Dr John Hawkins
Welcome to my bit of the Maison de Stuff,
home to a huge load of pictures,
and my daily blog.
My email address is as above - I've put it in an image in a vein attempt to reduce the amount of spam I get.
- John's Journal / Blog
- John's Pictures
Main Index (text only)
- John's Travel
- Other Related Sites:
Maison de Stuff
- Recent Entries:
- Darts with Shingo-san
The Inexplicable Lure of Karaoke
Odds and Ends
This is an X-Ray Machine
Back to the Bureacracy
It's Vegetable, Tocho and Mince Pies
Showing Japan to the Japanese
Out with Dale
Yet More House Hunting
House Hunting Again
Another Work Night Out
A Little Piece of England (or Scotland!)
Working in Japan
Another night in Ikebukuro
- Darts with Shingo-san
- [Friday 30th December]
Well today was the first day of my six days off, and I spent the daytime doing pretty much nothing. I didn't even get up until about midday, then lolled around the house for most of the afternoon. I finally headed out around 3:30 to go and get a hair cut. I was determined not to mess about, so just walked straight into the nearest place to my flat, and, as luck would have it, they had a free slot. It was the first time I'd been to get a hair cut in Japan without Chie there for backup. Consequently I didn't get exactly the cut I wanted - slightly shorter than I would have liked, but at least that ought to mean it'll take longer before it needs cutting again!
At five I met up with Shingo-san (a friend of Chie's) in Shibuya, and headed over to a nearby izakaya. Chie joined us a while later, and then the three of us had a wander around trying to find somewhere else to go for a drink and something to eat, and oddly settled on a sort of Mexican themed darts bar. I'd never played darts in Japan - they have these sorts of electronic boards with lots of little holes in, and I presume some kind of magnets must be involved too. Clearly the good old fashioned spiky variety of darts are considered too dangerous! Anyway, had a few rounds of darts and a few more beers, and also met a Scotsman and a guy from America, who I chatted with for a bit.
- [Thursday 29th December]
Well, today was the last working day of the year for me. My company (at least the Japnese subsidiary) would be officially closed for the "year end holidays" over the next six days.
I left work a bit early to get home so I could be there to receive some deliveries. During the course of the evening we had a new washing machine and fridge delivered, plus also the manager from our previous abode turned up to return some of Chie's things which had actually been thrown away just before we moved. So now we have a pretty much complete apartment - all of the basic appliances and furnishings required to live somewhere.
As Chie got home a bit later than me, the fridge and washing machine people had to deal with me alone. Naturally they didn't speak any English (why should they?) so I had to receive the basic instructions for these appliances entirely in Japanese. As you might expect I didn't fully understand these long technical explanations, so watch this space for news of an unfortunate domestic accident!
After all of the deliveries we turned our thoughts to dinner. Feeling lazy we initially considered ordering in a pizza. Given that this works out rather expensive in Japan, we decided it might be better to brave the cold weather and eat out instead. We walked as far as Meidaimae (a big station which is about a 15 minute walk away), but somehow failed to find anywhere decent to eat. Instead we ended up just buying a few odds and ends and eating back at home.
- Settling In
- [Wednesday 28th December]
It is a few days now since we moved into our new apartment, and already I am getting quite accustomed to it. This quick acclimitisation may be partly to do with having had a very "nomadic" year - I have hardly stayed in any one place for more than a few weeks at a time, since we moved out of our old flat in Pangbourne back in April.
[Click here to read more...]
- The Inexplicable Lure of Karaoke
- [Tuesday 27th December]
Some time after 9 in the evening I found myself in the offices of a Tokyo radio broadcasting company, looking on as my new found drinking companions, somewhat tipsy, politely teased their colleagues who were still at work. It was an amusing but slightly odd moment - another one of those "Where am I?" sorts of situations, where I have to take a step back and remind myself how much daily life has changed since the start of this year.
[Click here to read more...]
- Odds and Ends
- [Monday 26th December]
I was required to leave work on time (no great burden there!) in order to be back at the flat to let some "little men" in to do a couple of odd jobs. The first guy was coming to install a kind of smoke / carbon monoxide detector thing, and the other guy was coming to fix a broken curtain rail. I attempted to chat a bit with the first guy, but pretty much left the second guy to it whilst I sat on the floor and wiled away the time on the internet. It was interesting to me how unobtrusive it felt - I could happily have sat there all night with the guy tinkering away in the other room without feeling uncomfortable or anything. In England I always felt I had to chat with these sorts of people, make them cups of tea, and stand by in case they needed anything.
