May 222005

Well, last night was a surprisingly randomly awesome night!

After finishing my kanji goal in March, I set my sights on vocabulary. Since I arrived here, I’ve been gradually accumulating piles and piles of vocab lists. Whenever I hear a useful word I write it down and stick it somewhere. This is not helping me speak Japanese. So I decided a couple of weeks ago that the time has come for me to go through and learn EVERY word I’ve written down. This one of the main reasons I’ve been spending so much time during my weekends at Starbuck’s lately.

Also, since next weekend is my 23rd birthday, I’d planned to push extra hard and get through as much as possible this weekend so that I can do nothing but party next weekend.

The day went pretty much as expected until around 7:00pm when my brain started to slowly ooze out of my left ear, so I decided that it was time to take a break. Stepping out of Starbuck’s and into the warm night air I instantly new that something was different. There were so many young people out and about, hanging out, talking, drinking, whatever, that I could scarcely make my way down to Kamogawa. I asked someone what was doing on, and they gave me a confused look – “What do you mean? It’s summer.”

Then I heard the unmistakable sound of fireworks overhead. Yes, the summer season has officially started – regular old Lawson’s convenience stores now carry fireworks, and the active spring crowds by which I was once so impressed have been put to shame by the fun and games of summer. If the city had come alive before, I don’t know how to describe what happened to it starting this weekend.

I spent my study break listening to a group of acapella street performers. I was very impressed. Here is a one-minute video I took of some of the songs they did.

While I was watching, a random Japanese girl probably around 28 asked if she could take a picture of me (which I thought was nice, usually they don’t ask – they just snap, and then start giggling and turn away when you notice). I said sure, whatever. We chatted for around 10 minutes while watching the performers, and when they finished she gave me her keitai number and invited me out to dinner a couple of weeks from now. 逆なんされた!

As my friend Yano told me, “Everyone in Japan wants foreigner friends, they’re just usually too shy to talk to them.”

I think the fact that she’d just come from a bar may have helped.

I went back to Starbuck’s around 9:00 and studied until around 11:30, finally deciding that I should start the 45-minute bike ride back home. Yet just as I had unlocked my bike and started to ride, the second unexpected meeting of the night took place.

“Hello!” a young Japanese guy said from behind me.
“Me?” I responded.
“Want hang out have beer?” he said.
Now how could I turn down an offer like that?

They turned out to be just a group of three 20-year-old friends out for the night who loved interacting with the various gajin that pass by. But because they spoke virtually no English, these encounters usually lasted no more than a couple of minutes. They got so excited when I started speaking Japanese that they all gave me their numbers too, and made me promise that we’d go out drinking as soon as I had time. Sweet!

But first, I will learn all of the vocab. Priority #1.

We hung out until 1:30 or so, during which time I translated between them and a few other drunken gaijin who they decided to chat up (which was AWESOME to be able to do, even though my Japanese was, as always, broken and slow).

45 minutes, 4 phone numbers, and 200 vocab words later, I was once again in my comfy bed.

Not bad for a day with no plans other than studying!

  2 Responses to “Unexpected Encounters (VIDEO)”

  1. Let me be the first to wish you a very Happy Birthday. I am so very proud of you my gaijin son!

  2. i’m proud to be the second! a very happy birthday indeed, godson. thinking of you, spitting @me. much love from your godmother xxxxxxxxxx

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