Last week was pretty busy overall.  I’m starting the slow process of packing finally, and on top of that there was normal work, verrrrry minimal studying of Japanese for my upcoming shot at the JLPT and J-Test, and visitors from the United States.  It’s starting to finally kick in that I don’t really have that much time left here in the land of ramen vending machines.

We went to Y’s for the first time ever on a Saturday a few weeks ago, the night of the Japan vs Holland game.  I’m not especially a fan of soccer, and that doesn’t change just because it’s World Cup season.  There are a lot of people who are usually as uninterested in the sport as I am, but who have suddenly become obsessed with it since this tournament started.  This phenomenon is funny and slightly annoying in its own right, but let’s not go into that just now.  The plus side to this special Y’s event was of course that it was on a Saturday so we could get a lot more people to come, as opposed to the normal handful of attendees, an even bigger handful of maybes, and followed by a giant armful of people who say they’re going to come and then end up not making it.  We also got a big table in one of the back rooms, which wasn’t all to ourselves but still wasn’t stuck in the middle of the crowd of roaring “fans” in the normal seating area.   That was of course the drawback to the special Saturday event being for the World Cup, since everyone there was primarily there to watch the game, instead of focusing on the usual gluttony fest that is Y’s.  It was of course a good time though, and it was still Y’s, so I guess I shouldn’t complain so much.  Y’s was followed by karaoke until morning, and we had a giant room despite not having so many people.  We were also coincidentally put in the room right next to the Chiba AEON’s party group who were there for Ryan’s farewell party.  They had a lot more people than us but a smaller room, which was funny.  It was a good night despite half of our group being asleep at some point.  Also you have not known true auditory bliss until you’ve heard me sing “Bailamos.”  Of course I’m just joking: it was as horrible as you can imagine.

The following week I ended up going into the city almost every day to meet up with people, including a few IU professors who were visiting Japan with a group of students.  Last Friday was pretty cool because I went with that group on a cruise of Tokyo Bay aboard the Symphony Moderna.  We had a private room and deck on the boat that went around Tokyo Bay for about 2.5 hours or so.  The weather was pretty good and not as ridiculously humid as usual so it was a good night to go around I’d say.  The next day I met up with the infamous Johnny Ho, who was visiting Tokyo on his way back to Taiwan for summer vacation.  I hadn’t really gone around the Ueno area for a long time so it was cool to check things out there.  We found a pretty cheap kushi-katsu and oden place and then spent a really long time at Donki (Don Quixote) which is kind of like the Japanese equivalent of Wal-Mart just because it sells a lot of totally random crap and is open 24 hours a day.  But Wal-Mart doesn’t have a catchy theme song, off-duty hostesses in sweatpants, and it also doesn’t sell products as sketch as Donki sometimes has.  That being said, Donki doesn’t have rednecks or guns, so maybe it’s an even trade-off.

Sunday was the annual Konosuke BBQ at Inage Kaigan, also known as the time of the year when we all get horribly horribly sunburned.  This year’s Yoga-UV-Shangri-la attack wasn’t as bad because it was slightly cloudy and even rained very briefly, but I think most of us still managed to get tan/burned.  I put on sunblock in the morning, but it was the same bottle of sunblock I had bought like 2 years ago for this BBQ and it was getting pretty old I think.  It came out like normal lotion but when I put it on my face I kind of looked like a kabuki actor.  I tried to rub it in and I thought it had blended in pretty well, but of course when I arrived to meet up with everyone I had at least 3 people go “oh my god what happened?  Your face is so white!”  Oops!  Luckily, after standing outside in the sun for about 5 or 6 hours and sweating, the sunblock was pretty much gone and I was just red and sunburned.  Despite that minor hiccup, it was a great BBQ as usual and I had a lot of fun hanging out with a lot of the people there.  After the BBQ we headed to Chiba and did karaoke at the somewhat new Karaoke Kan which was really nice especially compared to the UtaHiro we usually go to.  Then we went to Hub until about 11PM ending out a long, loooooong day.

BBQ 2010 @ 稲毛海岸