ben griffiths
an insight into the mind of a genius

Posts Tagged ‘gusto’

So this is christmas, and what have you done….

Tuesday, December 27th, 2005

What have we done indeed - well had a very nice meal out… though, not traditional in any sense of the word…


Hehe - yup, our christmas dinner was @ TGI Fridays, though very nice it was too :) We got a mish mash of things and quite a few cocktails, though the bill only came to a rather reasonable (well i thought, compared to UK prices) £100 - so that would be £20 each then…

Even better, I was looking at the rest of the menu, and a burger and chips is only £5! :eek: I think I will be visiting a bit more often!

Then what, well, in traditional japan style, we then of course went to another restaurant (don’t ask) - where more food was ordered! (though i couldn’t eat another thing) - including this fish thing, where they burnt off the skin using a blow torch…. crazy…


I actually quite liked it, it wasn’t so strong, but after all the food before, it just became a bit too much.

Also, I think a night out wouldn’t be complete without one casualty, and fair play to Seiko for it not being her. Once again, Yumi showed her grasp of the whole alcohol situation by falling asleep on the table! :D

However, it then got better. Deciding that the table wasn’t so comfy (obviously) - then slid off it and onto my lap - where she went into a deep sleep!!! (The second photo is taken under the table - but Seiko had the camera upside down, hence the weird angle….)


But a great time had :) Just wish it could have been a bit more festive… ah well, next year… (maybe, if I’ve cracked Japanese by then…!)

As for today, well it was the last day of work - and not so busy. Voice was interesting - it started off well, then we started talking about customer service - soon the Chinese were brought up, before a full on China Bashing session began :eek: - but erm, it kinda calmed by the end (lucky, as the next teacher was Chinese… lol)

So now I’m on holiday until the 4th of Jan. Loads of time to Jvise, finish Gowry’s website and, most importantly, sleep :)
Oh, I’ve also restyled my hair - which I’m quite happy about - though I fear another cut is soon needed, just to trim it a bit… nothing heavy….


Ahah! AND THANK YOU DAD :) For the hair gel, definately a life saver….

And finally, I’ve now had so many people who see current photos of me go “WOW you’ve lost weight” - it’s just not funny. Indeed, sitting here now typing in just a tshirt, if I squint it looks like a Tyrannosaurus is at my computer :eek: - I think my trip home in Jan will definately be an eat athon! :)
Ahhhh! No wait - there is a bit more - that talk of food just reminded me.

So you know Gusto is my fav place, well the same company just opened a Chinese style restaurant neat work. So think Gusto prices, but Chinese food :) I just went tonite with Yumi, ahhh… it was so nice, so I can also add this to my list of soon to be most visited restaurants… just think, a TGI’s a day, followed by chinese for dinner - that should help put the weight back on.

Tomorrow I think I will continue my quest to find a new language exchange parter, I’m going to amend my advert to say i want someone who wants to go to Atom each week - at least this way the person I learn with I can also hang out with :)
So, Happy Christmas y’all…. I best it just wasn’t the same without me :p

Ronan Keating was right….

Saturday, December 10th, 2005

Life most certainly is a rollercoaster. Well, at least my emotions are at least - if I wasn’t certain I was a bloke, I would swear I was on my time of the month… :D
Not totally sure what the problem is, I just think not a lot of good things have happened recently, so it’s sometimes very difficult to stay “happy go lucky”…

In usual yo-yo fashion, this post will now go on about how I feel a lot better - doh! I’m tempted to not write anything unless I am in a good mood, but figure it might be nice to look back over everything that has happened in my time here, just maybe, if you read something bleak, give it a day or two until you sign me up to the samaritans :D
Let’s jump back to Thursday as that seems to be where I left off…

So Thursday was my final “end of probation” observation, basically where the head boss comes in and observes a lesson to make sure all is good. If I pass (and taking into account everything else I do at the school) - then I pass probation and get onto full pay (it goes up to the 195,000 yen (£975) from 180,000 (£900)) - not a huge difference, but enough to seriously muck things up if I don’t make it….

Maybe I was worried about this, not sure - there’s a few other bits and pieces, though I probably shouldn’t post these - just in case….

I went in an hour or so early so I could prepare the lesson and made sure it was all up to scratch. Picked one I thought I could do a lot with and worked it all out to a tee…. so come 5:50 I was all ready, so went to the classroom….

No one there - hmmm…. sat and waited a bit more … nope, nothing - great :( a no show… i now had the danger of being given a different lesson, which i hadn’t prepared for …

(interlude - i would like to apologise now for the lack of capital letters - it’s much easier (and faster) to type excluding them, hence the reason they have no disappeared!! ;))

The school called her up and apparently she had totally forgotten, but as she was due for a second lesson “would try to make it in if she could” - didn’t sound too good, but better than nothing - so it was back to the waiting game.

Come 6:40 and she still hadn’t showed, however i was told she would probably be 10 minutes late or so. Whilst this usually wouldn’t be a problem, this now meant I had to cut bits of the lesson to make it all fit, yet at the same time covering everything i needed to pass the observation….

So at 6:55 she comes in and the lesson goes ahead - how did i do? well, i think quite well - i managed to cover everything needed and she was able to complete all the parts of the lesson with no problem, so i guess i was cheered up. although Steve (the head guy) couldn’t give me an answer right then, he did say it was very good and no problems to shout about - so i guess as long as the rest of the month at school goes good i should be all ok :D
Thursday (ohhh look, a capital letter :p) also saw the return of Shimpei (ahah! another one…) who had been travelling around europe for the last month. So even though money was pretty scarce, we all went out to a korean bbq restaurant in Umeguoka. Probably not the best choice as they seem to eat tiny portions (that aren’t massively cheap) so i had to order a bit more than everyone else just to get full. Still wasn’t feeling so happy, which apparently showed as yesterday (fri) i got a load of messages asking if i was ok :D (awww… :))

Friday morning and school time, except, i had forgotten my tekiken (travel card) had expired and had no money to pay for a train ticket :( STUPID!?!? Ho hum….

