championship


In between the end of the OB match and the actual Soukeisen, i went down to Hiyoshi station to get some lunch. I decided to have some McDonalds since i think i've only eaten it once while i've been here... I tried some double-big-mac kind of burger which was actually not bad. It's sort of somewhere between Aussy McDonalds and Hungry Jacks. It was filling enough at least.

I managed to get back just in time for the opening of the (real) tournament so i got to see them all standing in lines and listening to the speeches. What was a bit surprising, was how many people are in the Waseda team. There's probably about 30 of them. Keio barely has 10 i think. It looked a bit funny when they were lined up facing each other i must say :)

Although i think the numbers sort of show the depth of talent that Waseda has, and Keio lacks. We got absolutely pounded. Out of all the matches that were played (and there was probably about 20 matches), Keio won a total of 1 set. We lost every other match 2-0; and most of them were scores like 15-2; 15-1. Looking at the Waseda guys play, they didn't really look that great, but i think the lack of match practice sort of showed the Keio team up a bit today. The top players from Waseda though are at least state if not lower-end national level back in Australia. The girls from Waseda are crazy though. Apparently this year Waseda's girls team won the national university championship... So yeah they're pretty good.

The last match was the captains game. Which turned out to be quite interesting in the end - as it was a lot closer than any of the other matches somehow - despite the fact that the Waseda no.1 was apparently Japan no.1 back in highschool or something. Maybe our no.1 is better than i thought ~ We were a bit unlucky to lose the first 15-13; but in the second a couple of mistakes crept in at the wrong time and we went down 15-8.

It's really nice to see the team spirit here though - the whole Keio team was lined up on one side of the court, with Waseda on the other. Plenty of noise happened between points i can assure you :)

Now for some more pix:

I just thought the blurry racket looked cool :) This was a shot from the captains match - the guy smashing is the Waseda no.1; the guy on the other end is Keio's no.1



This is everyone who took part waiting for the group photo



Yeah so that's my day. And some of last night. Now, i have all this stupid homework to do for tomorrow. Which is the other thing - i'm still not sure what's happening with class exactly tomorrow. I know that Keio actually won the baseball Soukeisen today, but i'm not sure if play actually went ahead on Saturday (i.e. i don't know if there's another game tomorrow). I think i'll go try to figure that out now... ~

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