11.05.2007 - 14.05.2007 24 °C
We've been teaching for a week or so now and, in a nutshell, that's going pretty well... but why bore with work details when we have more exciting things to tell you!!
On Friday night we hopped on a train for 15 mins or so to meet up with some other teachers (and now friends) - and we ended up spending a great evening in an izakaya which are Japan's answer to pubs. They serve yummy japanese nibbles, beer and sake.. all this set in a very japanese background (sitting on the floor etc). One charming quirk was having to put our shoes in lockers as no shoes are allowed on the tatami (Japanese mats in the area where you sit on the floor). The night was unfortunately cut short by us having to catch the last train home just before midnight, though from what we hear of how the night went on we think next time we'll just stay out and get the first train home!!
The next day, Saturday, we hopped on yet another train and headed in Tokyo! Our exact destination was the Imperial Palace and the nearby area called Ginza.
The Imperial Palace, or Kokyo, is closed to the public except for 2 days a year because the imperial family still live there, but a part of the grounds is now a lovely public garden and you can glimpse the palace in places.. We wondered around the garden, amazed at how peaceful it is even though it's in the middle of a bustling city, and then we took the obligatory photos of the palace peeping over Niju-bashi bridge.
We then headed off in the direction of Ginza, which is pretty much Tokyo's version of 5th Avenue (although many other areas of Tokyo seem to offer designer fashion too). We wandered around for a while, gazing into windows of shops we can't afford and checking out some of Sony's gizmos and gadgets at the Sony Building. I got particular excited upon seeing a Long Champs shop, a belgian waffle shop called Manneken and a Pierre Marcolini (v. expensive Belgian chocolatier) cafe/shop all in the space of a few minutes! Big up for Belgians making their mark in Tokyo!!
We had dinner in a very surreal german-style beerhouse purpose built by some Japanese in the early 1900s! People view Japanese as somewhat subdued but give them a drink and watch the inhibitons disappear: we saw groups of business women drinking beer in litre mugs, and an old man chatting up the 20-something waitress!! Also, we ate steak and potatoes-and-sausage with chopsticks!! Only in Japan!
Just as we were heading home we got a call from a friend, David, so we went and joined him for a quick drink in Shinjuku (also in Tokyo). The area we went to had a distinctly studenty vibe and we plan to head back there for further exploration soon..
We had a lazy Sunday, except for a little cleaning - although here cleaning doesn't seem to be always considered a chore: some of my students list cleaning their room as a hobby! Then it was back to work today...
That's all folks..