Once the local atm (which takes my natwest card) was online i was able to get some money, but by then it was too late to go in. Not wanting to waste the time though, i figured it would be a good idea to head to Gusto for food, quiet and some Japanese study :) (as if i stayed at home i knew i would just get distracted by the computer).

So Gusto it was, where I ordered a seafood pasta and set down to work. The pasta arrived and looked lovely, so i carried on working and eating. It was only when i had got to the bottom of the bowl i realised that there hadn’t been any seafood in it… :eek: … not wanting to cause a fuss as it was still really nice, but then knowing that if i didn’t, i would have paid £5 for a tomatoe pasta - i figured it would be best to point this out…

So using my best Japanese - sumimasen, demo, seafood ga arimasendeshita (i’m not sure if seafood is the same in japanese, but the rest meant: excuse me, but, there was no (seafood) in this) - the waitress then apologised and took my (almost empty bowl away).

I’m not sure what i was expecting her to do, but i assumed i would just get a little selection of seafood to eat. Not so, within a few minutes I had a brand new bowl of pasta complete with prawns an suchlike :D result…. except, i was quite full from all the previous pasta :) but felt it would be rude to not eat it…..

30 minutes later it was time to head to school, so off i went - 1st lesson was a no show, so i took the opportunity to get on with more japanese, followed by …. another no show :) hurrah!

The next lesson was a lower class so we were going to work on colours and clothes - i like the lower lessons, they’re always so much fun.

I had two students, so to start with i got them to describe what clothes each other was wearing. The first girl was fine doing this, but the second girl was a bit shy and couldn’t describe the first girls trousers. As I couldn’t see what she was wearing (due to the table) and not thinking properly, i looked until the table to help out - of course she wasn’t wearing trousers at all but a very short skirt, which i inadvertantly then went and looked up… whooops :o

The rest of work went fine, but it was still nice for it to be over and the weekend to begin.

Yumi had also had to stay until 9, so we decided to go have a look around Shimo and find somewhere to eat. After walking for a little bit, we found a place that advertised everything as 390 yen (about £2), so down the stairs we went…

Wow! The place was amazing, like a little town square type thing inside a building, down the bottom there were all picnic tables, or you could sit in the upper level (where we did) - i wish i had taken a photo as it’s too difficult to explain, but i will go back - so next time!!

They sold pretty much everything, so we ordered some drinks and a curry set with naan (which was actually quite delicious). When taking your order, the waitress then asks you to play “rock, paper, scissors” - if you win, you get free desert. After getting confused the first time (:o) we did it again, but lost … oh well … you also get a bingo card when you come in, everytime you order a drink, your coaster has a number on it. You then match this to the bingo card - complete a line “BINGO!!!” and you win 5000 yen (£25!!) - see, this place is sooooo cool :D
But wait! There’s more - just before we were about to leave, some Japanese bunny girls came around with a lucky dip machine thing promoting Jack Daniels. After having the instructions repeated to me about 5 times (lol) - i finally figured out that if you buy a drink, you get to have a go in the lucky dip machine. Well, I don’t like whisky, but i wanted to play on the machine, so bought a jd + ginger and reached into the box to get a ticket…..

…. seems maybe i am on the up, as in true ben-luck-stylee i won :) So i am now the proud owner of a Jack Daniels t-shirt… w00t!

And finally for the best bit - after a little alcohol (which for me equals about one glass) and because i was with just Yumi, i lost my shyness about speaking Japanese. Even to the point where I could actually remember things from my book that i had only ever gone over a few times, wow! Ok, it’s still not up to the level i should be at, but for me, just being able to remember anything at all is quite an achievement - i was even able to comment that “the atmosphere in here is very good” :D (i have only ever done that lesson once, which means it must be going in somewhere…!?!?)

This has inturn spurred me on, so when i finish this, i’m back off to Jonathans (haven’t been there for ages) to get some food and continue with the study session….. hurrah!

I’m not sure if i mentioned it before, but in Jan i promised Nagisa that i would be able to speak to her only in Japanese. Until recently this looked like a rather stupid suggestion to have made, but now, i think there is hope!!!

Other good news, well Mum, Dad and Nan have very kindly offered to put some money towards my plane flight home, so this has cheered me up loads (THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!) - though i still wish i could be able to fund it myself - i don’t like relying on other people for money…

Shimpei has also found an electronics store that will sell me some speakers and a mixer on a 0% interest payment plan for 10 months, so hopefully we will soon have some music in the flat. This *also* means we can do karaoke, which in turn means more people will come around… etc etc…

I’ve also had a new idea, which whilst i can’t execute yet, has also helped towards my good mood. Once we get some sofa’s, i’m going to start an “English Discussion Afternoon” here at home. Basically, people just come around who want to practise their English, so we can all meet in a group, just to randomly talk. I’ve also rather brilliantly decided to make it at lunch time, as knowing what the Japanese are like, means people will bring food ;) - to start with, it will be free, but once it gets popular i can start to charge for it (maybe £10 a session or so) - this is good for two reasons, one I get to make some money, but 2, i get to meet more people (see, genius!).

I’ve got more ideas to add on this, like doing special “English Karaoke” sessions (which will help them with their reading skills) and a few other event things that i worked out with Yumi. Combine this with being able to then offer private lessons and it seems like a pretty good idea.

But as I said, we have no furniture now, so can’t do this yet - however, hopefully soon… fingers crossed :)
Right then, it’s now 15:05, so I need to get going - a students life is always busy ;)