I’m attempting to cover the highlights of the past two weeks or so, which was pretty much just one weekend (March 24~26).

Ari came to visit Japan about a week and a half ago, beginning his long Asia trip. Bryan was able to take like an entire week off from work, so he came down from Ibaraki 2 weekends ago when Ari got in. First night was spent pretty proper; Umaimonya (旨いもん屋) in Chiba followed by all-night karaoke at Utahiro with those two (Gaijin Voltron) and Blanchard. Everything was going fairly normal at karaoke until the door was opened and hallway singing began again. this guy groped my friendsThat was actually fine except for some weird drunk Japanese guy coming in and groping Brian and Bryan (see pic). He later returned a few times to put on terrible songs like Jack Johnson or some other stuff like that. We eventually got rid of him and he never came back.

I don’t know why I try to do all-nighters after waking up at 8AM and working all day on Saturdays, because I always end up getting super tired around 3 or 4AM and fall asleep. Anyway, at 5 we left the karaoke place and Blanchard grabbed a taxi back to his place. Me Ari and Bryan made the painful hike to Chiba station in anticipation of the first train. The post-all-nighter walk to the station wasn’t as bad as in the winter since the weather is warmer now. Unfortunately we were too tired to wait for McDonald’s to open at 6:30 for breakfast, so we grabbed the Uchibo Line back to Goi and crashed on my floor for a few hours.

After only sleeping for about 4 or 5 hours we got up and headed to Makuhari for the “Jumbo Flea Market.” Talk about disappointing. It was only in 1 hall of the Messe, which was actually fairly big, but the things that people were selling were awful. There was an overabundance of womens clothing and socks. None of the bikes, sofas, toys, or video games that I was hoping for. And no samurai swords to send home to my dad. Defeated, still tired, and now hungry, the 3 of us headed back towards Kaihim station. It was also now raining pretty hard, but luckily thanks to the covered walkways we were able to make it all the way from Makuhari Messe to Plena without getting wet until the very last leg, where we had to take a few steps in the rain. Along the way we were trying to decide on what to get to eat, and somehow all got in the mood for omurice (オムライス), which is a weird Japanese dish. It’s pretty much fried rice inside of an omelette, and many times this is then covered by either ketchup, curry sauce, or beef stew. And yes it is delicious.

Spend the day in Makuhari, playing in all 3 arcades and hitting up Carrefour. That night I had company-paid-for dinner with my school staff (thanks to some prize money from the head office or something), and we had decided on going to Taiyourou (太陽樓), that Chinese buffet in Plena. Ari and Bryan headed off to drink with Shin-san and a bunch of other Spring 05 IES kids who were in town for vacation/Kanda grad. Dinner was really good, although I was pretty tired after the previous night and the lack of sleep. After dinner and playing around in some arcades (again) with my co-workers, I headed out to meet up with Shin-san and everyone at a ramen shop in Shin-Narashino. After that we headed back to my place, stopping at Jusco on the way at Inage Kaigan because I thought they would have bath towels for Ari and Bryan to use, since I didn’t have any extras. Since only the grocery store section of Jusco was open at 11PM, they had no bath towels so they guys made due with what they could find: cleaning towels. They each bought a bag of towels to use the next day. Note to self next time I plan on having guests: get some real guest towels.

Good to be back at Y'sMonday we slept late and went to Kappa in Hamano for some binge sushi eating. That night was the main event; finally a return to Y’s in Makuhari. I hadn’t been there since August, and for Ari and Bryan it had been even longer. Had reservations at the usual center counter courtesy of an e-mail to Matsushita-san. It was a great time. Had a pretty decent turnout, with Duy and Minami coming and people Bryan invited from Ibaraki. Food and drink was of normal standards, with the fried food, salads, Pocky, Nikka, yakitori, random mystery meat, and the dessert tray near the end that caused every female in the place to jump and race to the buffet. After closing we just loitered outside the Techno Garden for a while before most everyone headed into Tokyo while I went home to crash since I had to work the next morning. All in all a successful Y’s night. If they’re open during Golden Week, I think I’m going to definitely try and organize another.

Most of the week following (March 27~31) was pretty much spent recovering from a long sleep-deprived weekend and also battling a slight cold. Ari and Bryan spent most of the week in Tokyo. Since I can’t really take days off, I unfortunately had to miss all that. This past weekend, however made up for it, since I met up with them again for sakura and also the weirdest festival ever. This post is already way too long, though, so I’ll put it in it’s own blog entry to follow.