ben griffiths
an insight into the mind of a genius

Posts Tagged ‘ebisu’

The week before trouble arrived

Tuesday, March 28th, 2006

Note: This entry is in multple parts, as finding time to write the whole thing in one go is becoming difficult…

So…. Part One :)
As I had said, the rest of the week went “as work does” until we hit Friday night. Seiko had mailed me earlier in the day to say we should go to Shinjuku Nichome (the gay area of Tokyo). Naturally, I wasn’t so keen on this, but she was going there with a friend already - so it did seem like that would be that.

It was therefore at about 9pm or so when I walked out of Shinjuku station and headed to the nearby police box corner to meet Seiko. She had been drinking for quite some time now, so was in very good spirits. She explained that her friend had decided she now liked girls as well as boys, so they had been trawling around the various gay bars for the last few hours - so her friend could “test the water” as it were.

So first stop was a quite swish bar in the basement of a building, decorated with really tasteful decor. There was a bit of a commotion getting in the door, due to me waiting to let a guy out, and him waiting to let me in. After a few minutes of bowing at each other, I was finally ushered in by the barmaid who had come out to see what was going on :)
Inside, there were no actual customers except for us three - so all wasn’t too bad. The bar maids were very chatty (but only in Japanese) - so I just watched “Romeo Must Die” on the tv (which had subtitles :)). Not really much more to tell here, we stayed until about 12:30, when we had to go and catch last train.

Leaving Yuko at Shinjuku station to catch her train home, Seiko and I transferred to the Yamanote line to go somewhere different (staying in Shinjuku wasn’t going to be an option) and “Ebisu” was decided upon. We could have chosen Shibuya, but it seemed like a good idea to actually go somewhere new. So, on the last train of the night (literally) we sped past Shibuya and got off at the station that was Ebisu…. and then instantly regretted it when there was absolutely nothing there!! Well, this is of course a slight exageration, but what was there that looked good - all closed at 2am or so….

After walking around for about 30 minutes, the only sensible option was clear (though we of course wished we had thought of it earlier) - get a taxi back to Shibuya —- doh!

Of course this only took a few minutes (it was litterally just up the road), though set us back a cool 1000 yen (£5) - however at least we were back where some of the action was :) We knew we didn’t want to club it, though were quite happy to head to a bar, so it was quite lucky when we were stopped in the street by a guy offering “nomihodai” (i love that word!) for 1500 yen… hurrah!

It actually turned out that this was the same place we had gone on New Years, but that was cool. We just wanted somewhere warm to sit and get alcohol. The all you can drink lasted 2 hours, after which, it was decided just to head back as there was nothing else particularly fun to do (and we were kinda running low on funds) - to the taxi stop! :)
Saturday I had planned to get up nice and early to go and do some sightseeing, but on waking at 11am and finding the weather awful, bed seemed a good enough place to stay… and stay all day I did, just taking some time out to get up, microwave some food, and change the DVD on the computer :)
Come Saturday night, I had (miraculously??) managed to tire myself out (by doing nothing) and I got to bed at 12:30, hoping for a nice long sleep so the Sunday wouldn’t be so unbearable… ahh… sleep…..




Ah yes, of course, common sense prevails and the man next door decides to start banging on the wall at 1:30am. What for, I just don’t know, but he decided to keep it going until 6:30!?!? Leaving me just 2 hours of sleep before I had to be up and alert to go to work. As you can imagine, I wasn’t at my brightest (for all the day… haha) and had to make frequent trips to the coffee machine to give me my much needed energy juice.

Come the end of the day, I just wanted to go home - however this was the new staffs “joining party” night, which meant 1) I had to go out, but even worse 2) I finished work at the 5pm shift, yet the party was at the end of the 7pm shift… no time to go home, so I just stayed at work doing admin jobs… (why i don’t know, but it seemed more fun that just sitting around doing nothing…)

The chosen venue for the party was the same izakaya that we had gone for Vanessa’s leaving do (so you can just look at the same photoset I guess) :D - and believe it or not, the same food was ordered… so like a complete copy of the previous night. I was trying my best to get involved in the conversation, but in reality I just wanted to go to bed. So it was begrudgingly that a few hours later, when Karaoke was suggested and everyone got up to go sing, I made my excuses and left …. bed bed bed!! :D
Aparently they only stayed for a few hours so everyone could get last train home, so perhaps I should have gone along - however, I saved some money, so I guess it wasn’t all bad.

Monday night was again a “bed early” due to Helen coming the next day, however sleep was kinda hard as I was quite excited :) I think I finally got off at about 2am or so :eek: All was not over though, as then the phone calls started… over and over someone kept calling from England with seemingly their phone in their pocket. The normal thing in this case of course would have been to just turn the phone off, BUT, I couldn’t incase Helen rang. The other option would have been to put it on silent, but again, due to the fact Helen might ring, this wasn’t an option.

So I got to bed at about 4am :(
However, all was not quite so bad (for me at least) as I received a call at about 8am or so from Helen telling me they had forgotten to put her luggage on the plane, so she would need to wait for the next one to arrive…. 3 hours later… hurrah! :) This meant I could go back to sleep and meet her at a much more respectable 12′o’clock at Shinjuku station… hehe…

So it’s now Tuesday and Helen is (by all accounts) here —> to Shinjuku station! :D

The end is nigh…..

Monday, January 23rd, 2006

No I’m not talking about life, but the end of my birthday :( But more about that later, I have a week or so to catch up on.

