ben griffiths
an insight into the mind of a genius

Posts Tagged ‘dot’

The weekend has landed….

Thursday, March 16th, 2006

Wow! Next day sure takes a long time to arrive! :) Why haven’t I updated since last Wednesday, well, the easiest answer is that I haven’t yet actually been home!! Or at least, if I have been, not really been in a fit state of mind to type something insightful (though thinking about it, it would probably quite insightful into how I was feeling at the time… haha)

So let’s begin with the Wednesday night then and Vanessa’s leaving party.

After work, due to everyone finishing at different times, we all met up at the nearby Seigo Fraidos (or however you say it) before moving to the first main stop of the night - a local izakaya, whose manager is actually a Nova student! (though I didn’t know this at the time) Once there, it was basically the usual izakaya experience (order drinks, then snack food - usually fried potato, fried chicken etc) - though i remember the umeshuu was particularly good :D
That done, we had about an hour and a half until last trains - so it was decided to head out to karaoke, for “one last sing song” as it were. The place chosen was smack opposite the train station, making quick exits possible and, whilst looking pretty grim from the corridoors, had pretty ok rooms. One extra cool thing was the “song pick computer”, unlike the usual karaoke affair, this one had a full colour screen and even let you play space invaders on it!

As is usually the case when alcohol is involved, the plans were soon changed, as come last train - no one wanted to head back “just yet”. This however left the agonising question - “reluctantly finish the night off now” or “stay out until first train at 5am”. Admitedly, it wasn’t such a big deal for me due to my late starting times anyway - though for the others it was more of an issue. However, the “all nighter” was the chosen option, made even better by the arrival of Hisako (the new Yumi) - you only need to check the photo gallery to see how good a time was had by all ;) With the drinks flowing all night (and some hilarious poses shown off by Mark!!)


I got home by about 6am or so - then a wonderful sleep in until around 3pm, when it was time to get back into work. Hisako had to start at 10, and when I arrived at Nova - it was pretty plain to see she hadn’t had much sleep :) “Late night?” ….. lol.

Friday after work, once again it had been arranged to go to “Dot” in Shimo, so when I was able to finally clock off at 7:30, it was direct to the bar we went :) This time, we were joined by Toshi, Ryoko and Shimpei but also the return of Yumi!! Hurrah! It was decided that although we made pretty good use of the nomihodai last time, this time we should do better - so a 15 drink target was applied to the night. I’m also pleased to say that we made this target (and above) and come 11:40, we were well and truly merry. Seiko and Ryoko then wanted to go to a club, however I thought perhaps I should try and save some money, so instead went with the rest of the gang to another izakaya (the one i had gone with Shimpei to previously) - were, yup, more drinks ensued.

We also had a game of “Suishi Roulette” - where basically you order 5 of the same sushi dishes, however one of them is laced with loads of wasabi (hot). I think it’s pretty obvious from this picture who the “unfortunate” was ….


Finally, I think at about 3am or so, I couldn’t stay awake, so we all left, splitting up with Yumi half way as she went back to her house, and us to ours :)
Saturday had the obligitary lie in, followed by the obligatory do nothing for the rest of the day (though not much was actually left!) until Seiko got home in the evening, bringing with her a bottle of umeshu for me :) Go Seiko! This actually was nicely timed, as I had just started to do some mixing - and the added alcohol went down a treat. So well in fact, that an hour later when we were due to leave, I was quite drunk ;)
So first stop of the Saturday night was Sangenjaya where we went looking down the “cheap street” for somewhere to grab some food and a few extra drinks. We settled on a really traditional looking izakaya, which had the full “shoes off, tatami mat” experience, and also, had a large selection of drinks.

I ordered the Umeshu Sour (suprise, suprise) and a few minutes later, was greeted with the following sized tankard…! :eek:

Yup! That’s not a photoshop, it really was that massive! Seiko opted for the beer, and whilst although there was an equal sized glass available, she instead chose the “more wimpy” pint :D
3 glasses (or pitchers or whatever you call something that size) later, and finally it was time to head out to Roppongi - first stop “Hub” to get in a few drinks, before we really hit the town… lol… no actually, to get a few “cheap” drinks in, before we moved on to an old haunt “Hideout” - which had been recently closed for repairs.

