Tuesday, May 16, 2006

An expensive night out

Well, I guess this post has been a bit longer in coming than I’d planned. Things have been a bit hectic and it doesn’t help that I’ve been feeling a bit of apathy lately about most things. I guess I’m just in another one of my funk moods. One of my friends is taking off, and my best friend here, Julian, is talking about leaving in July or August. People come and go, I guess. I have Japanese friends, but I don’t think they can take the place of the foreign friends I’ve had here, Ana, Damien, & Julian. The language barrier here can be quite strong, not to mention the natives never seem to have time to hang out. I don’t mind if I can’t see my friends every day, but when many of them seem to only have time once a month or so, that’s not quite enough. Not to mention I get the feeling from certain ones that they only reason they hang out is to practice their English. Being a walking language lesson gets old, especially when it’s your day job, too.

So enough whining. My Golden Week vacation wasn’t as eventful as Id’ve liked, though it wasn’t too bad. Last Friday I learned an important lesson. Japanese people may have the stereotype of being very punctual and respectful, but that’s just not true. Julian and I organized a party for the ALTs in the school system, as well as various teachers we’d met at different schools. We invited about 25. Fifteen said they’d come, so we reserved that many places at an izakaya (sort of restaurant/drinking establishment). Well, only 9 showed up. Three of our ALTs cancelled the day of, and 2 of the Japanese teachers evidently misunderstood what I told them, as well as the email ,in Japanese, that Julian’s girlfriend wrote, about the date and time. So Julian and I had to pay the $30/person that didn’t show up. It was a fiasco, financially. But we who showed up enjoyed ourselves. On the way out, we passed by some mannequin heads that had been put out on the street. Julian got ahold of one and managed to button his shirt up around his head so he looked abnormally tall. He went all the way to the train station with it like that. He got lots of looks, and we were all in stitches. I don’t know if the other teachers found it funny, but I thought it was hilarious.

So this month I’m trying to keep expenses down, yet every weekend I have some sort of expensive social obligation. This weekend is looking to be a fun one, if everything goes as planned. Friday night I’m meeting a couple people and heading up to Tokyo. The Akihabara district, to be exact. We’re going to head to a maid café. I’ve been wanting to find one and check it out for awhile, especially when my friends Aaron and Molly came to visit. We tried searching Akihabara, but no luck. We did find some girls dressed as maids, but they were advertising their pop band.

A maid café, apparently, is a café where all the workers are young (or young-looking) girls dressed up in skimpy French maid outfits. They were started up a few years ago to serve the otaku crowd: the geek crowd that has taken over Akihabara district, known for being the electronics shopping district. Evidently, they’ve also expanded to shops that offer haircuts, manicures, etc. Now you don’t have to be a greasy-haired dork to be an otaku, you can be a well-kempt dork who gets manicures from 30-year-olds dressed as his favorite anime character. I’ll keep you posted on how it goes.

No comments: