Stu the Mule
Trip Start Sep 25, 2002
40Trip End May 15, 2004
Week 12 (1.9 - 1.15.03) - Not much to say here. I found out my friend Kim and her husband will move to Shanghai, China in April for a 6-month work project! We have spoken a bit about meeting up in Beijing to check out the Great Wall and the Forbidden City, so that was exciting news
Week 13 ( 1.16 - 1.22.03) - I went out to a local izakaya with Stu from Australia, nicknamed Stu the Mule by me for no particular reason. Stu and I get along really well and it's a shame he's leaving so soon because there's no doubt he and I would have become good friends. Stu was on the Australian Olympic taekwondo team before injuring his knee and deciding to come work in Japan. Anyway, as it was his second to last night of work we decided to go for a bit of food and a few beers at a local izakaya. Well, we were having such a good time that time flew by rather quickly and I was running out of time to catch my train and catch my connection to get home, so off I bolted for the station. Being as late as it was (11:30 - late in Japanese train time), there were no express trains running, only local ones, which kind of changes the destination of a select few, which, of course, I happen to get on one of these unique trains and end up at some random station south of where I need to be. Anyway, by the time I get back up to the correct station it's apparent that there's no way I'll be making my connecting train to get home, so I end up calling a fellow co-worker, Joe, since he lives close to where I was and crashing at his place. That's the thing here, if you miss your train you're screwed! Anytime someone leaves we generally have a "sayonara" party for them, just to get together and have fun really. Stus' sayonara party was this Sunday, so we met up at a bar in Kobe after work. I can't remember the name, but it was your basic beer and burger joint. So there are people from our school and people from another school where Stus girlfriend, Donna, worked. To make a long story short, I met these 3 Japanese girls who all speak English very well. Satsuki, Iku, and Naoko were all local Kobe University students. Iku and Naoko were leaving the country soon to study, Iku in ?Australia and Naoko in Oregon. Satsuki had studied in Germany a year ago and all of them were pretty fun. We got into an intense game of "Janken", basically rock-paper-scissors, which is actually a huge cultural phenomenon over here. They use Janken as a drinking game, to settle arguments, and even in business dealing with the winner not having to deal with further argument...the winner is right, no questions!! Interesting that they use what we think of as a kids game as a serious resolution to conflict! Anyway, after the bar we decide to just stay out all night and karaoke or something. After walking around awhile, we come across this place that, because of the size of our group, will let us in for the rest of the night with drinks for what was about $20 per person! (Y2500) There we are in this private karaoke room pounding drinks and wailing American tunes through the karaoke system from 12:00 to 5 am! Sounds strange, but it was a good time...I'm just thankful the next day was one of my days off.