It’s funny I guess, when writing a blog entry about going out clubbing, there really isn’t much you can say. I guess I can say where, and if anything exciting happened, but there’s not really much else one can add. So here, look at some photos of some fire breathing by the bar staff instead! :D

Shortly after all this went off, the amount of alcohol finally got too much for me, and i had to make my excuses and head to the toilets where I stayed for the next hour or so, until i was able to stand (using the word very loosely) and get back to the safe chair by Seiko. By now, trains had started and I really wanted to get back - however Seiko was now getting friendly with some new bloke, so I left them too it and headed off to the cloakroom.

Memory here still a little hazy, though I just remember someone tapping me on the shoulder and saying “come with me”, which seemed like a good idea at the time - so I followed (or rather was led) by a girl out of hideout and into a next bar where more alcohol was had, before then heading to ANOTHER bar!! By this time, I had managed to start on the water, so was feeling a bit better - though still not completely with it.

The girl (whose name was Chie) worked as a hostess in one of the clubs in roppongi and had just finished work when she popped down to the club (she explained) and had just noticed me toterring around by the door :) hehe … anyway, come 8am and i *really* needed to get home, so arranging to meet her on Monday, I made my excuses and left, so stagger home to a much needed sleep! :)
But! It doesn’t end there. Waking up at 5pm, I then had to rush to get ready for Mark’s birthday meal, which was going to be held at the French restaurant we had gone before. Even worse (or better, depending how you want to look at it) was it was another nomihodi :eek: I would have actually liked to have opted out, but due to the fact I had to pay 5000yen to go to it, this hardly seemed like a sensible option ;)
The food at this place is exceptional, I have never had such fancy stuff, but it was all amazing, including something was aparently some exploded liver or stomach or something of a force fed animal, erm, I forget it’s name - something like “Far Gwah”?, but it’s delicious, I don’t care where it came from :) Luckily, some of the others didn’t agree with this, so left there’s… perfect! Oh oh oh! Plus of course, the meal wouldn’t have been complete without the lamb, and let me tell you, it was just as delicious as before, though this time there was more…. MUCH more…


Mmmmmmmmmmm….. just thinking about it again is making me hungry :) So the food done and drinks newly topped up, we headed downstairs (the main room was upstairs) where the last task of the night was to give the cake….


At about 10:30, it was time for the poor chef to get some rest (he had opened just for us) - so we headed off to Asso to get some “goodbye” coffees, where the talk went on for an hour or so - after which, it was finally time to say our goodbyes :)
Whew, almost there :)
So Monday, with work being “normal” (I no longer think I need to really write about it anymore - everyday is the same now) - though after I had arranged to meet with Chie, so headed off to Shibuya and Hachiko at about 9:30. As neither of us had eaten, first stop was a restaurant of some sorts. Due to it being absolutely freezing outside and Chie only wearing a light jacket, anywhere close seemed like a good idea - so we settled on “Lockup” (readers of my previous blog will remember it as the place where you get handcuffed and led to your table, which is actually a prison cell). The cells were all full this time though, so we had to make do with the “cave bar” - which I guess needs no explaining (it was a cave). :)
They were running a current special promotion there, which involved a load of new cocktails and “potions” (you got them in test tubes and science beakers). One in particular looked quite interesting, so, despite the warnings from the staff that it was very strong - I decided to order it anyhow. When it arrived, it looked quite harmless. Just a simple clear liquid, however as soon as you smelt it, you realised it was going to bite a lot worse than it could bark :eek:
One sip was all that was required to know that things were going to now get very interesting, no sooner had it started to go down my throat, then it started to burn - and burn a lot! However (and perhaps looking back this was not such a wise decision) not wanting to waste any money, it was decided I should just down it to quickly get rid of it and then follow it up with an umeshu chaser! So I did……. and once the burning had subsided (and the umeshu had taken away all the nasty taste) - we grabbed the bill and headed off back into the night to the nearby “Gas Panic” nightclub to use up the last few hours before the train departed.

