Saturday, March 3, 2012

a night out in tsu...

Since I was so hungry we just grabbed dinner near the train station in downtown Tsu. Tsu is the capital of the Mie Prefecture and is known for having the shortest pronounceable city name. The downtown was pretty dismal and nothing I imagined a downtown to be like. Vinnie compares it to Sacramento, it's the capital of California but isn't a bustling city like SF or LA. This is also when it was pointed out to me that Japan has really early closing times - SUPER EARLY. If it's pass 6pm just assume stuff will be closed down, I'll get to the craptastic opening times of museums and temples later on. Thankfully there was still some stuff opened when we arrived so at least I could get some dinner. We threw my backpack into a storage locker at the train station for 300 yen because Vinnie was meeting up with her volunteer group at a bar later and I was going to tag along and meet some locals! My first ever meal in Japan was a kikiage don which is mixed tempura on rice.

My mixed tempura included veggies, shrimp and crab meat dipped in a tempura batter. Poured soy sauce all over it and it was delicious! I forgot what Vinnie had but I insisted on paying for dinner as a way for me to show her my thanks for letting me stay at her place. My kikiage don cost 480 yen. I also bought some pineapple cake from How Sweet Bakery as a kind of souvenir greeting gift. I was nervous because I never had that pineapple cake so I didn't know if she was going to like it but I knew it was the more authentic of the two options that How Sweet offered, this one used real pineapple. Vinnie said she liked it. Good call Carol.

After dinner we wandered around downtown Tsu since we had some time to kill before her friends were done with dinner. Unfortunately there isn't much to see and most things were already closed so we just caught up and wandered the dark streets. I was just absorbing the fact that I was in Japan and seeing how quaint everything was. It's been a long time since I've last hung out with Vinnie even though we have known each other since middle school. It was nice being able to catch up and to hang out in a country halfway across the world, that is pretty amazing. I don't think I can ever get over the fact that I have the means and the ability to meet up with friends in different countries around the world, for that I am super grateful. Yay to amazing friends and traveling!

When we could wander no more because it was so cold we headed up to Joe's Bar. The bar was freaking amazing. They had all these musical instruments hung everywhere! Guitars on the ceiling, violins and saxophones on the walls. The atmosphere was really chill and I just couldn't get over how cool the decor was. Having played several instruments before I know they don't come cheap so to use them as a form of decoration was crazy but so creative.

Vinnie's volunteer group is made of up English teachers and I'm assuming Japanese University students who don't speak English. Good thing it was the English teachers who sat around me or I would have been clueless to what was going on the whole night. Vinnie tells me that the English ability of the Japanese are pretty low and they aren't required to start learning it till fifth or sixth grade. Because of this most English teachers speak Japanese which is way different from Taiwan where English teachers can live there for years and never have to learn how to speak Chinese. Japanese is a language not even remotely to any language I know so it was so bizarre to not understand a word anyone was speaking. I've been spoiled in Taiwan where even if I don't understand most words I still have an idea what is happening, yay for my Cantonese background. I finally realize how it must be for the foreigners who live in Taiwan and have no concept of what is being said. After being in Japan I'm super impressed by the English ability most Taiwanese people have. It probably helps that English is a lesson requirement by the time a student is in second grade. All the English teachers ordered  Kahlua Milk which came with a cinnamon stick. I ordered one too and even the small amount of Kahlua that was in the drink was too much for me. Haha. The drink was yummy, tasted like a spiked chocolate milk.

Vinnie had warned me about the organizer for the volunteer group called Spike who could get a little rowdy and anti-American when he was drinking. Good thing in the ways of verbal sparring I'm pretty skilled. Spike came over and we chatted and I guessed he liked my responses cause there was a lot of fist pumping and hand shaking involved. The hand shakes were his equivalent of a high five. So this is how I made Spike my bitch and got a free drink out of the process. Spike was talking about how he was at the Hong Kong Airport and had tried some type of tofu and was saying because of that he had eaten traditional Chinese food. I responded with "I went to the McDonalds at the airport in Japan so that must mean I've had traditional Japanese food too." So after that he was like "You're my master." and then I went "If I'm your master does that make you my bitch?" which had everyone laughing. Haha enslaving people where ever I go. He then told me he was going to pay for my drink which was a good thing because it cost like 500 yen! All the English teachers were asking him if he was gonna pay for their drinks and he said only I had beat him so only I got the free drink. Yay for awesome verbal sparring skills. All of Vinnie's friends were really nice and I believe I made a good impression on them with my funny jokes and witty banter. One of them that we end up hanging with a lot later is Seiko who I love! Maybe because right off the bat she told me how awesome I am. Haha flattery will get you everywhere!

Most of the English teachers live in Tsu Shimmachi which is a train stop away from the Tsu Station and costs 150 yen for a one way ticket. The last train to Tsu Shimmachi leaves at 12:15am so we had to hustle to not miss the train. Because it passed 12, I had to pay another 300 yen in order to get my backpack from the storage locker. Vinnie kept fighting me on paying for the locker when it was my backpack that was being held. I can see this is going to be a battle of the Asian niceness and who can pay for what. Does anyone else see how we are all slowly morphing into our parents and the polite fighting to pay stuff that they do with friends and family?!?

1 comment:

  1. That bar looks super amazing!!! And yay to making someone in another country your bitch :) Typical Carol!