If expenses are worth it can you really call it expensive?

If I were to refer to this past weekend as expensive, I don’t think that would be accurate. I put aside 23,000 yen for initial two weeks in Tokyo, hoping that to last me until settling into Kato city. That might have worked if I did nothing the entire two weeks, but having friends means we go and do stuff. How terrible.

Friday night Nick, his housemate Ben and I met up with Junichi and five of his coworkers by Hachiko in Shibuya for dinner and drinks. I invited two of my fellow Interac recruits to join as well, but they were not able to make it. A shame that, as the okonomiyaki restaurant we went to was kind of awesome. 2,500 yen each bought us three rounds of different types of make-it-yourself okonomiyaki and nomihodai (all-you-can-drink.) Trying to figure out how you make each style was entertaining in itself, and made a good getting to know you game with Junichi’s coworkers.

Despite everyone in the group speaking varying levels of Japanese and English, communication had a rough start at first. However, I’m reminded of the placard for Kirin City, the Japanese equivalent of T.G.I. Friday’s, which reads “Beer communication.” There is truth in that.After a few beers we were all much more talkative. How much we actually understood, that’s questionable. We finished the night at a small standing bar where Junichi bought the last round. Despite it being Friday, we needed to head home before the Sobu line turned into a pumpkin. Calling it quits at 11pm, we made plans for Sunday.

With gorgeous weather, Nick, Ben and I started our day with a trip to Good Day Books in Ebisu. The two of them had some literature to trade in for new reads. I was fortunate to find a book on the Kansai dialect for rather cheap. Now I may actually be able to understand what people say to me in Hyogo. Doubtful though.

Finishing our book shopping, we took a stroll along the streets of Ebisu, noting its sophisticated and relaxing atmosphere. We eventually found ourselves at the Ebisu Garden Place, and decided on an early afternoon beer at the Ebisu Beer Station. After a good drink and healthy mocking of the excessive Nicholas Cage “Bad Lieutenant” posters, we made our way to Shinjuku.

I suppose it’s appropriate that Nick’s goal in Shinjuku was to buy cigars, as Shinjuku’s Kabuchi-cho is know as a center for vice. I was amused that the name of the cigar store was the same as the bar we intended to patronize for the evening. After picking up some light Cuban cigars and cloves (both of which perfectly legal in Japan) we made our way to our final destination for the evening: Shimbashi.

Meeting Junichi and one of his coworkers at Shimbashi station, we made our way to Kagaya, only to find it closed on Sundays. In retrospect, I should have expected that. We instead made our way to a nice katsu restaurant. Following that, two rounds at a standing izakaya near the station made me feel like I was thrown into an episode of the Yakuza Papers. The small, drab but traditional smoke filled room had a lot of atmosphere and no atmosphere all at once. The rotary pay phone was also a nice touch. This is the sort of thing I would not try on my own, but with Junichi makes for a fun exploration of everyday Japanese living. We finished off the evening with karaoke at Bow Wow Karaoke parlor. The place has a surprisingly good selection and prices, but sadly no nomihodai. A trip to the combini solves that issue, and we rocked the night away with A-ha, Muse, Blue Hearts, Base Ball Bear, Bump of Chicken and Beck.

Between food, trains, books, drinks and karaoke I spent 10,000 yen Sunday alone. Considering how much I did, that’s not a lot of money. I can’t really call Sunday expensive, but I have to watch my budget from now on. Especially since I have a date with Erina tomorrow, lunch with Yumemi and birthday dinner for Ben on Thursday, and I hope to do karaoke with Taiki on Friday. I should rely a bit more on my credit card where I can. Honestly though, I can’t put a price on good times.


2 responses

  1. Amy

    mmm…okonomiyaki is so good! Good to hear you’re having a blast in Japan, Keith.

    March 22, 2010 at 11:35 pm

  2. Awww it sounds like you’re having so much fun! I wish I could join you on some adventures but I’m trapped in no-man’s land behind the Kakegawa mountain no one told me about. Hope all is well!

    March 29, 2010 at 1:44 pm

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