And…. here begineth a usual tale…. ;) Once in GP, a round of shots was ordered, followed by some cocktails and then a bottle of champagne (!?!? don’t ask….) and then of course, the drink of before kicked in….. come last train, i was past caring and indeed it was about 3:30 by the time I had regained enough sense to work out where I was :) (and take this photo of the cool tissue dispenser…)


I was also now pretty knackered and didn’t want to hang around at the club anymore, so we once again braved the cold and headed out into the (relatively empty) streets of Shibuya. And then froze. So very quickly ran into a nearby karaoke building, hired a room ……. and went to sleep :)
Believe it or not, Tuesday I actually DIDN’T go out ;) Instead, staying an hour or so after work to talk with Haruna about random Nova topics :)
The 14th of March in Japan is actually “White Day” or the woman’s valentines (not sure if I wrote before, but valentines is for men in Japan - they don’t get the woman a gift) - however in our household it was reversed, so when I got back, I had the following waiting for me :)

Oishiiiiii! :D Infact, I am just finishing it off now - and jolly nice it is too :)
So, rar, I think I’ve done it - once again up to date. I got paid today (luckily) so am safe in the knowledge that I didn’t overspend toooo much ;) Though I definately don’t have any “over” money, so will have to be very strict this month. I think I will lie low for the rest of the week (yes, all two days of it) - so don’t expect much (if anything) - and i then have just Friday night out, due to work on Sunday…… however, that should be my last Sunday working for a while (fingers crossed).

So all that’s left to say is well done for struggling through this entry, I hope you have enjoyed reading about my week as I did living it :)

Hi ho, hi ho, it’s back to work I go

Thursday, March 2nd, 2006

Well back I am here in the wonderful city that is Tokyo. Do you detect some sarcasm in my voice? No, I don’t think so - though being back in London has made me think how much a better place it is :p
First I should write the obligatory - OH HOW I MISS EVERYONE - which I really do mean. It was so nice to catch up with everyone again, be able to sit in a bar and make jokes without having to explain them in precise detail, sit at home on a SOFA!! (like OMG!!! ;)) and spend time with Mum + Dad.

I was thinking in the shower earlier, it doesn’t matter what people say - you can have a great a place as you could ever imagine, but without your good friends there, it will never be perfect. On the flip side, you can take an awful place, but as long as your good friends are there - you will always be happy.

I was reflecting on the last few years and uni. I didn’t really go in, so didn’t get the chance to meet the hundreds of people that is usual for a uni adventure, but i was very lucky in the fact that the few people i did meet are really great people… i guess i was lucky - and that was my point - how can a place where you have to study be any good? but add in a few great people and suddenly everything is ok :)
Ah the memories, going to uni (well almost, over the road) and just sitting in Ruks room (after climbing in through the window when she is changing of course) - guys, I would like to send out a bit “w000000t!” to (in alphabetical! :p) alex, greg, judge, nat & ruks plus of course the amazing Mr Fish (Lawrence) who joined in with the uni antics as best he could (when he could get there on time that is!) - without you lot, uni would have just been “something to pass the time”, but you lot made it a happy experience… to friendship forever, hurrah! :D
So, the mushy stuff done, what’s been happening to me.

Well, I’ve been back almost 2 weeks now so what great things have I done.

First biggest news I guess is that I have left Japanese school! :eek: Why you may ask?! Well, I was fed up of not ever having any money / not being able to go out with the work people due to school the next day - and really wanted to do something about it.

My new motto is: Stop existing and START LIVING!

So this is what I have done, in the last week, my daily funds have jumped from £7 a day to a more reasonable £15 - and I have been out about 3 or 4 times with the work crew. I know, it sounds trivial, but I hadn’t been able to do it before - so this was quite a big thing.

Don’t worry though, I don’t intend to give up on Jap, Seiko has agreed to teach me (well it was actually her idea) plus I have been hot on the websites looking for language exchange students. At the moment, finding someone who is a low level English student is quite difficult (most are high level) as I need someone low so that there is no danger of flicking into English….. My aim is to have found maybe 2 or 3 by the end of the Month, I’ve got a load of replies already - just need to get around to mailing them back!

