ben griffiths
an insight into the mind of a genius

Posts Tagged ‘nobu’

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!