It seems no one believed me (dad :p) when i said i have been working very hard, but it’s true! Everyday I have been spending hours at a time working on my Japanese book and trying to get everything copied across. It sounds like quite a simple task, but the thing is, I originally wrote it all in English characters, but of course, now need to convert it all across…. (well, i guess i don’t HAVE to, but it would be silly not to…)

So all week this has been going on, hence the lack of updated.

One important thing this week though was my visa related tasks. I had almost forgotten that when you leave Japan, if you don’t have a re-entry permit, you cant get back in! Not wanting to leave anything until the last minute ;) - Tuesday morning, i went with Shimpei to the local immigration office. I say local, but it was actually 40 minutes away, but we went in the car, so it wasn’t all bad :)
The system to actually get the permit was so strange, first, you go in on the ground floor and get the forms, then you have to go to the 7/11 to pay for the permit (£30 for a multiple, a single is £15 - but figured i might as well be sure and get it all) - before finally heading up to the top floor to take a ticket and await your turn.

Once you actually get seen, it’s only a 2 minute job - and as they seemed to be zipping through all the applicants, we actually finished the whole thing in about 20 minutes! Awesome! :)
Following our success, Shimpei then suggested we try out a new burger joint he had found “Baker Bounce” - so off we set. Now, as you know I have always been quite sceptical of the food here, so wasn’t expecting much - however i’m delighted to say i was very pleasently suprised :) Quite a large burger with added bacon, cheese, avocado and mushrooms - yes thank you very much, hurrah!

The rest of the week was uneventful, though, woops, I’ve forgotten about Sunday night…. doh! Last time I wrote, i was just talking of going out right? Well we went to a restaurant in Shimo to eat proper traditional Japanese food… I even had some raw fish, which was actually quite nice (shock horror!) - i had intended to take a load of photos, but not so many actually materialised (read 2!)


So, on to the weekend - as per usual, I wasn’t going to be able to make going anywhere on the Friday night, so stayed at home working :) Later on, Seiko came home, so she was helping me out - before at about midnight or so, Shimpei came over, so we ended up watching TV (though I did still carry on writing!). Finally, I caught Helen on Skype, so spend the next few hours or so talking to myself (she didn’t have a mic, so was typing responses, lol)…

But enough of that, as you may notice, my story seems a little impatient, well, for good reason! I want to get onto Saturday….!

So Saturday is the same old, same old, wake up freezing, put on my little blanket thing and get on the computer. However, this is where it changed….. a few minutes after I woke up, Seiko pops in the front room telling me to look outside, ok, sure….


Wowza! Proper snow! This hasn’t happened for ages, the last time i can remember was when I lived at Kingston, so thats at least 2 years ago!!! So I was very excited and got ready as fast as I could, to get outside and get some photos taken …. first stop, the roof!


Before heading outside to the park, which suddenly didn’t need grass to look good …


I do apologise for any camera blur, but it was freezing, so very difficult to hold the camera still :) There’s loads in the gallery, including this Tom inspired arty attempt :)

This snow was deep too (especially on the roof) and really soft and powdery, a good start to the weekend …. :)
Seiko then had to go off to “prepare for tonite” - so I wandered back home to work a bit on this site (you will notice now there may be some video clips online, though they might take a while to load up…..)

Finally, at 6:30 it was time to go and meet Seiko and Shiho @ Shibuya, where I was then ushered into a Taxi and whisked away to Ebis to a very swanky looking restaurant called Kitsune…. there we met up with Yumi, Chie and Akie.

Before the meal however, it was time to open the mystery box, which contained inside it one of the most delicious cakes I have ever eaten! Just full of cream and strawberries….. oh my, i want it back NOW :)

So the food arrived and the alcohol flowed and a great time was had by all - it was great to be spending such a good time out with everyone :) Even better was the fact that everything had been planned for me, all i had to do was turn up :) I don’t think I’ve ever had a birthday like this, usually I have to do all the organising - Seiko’s birthday is in March, so I will need to work with Shiho to think of something special to do for her….

Just before the main course arrived (a mixture of meats and pasta) it was “present time” :) hehe…. in true to birthday tradition, I opened the cards first - which of course were all in Japanese. Cue 10 minutes of me trying to translate all of them (which i couldn’t quite do - but got the main jist) before opening my bags…. hehe …. i know a lot of you reading this are going to be thinking WTF?!? But, I am happy with them, so ner ner :p

The Miffy stuff is from Seiko, Shiho and Shimpei, the flower from Chie and the Moomin Mug from Akie.

I also want to show you this, along with all my individual cards, they also wrote one big one for me - it’s things like this i think are cool about Japan, some of the stuff is just so cute :) Even more amusing is Yumi’s choice of words, I promise you Gowry, there is nothing going on… haha…


So after we were all done, it was time to find somewhere else to go - everyone wanted to know what I wanted, but i was at a loss and was just happy going where everyone else did. It was therefore decided that first we should head to the local arcade to get some photos taken in one of the phot me machines…..


(There were more, but they got dished out to the others :))

Before finally heading for a karaoke room, which for 3000yen was infinite drinks for about 5 hours! :eek:
To start with, everyone was pretty fresh faced with some amazing moves in action…


….but after a few hours, things were going a little downhill ;)

Come 5am, the trains started and it was time to leave - though once home, the party continued (much to our neighbours delight I’m sure ;)) until about 8am when we finally all crawled into bed (not with each other, obviously :D)

So did I have a good time? I think that should be obvious :) I had a great time, and many many thanks to Seiko and Shiho for organising it all, I know they felt guilty for new year, but this completely made up for everything - it just puts on the pressure for theirs now …. hmmmm….

Happy Birthday Me !!! :D :)