What else, hmmm… last weekend was quite amusing actually. Due to the time off I took, I have been having to work each Sunday (so this one too) - which meant I have just Friday nights to go out. Last Friday then I was to meet Seiko in Roppongi after she had had a meal with some friends, to go drinking. I got all ready, and from about 11pm started the labourious journey to Roppongi. When within one station of it (after 3 trains worth of changing) - I get an email “I feel really sick, can we go home!” - hehe - so basically, I walked out the station, and into a cab which took us back home!!! hahaha…. Not really wanting to waste the whole night though, I decided to go and meet up with Shimpei in Shimokitazawa, so told the driver to wait until we got Seiko in the house, before jumping back in to meet up with Shimpei at a very nice izakaya (the joys of having some money!!!) - the izakaya itself was actually pretty cool, with a load of shelves all around the bar with various nicknacks on them, including a large collection of puzzle games (the type where metal shapes are joined together and you have to split them up) - we ate and drank, then proudly left at about 3am with all the puzzles unlocked and strewn over the bar…! hurrah!

Ah I know, I haven’t mentioned the room change. Well this has been completed now, so I now am in Seiko’s old room. I should take some more photos when I get the chance. So it’s all happy sailing now…. actually, not really - but i think i’m just going to have to live with it… hehe… i can imagine the grief i would get if i said something now!

Firstly, there is no day light in the room, so even now, its really sunny outside, yet I am sitting here with the light on!! Problem is then that I never wake up! I wake, see it’s still dark so go back to sleep… I can’t see the time on my clock (it’s not flouresent) - and don’t want to put the light on, just in case it is really early, and i then won’t be able to sleep again…. hehe… so thats problem one.

Problem two relates back to noise again (though it isn’t as bad as before) - because I am now on the inner side of the apartment, it means all the corridoors are just outside my room. And, I don’t know how they managed to soundproof this place so badly, but it means if someone puts a key in their lock and turns it, the whole noise travels down the corridoor and wakes me up?!!? :eek: Insane sounding I know, but true…. same thing with people talking and going to work etc…. but like I said, no way I can complain now after all the fuss I made before!

So on Thursday I went with some of the work guys to one of their leaving dos. It was at a bar just around the corner from work called “dot” - actually a pretty nice place, a proper shoes off affair (with little slippers in the toilet) but best of all, “nomihodai” (all you can drink) for 980yen (about £5) for 2 and a half hours!! As you can imagine, this was being seriously abused by the gaijin in there (ordering like 5 beers at a time) - at which I was actually quite embarresed. You can picture the scene, a traditional Japanese bar, filled with loud and annoying foreigners…. I HATE GAIJIN!! haha…

Anyway, I tried to sit away from the loudest of them in the hopes people would think I wasn’t with them, but I don’t think it worked (it was pretty obvious, we had taken over the whole of the upstairs!!!) - this finished at about 12′o’clock or so and it was time to wander home.

Friday night was (once again) my only weekend night out (due to the working on Sunday situation) so this was an important occasion. This time, I decided I *actually wanted* to go to Roppongi (shock horror!) so arranged to meet up with Seiko at about midnight at “Hub”. I got there before her (she was enroute in a Taxi) so got some drinks in. About 20 minutes later, Seiko arrived, and my earlier show of kindness looked like it was going to be unrequired as already she was completely battered :D She had also brought along a friend with her, a 51 year old chap called Nobu, who works for a web company and had very little English. (which was good….)


We stayed in Hub for about an hour or 2 (with me and Nobu propping Seiko up) - talking about various computer like topics and various other things until it came to the subject of music. Nobu is a great fan of older rock music and was talking about old bands he liked - I then started to tell him about dad and his love for music too. This conversation got quite involved, until Nobu suggested we go to his friends rock bar down the road which had loads of memorobelia and things he wanted to show me.

So we carried Seiko up the stairs and into a taxi ….

Arriving at the bar (called Heaven) - I was greeted with a fantastic site.. a really cool looking place, decorated with posters and news clippings all over the wall and guitars and amps strewn about the place. A really, really nice place - I think you would have loved it dad, it was just your scene :) Inside there were only about 6 people (all who were friends) so the atmosphere was also very good “funiki ga yokata desu-yo!” - so we went over to a little table, and the orders were taken….

I wanted a Matador (tequila, pineapple juice and a dash of lemon) - but there was not tequila or pineapple juice. Not to worry though, as the barmaid went off to the 7/11 to get it for me!!! Talk about service. Then, the hunger started, but alas the chef was ill… no worries, again, the barmaid went off to the 7/11 to return with a selection of food (as she wasn’t sure what i liked!!!) - so i had sandwiches, pasta and some crisps :)
Anyway, back to the rock - so over the wall was all this rock memorobilia, a load which i recognised from dad showing me (though i can’t now remember what it was) - so again i started to tell all of them about dad, and his adventures and the such like. They were all very impressed, and I have to say, listening to myself saying all the stuff dad did, I was pretty proud of him too :D It would seem that if you look past the pineapple head, there’s a pretty cool bloke there :D NICE ONE DAD!!! :D
I think we were talking for about 2 hours, by which time Seiko had fallen asleep, so it was time again to go back to the Taxi and get back home …. z00m z00m!

Saturday was the day I had set aside to get Dad’s cds, so at about 5pm (hehe) I got out the house and went off to Shinjuku - not before stopping off at the temple to wish for some good luck for the day :D I really like this whole Shinto religion thing, it’s nice to be able to go somewhere, ring a bell and say your bit to “someone”. No, I haven’t gone full on religious freak, but just saying hello to whoever or whatever made everything in the first place….. it’s a really nice place, especially in the evening as it looks really traditional with lanterns hanging about lighting the place up. I’ve been trying to go each day as it’s en-route to work, so on the way home I try and stop by.

So anyway, on to Shinjuku, where I first needed to go to the bank. Now for those of you who don’t know, Shinjuku station is absolutely massive and has so many exits. Unfortunately, I had forgotten which one led to Starbucks (which has the only ATM in Shinjuku I can use) - so it took me about 30 minutes to actually get some money out!!! Grrr…. Then it was a quick stop off at the electronics centre (go Sofmap!) to buy a new memory card for my iPAQ.

I’ve been fed up of listening to the same tracks day after day on my 128MB card, that I wanted to go for something somewhat bigger. After pondering for a good 20 minutes, I finally plumped for a 4GB compact flash card (I would have prefered SD but they didn’t have any) - which I got for about £80…. a good deal, yes, at the time, though I could have possibly grabbed it on ebay for a big cheaper…. ahh well, at least now I’ve got hours and hours of tunes for the 30 minute walk to work :D haha….

So that done, it was off to find the CD shop. I had a map, so it wasn’t too tricky, however after going in, the cd couldn’t be found. Therefore began a comedy sketch between me and the shop assistant on trying to obtain where a copy might be…. after logging on the net, and a translation site, he was able to inform me that the cd wasn’t made anymore, and they had no second hand copies in stock. I therefore asked if he could reserve one for me, at which he told me (after about 5 minutes of looking it up) that I needed to go to the “prog rock” branch over the road ….

…. so over the road I went ….

Simplest thing to do when I got in was just ask for the cd again, so I did, and was then handed a copy!?! Slightly confused I asked if they had anymore, at which point I was given another…. ?!!? EH?!? Thanking the girl, I then headed back to the original shop to show the guy. “Ah!” he goes, I am so sorry, I thought you wanted the “Import” … erm, no, but thanks anyway :)
Due to the ungodly hour I had to wake on Sunday (8:30!?!? does that time even really exist) - I aimed to hit the sack at around midnight. This got extended slightly as I rang Gowry first, but did manage to get to bed at around 1:30. All was good, I was nicely snuggled and fell asleep within 20 minutes or so. Then….

Bzzzzzzzzz, bzzzzzzzzzz, bzzzzzzzzzz - my phone started ringing, I tried to ignore it, but it rang and rang for absolutely ages…. before finally, it stopped…. so I started to drift off again, before, bzzzzzzzz, bbzzzzzzzzzz, yup, it started again.. this time i couldn’t ignore it, so got up and switched it off. However, the damage was done, I was now wide awake, and would stay so until about 5:30 which is the last time I remember on the clock before sleep.

