New Year’s Eve

January 1, 2007

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Last night was new year’s eve. I went to the B-block for the first time. It’s a bar in town, and is considered the hang for all the foreigners living in the area (i.e. English teachers). There I experienced what I’d heard about Japanese women being attracted to westerners. It’s true! Thank God. The evening began, where else, but at Darumaya. We ate the customary New Year’s Eve soba noodles and spent the first few minutes of 2007 there giving toasts and feeling good. Another Japanese custom is to visit a temple on New Year’s Eve, so the next spot was Ichijo-san, the same temple where there was a festival a couple of months back. It’s apparently the place to go on New Years Eve, and the word was that there were some 2000 people there at one point. We arrived close to one o’clock so the crowd had substantially thinned out. The temple was very nicely lit and there were vendors and a large fire burning on the path leading up to it. I rang the temple bell and said my new years prayer and headed to the fire to warm my hands. There was a large barrell of sake for all to partake in, so Liam and I had another toast out of the common drinking cups (gross!). From there I convinced Liam to go to B-block to see what was going on. We’d encountered some young drunk guys at the temple who really wanted to talk to us about American basketball and they followed us to the place, but decided at the door that they weren’t able to pay the 1000yen cover to get in. Right off the bat I got stuck talking to a really drunk Japanese guy and I couldn’t understand a word he was saying with the loud house music and his slurring in a language I don’t speak. To get away from him I pulled the old bastard switcheroo and introduced him to Liam and walked away. I ended up meeting a bunch of people, including a very nice married couple from a nearby town who spoke a bit of English. The woman, Ryo, upon discovering that I didn’t have a girlfriend proceeded to take me to the front of the dance floor and push me towards the girls dancing there. According to Ryo it doesn’t matter if I don’t speak Japanese, so I danced and was well recieved. I had a great time, and ended up kissing Ryo (oops). I left sometime around 4am and was so drunk that I had a hard time finding my way home. It concerned me that the holidays would be lonely here in Japan, but for both Christmas and New Years I’ve gone out and met great people had a wonderful time. I feel that much of the difficult period getting used to living in a different place and in a different culture has passed, and so far all omens indicate that this will be a good year. Yoi Otoshi O!

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