Not much else to report really. It felt a little bit weird going straight back to work the day after Christmas - and indeed if it hadn't just so happened that Christmas fell on a weekend I wouldn't have had a day off at all!
- Christmas Day
- [Sunday 25th December]
It's hard to think of a good analogy for how Christmas Day went. The best I can manage is a very popular guest at a party, who was in fact your main reason for going there in the first place, but you could only manage to talk to in short bursts.
So in other words it felt like Christmas in spots, but was pretty drab in all the gaps inbetween.
[Click here to read more...]
- Christmas Shopping
- [Saturday 24th December]
Unlike back in the UK, there seemed to be no great problem with leaving one's Christmas shopping until Christmas eve - the shops were just as crowded as any other day. So I headed out by myself about 11:30 and spent a few hours wandering around the shopping streets of Shinjuku trying to find presents for Chie. It is quite difficult for me to do this kind of shopping in Japan - I'm not familiar with what kinds of shops sell what kinds of things, and signs are obviously hard work, not to mention having to ask staff for assistance with anything. Anyway, more or less I managed, and returned home by about 4 with what I considered to be a respectable bundle of gifts.
Spent the rest of the day back at the flat, except for a couple of forays out to nearby shops to buy odds and ends. Made a rather satisfying dinner - gnocchi with broccoli in a cheese sauce, which came out pretty well given all the usual difficulties of not being able to get quite the right ingredients. Wrapping presents was a slightly difficult exercise, as our flat only really has two fully separate rooms (well four if you include the little kitchen and the bathroom) and we can't use one of them in the evening at the moment as it has no light yet! So Chie wrapped presents while I was cooking, and I wrapped presents while Chie was taking a bath.
I fell asleep to the sounds of "Christmas with Frank and Bing", which I'd recently bought for something like the equivalent of two pounds. Marvellous.
- [Friday 23rd December]
After almost 8 months of moving around, and being either technically homeless or in temporary accomodation, Chie and I finally got to move into our own place again. Since I came to Japan two months prior we'd struggled with finding a place for one reason or another, so it was a tremendous relief to finally feel like we could start to get properly settled.
[Click here to read more...]
- [Thursday 22nd December]
I took a long lunch break from work today to go and meet the estate agents wnad pick up the keys for our new apartment. After meeting the estate agent at their office, I went with the relocation specialist to the new apartment for a general check round. Upon arriving there, we discovered that the locks were going to be changed - I'd been given the new keys, but the lock in the door was still the old one. This was a little disconcerting, but I was thoroughly assured that it would all be sorted out by the next day, our official moving in day.
In the evening I went out with my team for our bonenkai. A bonenkai is a peculiar Japanese party held at the end of the year - it's name literally translates as "forgetting the year party". Presumably one gets horribly drunk in an attempt to forget all of the bad things that have happened in the past year. It was pointed out to me this evening though that the "nen" part can also be read as age, rather than year, so another interpretation of bonenkai is the slightly less negative "forgetting your age party".
Anyway, in my team's case it was a jolly but very civilised affair - nobody drank a great deal (me included, you'll be glad to hear!) but it was a nice evening out, and surprisingly the conversation was not particularly work related either.
I certainly didn't forget the year, it has been a very eventful one for me, and perhaps because of this, when I look back now January seems like a very long time ago!
- This is an X-Ray Machine
- [Wednesday 21st December]
I had a very successful day today, and was extremely pleased with myself. Allow me to indulge my ego somewhat my listing today's small (but nonetheless proud) achievements.
[Click here to read more...]
- Losing Stuff
- [Tuesday 20th December]
Isn't losing stuff annoying?
When you open a bank account in Japan they give you a little book - like the ones you used to have when you had a Post Office bank account as a kid. Recently I had started to think I hadn't seen mine for a while. I spent some of the previous evening turning the flat upside down trying to find it, then spent some of this morning turning my desk at work upside down too. It was apparently nowhere to be seen.
I started to worry about it towards the end of the morning, and thought I probably ought to report it to the bank - maybe it had fallen out of my pocket on the train or something.
In the end it turned out not to be ncessary - I decided to have one last check back at the flat, and found it there in a cupboard which only Chie uses, buried under some of her clothes. I think she had put it in a "safe place" for me. So safe even I couldn't find it!
- Back to the Bureacracy
- [Monday 19th December]
After a spell relatively free of it, today I was re-emmersed into the wonderful world of bureaucracy. Partly this was down to lots of tasks that need completing in order to move into our new flat (hopefully this coming Friday!). Also though I needed to transfer some money from my Japanese bank account to my UK one, in order to pay off my credit card for all the expenses I had incurred whilst on my business trip in America, which I had then been reimbursed for in Yen.
All of this made me wonder what money actually is, a conundrum that has often baffled me. When you have a stack of notes or a heap of coins in your hand it is easier to reason about, but even that is of course "virtual" wealth - a promise from the national bank that issued it to turn it into something more tangible, like gold, should you ever ask (which of course no one ever does). Whilst I'm confused enough by that, the whole concept of electronic transfers between banks, and even more so between banks in different countries confuses the hell out of me. What actually happens?
- It's Vegetable, Tocho and Mince Pies
- [Sunday 18th December]
The title sounds rather like an introduction to a bizarre Japanese comedy act, don't you think? In fact this is a description of the main features of the day - lunch at a place called It's Vegetable, then later on a look at the view from Tocho, then rounding off with a spot of mince pie baking back at the flat.
[Click here to read more...]
- [Saturday 17th December]
Got up really late, and lolled about the flat until sometime after three in the afternoon, when hunger drove us to go out and find something to eat. After a very late lunch at the senselessly cheap Italian style "famiresu" near our temporary flat, we got the train into Shinjuku.
Spent a couple of hours shopping, and then went on a brief tour of foreign lands through the medium of Shinjuku's relatively cosmpolitan selection of bars. Started off with a couple of Belgian beers and some Frites at a bar called Frigo. The service was a bit crap to start off with (they had a rather confusing system for ordering which they didn't bother to explain at all), but my general impression of the place improved significantly as soon as the beer finally arrived!
From there, we both had a craving for something Middle Eastern, so we hunted around to find a Turkish Restaurant Chie had heard about. Conveniently it was actually pretty close to the Belgian bar. We had an odd meal in there - the main courses were all pretty meaty, so in the end we just had a starter (a mixed mezze, a feta salad and some pita breads), a few drinks (the ever wonderful raki) and then a dessert and Turkish coffees. Still, it was ver nice regardless.
- Showing Japan to the Japanese
- [Friday 17th December]
In the evening I went out with one of my colleagues, and one of his former colleagues from a previous job. The three of us met up in Shinjuku, however following a brief discussion it turned out none of us really knew anywhere decent around there, so instead I suggested going to my favourite night spot - Ikebukuro.
So we headed over to Ikebukuro and I showed them my two favourite places. First, the ever excellent Rohlan for dinner. My dining companions had never really eaten this kind of food before and literally couldn't believe it was all vegetarian (which started to give me doubts too!). It seemed to go down rather well anyway. Next we headed over to Quercus for a few whiskies and a bit of a chat with Watanabe-san, this too was great as always.
The conversation in Quercus had several times touched on 80s music for some reason, and so it seemed only proper to round the evening off at the karaoke place round the corner. We sang almost exclusively 80s music, ranging from the classics (like U2) to songs that really should have been left behind in that largely dubious decade - including, in a fit of insanity, I Should Be so Lucky. I had something akin to a panic attack part way through the song, when I "woke up" and realised I was in a karaoke booth in Tokyo singing a Kylie Minogue song. If somebody had told me five years ago this would one day be a standard Friday night out for me I wouldn't have believed them!
- [Thursday 16th December]
I've more or less been OK since I started my new job, and haven't had so much of the longing for England's green and pleasant land that I was afflicted by whilst in Japan over the summer. Today though, for no apparent reason, I woke up and decided I really wanted to go back to the UK.
[Click here to read more...]
- [Wednesday 14th December]
Not much to report really. Had another one of those three way tele-conferences with Europe and the US at 8AM, although the novelty of it is starting to wear off a bit now. I spent the rest of the day feeling really tired as I'd got up pretty early to be in the office in time for that.
One very slight update on the housing front - we've been given a (very) provisional moving in date of the 23rd for our new apartment. Of course this is provisional on the contract not actually falling through somehow - I'm still not taking anything for granted. I'd hoped to be able to move this coming weekend, but apparently the red tape will take longer than that. Not really sure why it needs to take that long, and I tried to get this hurried up, but basically got the standard "that's just the way it is" sort of response. Oh well.
If they can manage to get it sorted by the 23rd (note the if), then at least we'll be there in time for Christmas (just!) - not that it really means anything here in Japan, but it's just one of those psychological things I suppose. Again, we'll have to wait and see.
- Out with Dale
- [Tuesday 13th December]
Dale, who normally lives in Kyoto, was in Tokyo for a while to do with some project or other he's working on. We'd been trying for the last week or so to get together for a beer, but given us both being busy we hadn't managed it until today.
We met up in Shibuya, and basically went into the first izakaya we saw, just a very short walk from the station. We spent the evening having a really good natter, mostly about life in Japan, and our mutual struggles with learning Japanese.
It was great to catch up, and great to see a familiar face in an otherwise unfamiliar place.
- Decisions, Decisions
- [Monday 12th December]
I'd told Chie we ought to "sleep on" the decision about which apartment to apply for, thinking somehow it would all become magically clearer when we awoke. Well, as you might expect, this was really just a delaying tactic, and I woke up still in two minds as to which of the two places we liked to go for.
However, during the day I spoke to the estate agents and explained my indecision. I then rather nonchalantly suggested we were only interested in going ahead with the second place if they could get the reikin (up front fees, a pet hate of mine) down from one month's rent to zero. I didn't really think this was possible, but I thought as I wasn't that desperate to take either of the two places it was a worthwhile gamble.
To my suprise the estate agents got back to me at the end of the day and said they'd give us the flat with zero reikin. This was the sign I'd been waiting for, and after a quick consultation with Chie I gave the go ahead to the agent to start going ahead with the contract.
Well of course the contract could still fall through again like it did last time, but this time we're doing it all through my company, rather than as private individuals. It is apparently pretty rare to be turned down with a corporate contract, especially with a company as high profile as mine... but no doubt there is a first time for everything! We shall just have to wait and see.
- Yet More House Hunting
- [Sunday 11th December]
Let me be quite upfront in saying that I did not relish the prospect of another day lost in the pursuit of trying to find somewhere to live. I had pretty much made my mind up about the place we'd been the previous day, but, as it was going to be two of us living there, and Chie was not quite so sure, it was only fair to look at a few more places.
Oddly, it was the very last place we looked at that ended up taking our fancy in the end. I went in with a rather negative attitude - bizarrely we'd actually seen another apartment in the same building on a previous occasion, and as the last one was pretty bad I had already written this one off before even stepping through the door.
Actually though I was pleasantly surprised - it was very clean, pretty new, had a reasonable amount of space and a great big balcony - more like a roof terrace. I began to picture bay trees and big terracotta pots overflowing with rosemary and thyme.
So we finshed the day's apartment hunting quite indecided - prior to seeing that last place I had made my mind up, afterwas I was in two minds (and so was Chie, making us in four minds in total!).
- House Hunting Again
- [Saturday 10th December]
I awoke at 10AM with a noteworthy hangover, somewhat excaserbated by the general sense of dread at the prospect of another day of house hunting that lay before me. Somehow though the distinct impression of being "out of it" as a result of my, err, delicate disposition, actually helped to make the process a little less painless. We looked at a handful of different properties, with a couple of different agencies, and I found one place I at least rather liked. Chie was not quite as convinced, so it appeared we would have to devote the whole weekend to this unenviable chore. Ho, hum.
- Karaoke Bar
- [Friday 9th December]
This was the last day that all the US managers were visiting the Japanese office, and thus the last of the "series" of work nights out for a while. Actually though, I really enjoyed this one. Partly this was because we had a much smaller group - just my direct manager from the US and one of my Japanese colleagues, both of whom are really nice guys. We started off the evening in a tempura place (a little slow, but the food was OK) and then went on from there to my manager's favourite place somewhere near Shinjuku - a kind of karaoke bar.
Usually when I go to a karaoke place it is of the booth variety, so you can only be heard by the group you are with. This was the slightly more traditional version, where everyone in the bar can hear you sing. This actually seemed less embarassing to me somehow, and I sang a couple of times during the course of the evening. I particularly enjoyed singing that song by The Proclaimers (I'm Gonna Be, perhaps better known as 500 miles) - as the bar staff joined in to do the backing vocals.
Somehow it was 4AM by the time I got home. I'm still a little unsure about how it got that late - I thought it was not long after midnight when we left the bar, but in reality it must have been more like 3. I guess it must be down to the old saying about time flying when you're having fun!
- Proper Food
- [Thursday 8th December]
Given the previous three day marathon of eating very badly, I was determined to have a day with some decent grub.
So, for lunch, I was determined to eat out. A colleague of mine very kindly agreed to come along with me, and together off we went to the other side of the station for an Indian meal. The quality was pretty good actually - I would definitely go again - the only slight minus point was that the portions seemed to be a little on the small side. In fairness I probably just thought this because I'd been half starved for three days, and it was lunch after all - probably "normal" people didn't require the amount of food I did on that occasion.
Dinner was another "proper meal" - I made a sort of vegetarian Lancashire hot pot, although no doubt it would be unrecognisable to any genuine residents of Lancashire. Anyway, I thought it was really good, and it was very comforting to have a full plate in front of me, that I knew it was "safe" to eat the entirety of.
I had to stay up a bit late - I had an international tele-conference at midnight (talking with the US and Europe). The conference itself was OK - albeit that we didn't seem to reach an agreement. It was a little frustrating afterwards though - I found it hard to go from "work mode" to "sleep mode" so didn't manage to get to sleep until nearly 3AM.
- Shabby Shabby
- [Wednesday 7th December]
Yet another work night out, with a slightly different group of managers from the US. They wanted to go to a shabu shabu place - a Japanese style of food which basically amounts to boiled meat. So completely crap for me. That made this the third night in a row where I couldn't eat properly. I was starting to get pretty fed up with it by now, especially as I don't seem to have been able to get a decent lunch the past three days either.
I particularly wanted to avoid this outing as there were some pretty high up managers going to be there, who I hadn't met before, and I know how my temper tends to get frayed when I can't eat properly. Allow me to qualify the term pretty high up managers with a sample statement from the evening - "Well I was having dinner with Bill and his wife, and...".
So anyway, I don't think I made a particularly great impression, but still, what do you expect if you starve a guy for three nights in a row then ply him with beer...?
The day wasn't all bad though, I did have quite a fun meeting in the afternoon. I'm working on a project in conjunction with our US office and our European office at the moment, and today we had a three way tele-conference. Although originally about ten people were invited to the meeting, for one reason or another only four people could actually make it in the end. A couple of minutes into the meeting I realised something was a little odd, and then it occurred to me that every single participant in the meeting was British! The chances have to be relatively small, given that it is an American company, and actually none of the three offices involved in the tele-conference were in Britain.
Obviously, there's nothing wrong with my American or Japanese colleagues - they're all really smart people, and we get on really well and anything... but for whatever reason, being able to hear British voices is a real pleasure for me.
I smiled the whole way through the meeting, which, as it was a tele-conference, nobody else could see.
- Another Work Night Out
- [Tuesday 6th December]
Another work oriented night out to entertain the visiting managers from the US. I attempted to pull out of this one, on account of wanting to see Chie at least one night this week (and also get a decent meal!). However, I failed somewhat in my attempt, and instead was persuaded to bring her along.
We went to a yakitori (grilled chicken) oriented izakaya, so again I didn't really eat. Still, it was nice that Chie could come along, so I guess I shouldn't grumble.
- [Monday 5th December]
This week a lot of managers from USHQ are over at the Tokyo office for meetings etc, which seems to mean that rather a lot of evenings are going to be tied up with entertaining our guests. Whilst I'm not adversed to being sociable, it does have the unfortunate side effect that poor Chie has most of a week spending a lot of time by herself, which isn't so nice. The other side effect is that I generally can't eat that well when dining out in Japan - particularly if it is Japanese food as our guests will expect.
So tonight we went to an izakaya place not too far from the office. It was quite a nice place, but I ate pretty badly which I always find makes me a bit fed up. On the plus side it wasn't a particularly late outing, but still by the time I got back to the flat I really didn't have the enthusiasm to cook anything.
- A Little Piece of England (or Scotland!)
- [Sunday 4th December]
A psychiatrist would probably say I spent the day hiding from the reality that I am living in Japan!
Chie and I went over to Roppongi at the start of the afternoon, to get a Sunday roast at the Hobgoblin pub there. As a slight disappointment there wasn't any kind of vegetarian version of the roast, but they did at least do the ubiqutous pub stable - the vegetable lasagne. It wasn't all that great, which was oddly comforting - it was bad in very similar ways to how vegetable lasagnes are bad back in England. It was washed down with an expensive but very nice pint of decent British ale.
From three in the afternoon onwards I went along to a whisky society tasting at a bar in Roppongi Hills. This was the first time I've properly attended an SMWS event in Japan, and I wasn't disappointed. There was a fantastic selection of society malts there (over 200 apparently), and all very reasonably priced. I had a nice chat with the organiser there, and also a guy from the US who happened to be working in broadcasting (as I still am, vaguely speaking). A great afternoon!
