Saturday, July 28
After work the staff from Sagami-Ono and Hon-Atsugi schools joined forces for a party. We convened at an izakaya after worked and had a few drinks.
I went first with Masayo, Amina, and Luke to get seats. We had a good time waiting for the others. Unfortunately the management at my school stayed late at the office. And the folks from Atsugi are far from punctual. After two hours of waiting everyone was present. This was enough time for the newcomers to order a drink and for me to finish mine. I said goodbye to everyone ten minutes after the party had started.
I’m getting too old to stay out late drinking. Even if it is a Saturday night!
Sunday, July 29
It’s summertime! What better way to beat the heat than for a swim!
Mari and I returned to the beach on Sunday. Back to Sagami Bay (相模湾). This time we visited Katase-Enoshima beach. The trip was both fast and cheap from my apartment, 40 minutes and ¥ 350! We set up camp on the beach and raced to the water. The water was much warmer than our visit just two weeks before. We splished and splashed until our skin turned light pink.
Clothes back on we visited a local restaurant for lunch. Sashimi for Mari, tempura for me. We made our way home and had pizza for dinner. By night’s end it had been an easy but long day under the sun.
How I do love the summer.
Monday, July 30
I woke with a sunburn. I’ve got to stop using cheap sunscreen.
I met up with Moto and Luke in Machida on Monday afternoon. We went shopping for clothes. We each needed a jinbei (甚平) for a coming school party. Jinbei is traditional Japanese clothing meant for the summer. They’re rather informal, akin to pajamas. The more formal option would be a yukata (浴衣). Traditional Japanese clothing is awesome and I suggest you do some further reading.
I met up with the boys to buy our cheap clothes from a cheap store, Don Quixote (ドンキホーテ). After shopping we got some afternoon beers at an afternoon price. We started to feel saucy. Karaoke (カラオケ)! We spent an hour singing until our vocal cords cracked.
Outside the sun was still up. Better have one more beer, just to be safe.
We visited a liquor shop and each bought a pint of local beer. We moseyed outside the station and set up shop. We drank our beers and did some people watching. Just as I finished my last sip of ale the sun set. The timing couldn’t have been better.
Back at home I cooked a big pot of curry for the coming week’s lunch. It had been a good day with the boys and I felt loose. Time for another week of work.
Saturday, August 4
Saturday was our school summer party! I wore my jinbei all day while teaching. It felt so very relaxing.
After work we took our students to an izakaya for two hours of drinking, eating and talking. Many students wore yukatas or hawaiian shirts. Mari even came to the party in a yukata. She looked stunning!
I bounced around tables all through the party talking with everyone and playing host. Soon the party was over and we migrated to our regular second party place, Manchester Cafe. You’ve heard me rant about this place before. Well the service was again so poor that Moto and I swore we’d never return. Not no way, not no how.
All told it was a good day. I was exhausted by the end of it and promptly crashed into my futon when back home.
Sunday, August 5
Sunday was the beginning of my Obon holiday. Obon is traditional Japanese holiday honoring deceased ancestors. More recently it’s been a holiday for traveling. I took a little time off to make the holiday 12 days long this year.
The first day of Obon I spent with Mari in Yokohama. We did some light shopping and tramped around the city. My nose and allergies were particular bad so I spent the majority of the day with a surgeon’s mask on my face. I think I’ll be seeing a doctor. This summer has turned my nose into a faucet.
As miserable as it was to use a whole box of tissues in eight hours, I had a good day with my girlfriend. We’re both excited for next weekend when our holidays overlap. More to come.
We are in full swing of the 2012 London Olympics right now. Nine days have passed and the competition is fierce. Watching the Olympics in a foreign country has been really interesting and worth documenting. So, here we go!
Time difference. There is an eight hour difference between Tokyo & London time. This means most of what we see here is prerecorded. And when something is recorded it can be heavily edited. And it is. The whole broadcast is focused exclusively on the Japanese competitors. As it should, it’s for a Japanese audience. However huge swaths of the games are edited out if it doesn’t immediately pertain to the Japanese. Forget about other nationalities. Family reactions are entirely cut out of the performances. Back stories to athletes don’t really exist. I feel like a horse with blinders on.
Events. I’ve watched a lot of the broadcast so far. More than most people. To date I’ve seen 12 events: judo, table tennis, swimming, badminton, gymnastics, soccer, archery, hockey, fencing, marathon, volleyball, basketball. I’m not exaggerating when I say that 73% of the focus has been on Judo. 5% table tennis, 5% swimming, 5% badminton, 5% gymnastics, and everything else 1%. They showed every weight class of judo for both sexes. Every round. If I never see a judo match again it will be too soon.
Enthusiasm. Most Japanese people are interested in the Olympics. People talk about it. Advertisements are everywhere. National athletes are national heroes.
Evaluation. The Japanese presentation of the Olympics is pretty slick. It’s a little nationalistic, but that’s what the Olympics are about, right? I know for a fact that in the States NBC is editing the games to foster feelings of patriotism. I can only imagine how North Korea, Iran or even China present the broadcast. In the end I can give the Japanese Olympics an approval. The country, for its faults, does want to be a part of the international community. And the Olympics are certainly a part of that.
On a final aside, Tokyo has made the shortlist for the 2020 Olympics. If all goes well the games will be here in eight more years. Fingers crossed!