This of course meant Sunday was one of the hardest days EVER, with me even starting to feel dizzy in some classes and just wanting to get onto the floor and just SLEEP!! hehe…. I got home at about 6pm or so and then got a text from Seiko saying she would cook tonite, so I bashed back saying cool and that we should watch a movie together, which was met with a “cool”.

The movie we chose to watch was “Howl’s Moving Castle”, an anime movie about a wizard called Howl who has a castle that it totally mechanical and can walk! HERE!. It was a really cool film and even better, in Japanese with English subtitles. This meant I was able to both listen to Japanese, but have the translation below if I wasn’t sure of the word (I must admit, most of the time was spent reading the subtitles, but hey!) - next we are going to watch Totoro, which features the same dialog format… this is part of my new school of Seiko ;)
Monday I had an earlier shift again, so was going to finish at 7:30 - therefore I arranged to meet Seiko and Shiho after work to take them to “dot” (the izakaya of the other day). When we got there, there were no tables, only bar stools, which neither of us wanted, so after a little negotiation, we were moved into the “lovers room”! - basically a private room with a sofa, heaters and loads of hearts everywhere :) We were also opposite where the staff stood, so everytime we wanted a drink, all we needed do was poke our heads outside the curtain and ask!!!


Well, 2 and a half hours later (and a blinding 12 drinks later! I was going to make the most of it this time) - we decided it was time to head somewhere else, so we gave Shimpei a call and told him to meet us at a nearby bar, after which we would go to Karaoke.

The bar we chose was “Heaven’s Door”, a pretty cool second floor joint, which sold about average priced drinks.

It was here, where suddenly everything started to go wrong …..

No one can be truely sure what caused it, though we suspect it may have been the now 14 drinks she had consumed, but when Seiko didn’t return from the toilet for 20 minutes, we were slightly bemused…. The wall was really thin though, so we could shout to her through it and she said she was ok….. not wanting to push the issue, we let her be, though by now a gentleman by the name of Henry wanted to use the facilities….

Remembering previous nights out usually ended in Seiko falling asleep, it seemed the best thing to do would be to just drag her out…. but alas, the door was locked, and then had a seperate slide lock on the inside (so we couldn’t open from the outside) - by now we weren’t sure what was going on, but Seiko kept banging on the door…… and shouting something….

Suddenly (and without warning) the door comes crashing open and Seiko goes flying across the room!!! Running back to pick her up, she seemed a bit confused and couldn’t understand why she couldn’t get out ….. we pointed the inside lock out to her ….. “AHHHH” she says, “I didn’t notice that!?!??” - a true “Helen” moment :D GO SEIKO!

It was pretty obvious now, Karaoke was no longer on the cards, so we decided to take the 30 minute walk home… no mean feat when you are taking a completely totalled girl with you, who is ademant she can walk on her own!! (no chance!!) We got about 10 minutes down the road, before it was obvious we weren’t going to get anywhere fast like this, so doing the only thing that seemed sensible at the time, I took it upon myself to start carrying her home! :)
Not that she was heavy, but I doubt I would have been to carry her very far, so when a taxi popped into view, the decision was (very quickly) taken to get in it :). I don’t know what the driver could have thought, he pulls over the brow of a hill and suddenly there is this gaijin carrying a (good as) passed out j chick with her mates all waving frantically…. SUGOI!! :)
A fun night had by all :) Which of course Seiko couldn’t remember in the morning…. haha….

So the plans for this weekend? Well it’s Seiko’s birthday on Thursday next, so this weekend is her party weekend. The plan is to first head to the newly opened ice bar in Roppongi (HERE) - basically, the whole place is made of ice! You have to wear a special cape and gloves in there, and can stay a maximum of 45 minutes!!! Should be pretty cool, I will be sure to get many photos!

There are a few extra things going on, but not really fit for here, but apart from that, the outlook is ok….

So apologies again for the late late updates, but now I am all settled again, regular posting should be resumed. One thing I will say though, I’m now at the point where I will stop posting just for the sake of it… if all I did one day was go to work, then home, don’t expect an update.

However, the amount of things I am trying to do now, this should (hopefully) not be a regularity :D
Onwards and upwards …. HURRAH!