- [Saturday 3rd December]
The last seven days has been kind of hard - the unpleasant business of being refused for a flat last weekend had rather dented my opinion of Japan. As a result I had not been that happy being here during that time - it had made me feel rather unwelcome.
Today, however, I had began to like being in Japan once more. We went for a daytrip, with our friend Hide, to a mountain called Takaosan, conveniently only a short train journey from Tokyo. Probably the pictutres explain it better than I could in words, but it was just a really nice day out!
- No, Cinderella...
- [Friday 2nd December]
Today was my company's Christmas party - but I didn't go. Apparently you could only take your "significant other" if you were married which seemed a little backwards to me. Having always taken Chie along to Christmas parties at my previous company, it just wouldn't feel right to go without her, so I decided I just wouldn't go at all.
I'm not actually particularly unhappy about this though, as the response when I raised the issue was really good. I mentioned it to my manager, and he said he'd have a word about it with the President of the Japanese division, which I thought was kind of cool. The Japanese division comprises several thousand staff, so the President is quite a busy person! I kind of liked the idea that what I thought was a petty complaint was going to be escalated right to the top. It's a very good company like that - if you complain, people really seem to listen.
Anyway, instead of the Christmas party, Chie and I went out for dinner very close by to where we're currently living, at a place which was heavily "boat themed" and a little, well, weird. The food was really good and everything, it's just the atmosphere was pretty odd. I for one was keen to eat up and leave as soon as possible! We then went from there to a little izakaya place, also just a minute's walk from where we're currently living. It's good area like that - loads of shops, bars and restaurants right on our doorstep.
- Working in Japan
- [Thursday 1st December]
Well it's already over a month since I started my new job in Japan, albeit that a large chunk of that time (three weeks) was spent in the US. So this is the third week that I have actually been working in Tokyo.
When I lived and worked in England, I was living literally opposite to my office and a very pleasant little village in a fairly rural area. Tokyo is obviously quite strong contrast to this. Another thing that is a big contrast is getting used to a commute - I've gone from 45 seconds to 45 minutes each way. Thus far though, I haven't found it to be too bad. I'm going against the main flow of commuters so the trains I use are generally not too crowded - I can sometimes sit down on the way into work.
I find myself listening to music a lot more recently - largely because of the hour-and-a-half of my day when there isn't much else I can do. I'm really getting my money's worth out of that MP3 player I bought in the summer.
I suppose in a way the music is not just there to pass the time, it provides a sort of buffer between me and my surroundings, which I'm still getting used to. Sometimes on my daily commute I have a lapse of concentration, and when I recover, I look around me and think "Help! Everybody's Japanese! What am I doing here?". Sort of a double take you could call it.
Probably this will pass in time, but for the moment the whole thing is a bit weird.
- Another night in Ikebukuro
- [Wednesday 30th November]
I didn't feel like a night in - our temporary flat is rather pokey and not a lot of fun. So instead I was determined to go and visit my friend Watanabe-san at Quercus Bar, as last time it had been rather busy and we'd not had much of a chance for a chat.
Whilst in Ikebukuro we needed to get something to eat, and it was hard not to go to the ever excellent Rohlan. I chose some quite different things from the menu this time - had their hot and sour soup with noodles which was gigantic and really fantastic.
It turned out Quercus was pretty busy again, so we didn't get a chance to talk much to Watanabe-san after all. I did enjoy some rather nice whiskies though - the particular highlight being a German bottler's Laphroaig - it was a company I hadn't heard of before - something like Jumping Jack...? Anyone, whatever it was called it was very good.
- 333rd Day
- [Tuesday 29th November]
I have already got bored of the lunch options available at the supermarket next door to my new office. As a result, I thought it would be a good plan to try and tempt some of my colleagues to go out somewhere for lunch. I'd heard tell there was an Indian restaurant nearby, so all I needed was a contrived celebration, and, lo and behold, a quick glance to my good friend wikipedia notified me it was in fact the 333rd day of the year. One short lie about English tradition later and I was all set for a welcome break to the usual monotony lunchtime represents.
Well, it didn't quite work out as planned, but it was a half success. Owing to meetings etc nobody could quite make it for lunch, but my colleagues, keen not to offend my English cultural sensibilities, were all very keen to join in the festivities in the evening instead.
So we went to the Taz Mahal, near Shinjuku station, for a slow but very pleasant curry, and a few beers.
It is very encouraging to discover that the "any excuse for a party" train of thought appears to fly in Japan - either that or they genuinely believed this was an English tradition and were all too polite to offend!