Saturday, November 25, 2006

More happenings

24.11.06 10.44am
At the moment I’m on the shinkansen bound for Okayama (where I will change to another shinkansen to take me the rest of the way to Hiroshima). Which is actually very very lucky. At the station gate this morning I managed to drop my shinkansen tickets along with various other important documents (like my plane ticket home) without realizing it. But Japan being Japan, the ticket gate operator picked it up and followed me all the way to the platform to give it back. I think I shall always remember this trip as being the epitome of luckiness if such a thing exists.

Anyway, my time here is definitely going too quickly already. While I was on the plane here by myself, I was thinking 3 weeks might be a bit long to spend by myself in Japan. I’m starting to realize it’s not even enough to really see half my friends properly.

I hadn’t planned very much for yesterday at all when I got up in the morning. Of course there ended up being more than enough to do in the end.

The only thing I had originally decided on was to go see Yuri perform as part of the Keio Unicorns (cheer/song leading circle) as part of the annual ‘Mita-sai’ festival at Keio Uni. I’ll try to stick some pictures up from the performance which was pretty awesome later on.

While I was waiting for the performance to start I took the opportunity to have a proper look around the rest of Keio Uni. Must say it really hasn’t changed all that much from last year. Although, unlike the time I came to Mita-sai when I was on exchange, I actually had a look around the rooms inside and was treated to some pretty good musical performances – ranging from j-pop style female vocalists to jazz groups. While foreigners tend to enjoy poking fun at Japanese uni culture for its lack of rigorous academic focus, I think most Japanese students more than make up for it with the level of co-curricular involvement. At least from my experience, Australian university students on the whole are generally incredibly uninvolved in any sort of club/society/interest group while at university. Which really is a shame. At Mita-sai the number of stalls/circles that are set up and run by the societies is really quite amazing. I mean there’s enough that they fill up a lot of the Mita campus (both inside classrooms and outside in the courtyards).

Anyway, after Yuri’s performance and some takoyaki from a stall named ‘EcDonalds’ (complete with a red sign with the golden arches turned sideways), I decided to go visit my old club while I was on exchange, the Keio badminton-bu – without really telling any of them I was coming. I somehow managed to pick the day when both the 監督 (kantoku: manager) and quite a few OBs (‘old boys’: guys who have finished their time at the club because they’ll soon be graduating/have graduated) happened to be at training. The 監督 only comes once a week usually, and most of the OBs don’t turn up to training very often at all so it was quite a coincidence. I really can’t explain how 懐かしい it felt being back there yesterday.

The other completely out of the blue thing that happened there (yes, I know, my blog for the rest of my trip looks like its destined to be full of these) was I found out one of the ex-members is probably coming to Melbourne Uni next year. Really looking forward to having some Keio-sei back home again…

After training most of the old crew took me out to have shabu-shabu at モパラ in 自由が丘. I wish my Japanese was better when I was on exchange because it’s only now that I’m starting to understand all the jokes and insults that fly around when we eat together haha. Being ‘all you can eat’ I think we all ate way too much. And we somehow decided to end the already huge meal with a chocolate parfait for dessert (which was soooo good). Ah I’m going to miss the food too.

Oh and that reminds me why I was so annoyed with the average level of service back home when I got back form exchange. There were about 11 of us there last night, and when we all ordered the same thing for dessert they ran out of ice cream to make it. But unlike the regular ‘I’m lazy and only working for someone else (and not being paid enough)’ attitude that is the norm in Australia, they sent someone out at 10.30pm to go buy some more ice cream so that we didn’t have to change our order. That is service.

That’s probably enough blog for today. Till next time.


Mel said...

Hi Age!
Hehe glad to see you're having such a good time...and talk about being lucky! Oh and i'm so jealous of the food you're eating! yummmm....

As for the quality of customer service, i really wish the French would follow the example of the Japanese. Seriously, i reckon that in general it's worse than in Oz. Cos here not only do u have lazy (and arrogant) ppl, but they have a load of rules/procedures to justify their behaviour. It's so darn frustrating! Ok well that's my rant for the day. Haha.

Anyway, take care and keep in touch!


Cmonski said...

WAHHHHHHHHHH Age you're back in Tokyo for visits??? :D :D :D You should totally look Fabien up man! I hung out with him (and also with Henry and Jerry) back in the summer!! He's back there working for a French bank! Let me know if you don't have his contact :D


Ben said...

Are you going back to Tokyo? Did I tell you Rim and Melanie are in Osaka? Did you see Satoshi? .........If you go back to Tokyo you must go and eat マグロ丼。鮭丼もいい。慶應の周りの店で。その後で、you have to tell me how good it is. Even if it's so much better. I need to know Adrian. It might tear my heart apart, but I need to know. And since the flights over there are 高すぎる、the least I can do is go see Matthias soon. Can you believe he lives in Germany and can pretend like he's in Japan? The nerve.

Have FUN!!!!!

p.s. I moved and it's wonderful. The pope's livened up the last days too.