Friday, May 05, 2006

Children's Day

Today is Children's Day and coloured koi streamers can be seen flying out front people's homes.

I met up with Sam, Alison and Marissa for a shopping trip to Porto Bazar. Being GW, it was so crowded and there were lines for everything. To look at stuff, to use the changerooms, to pay, to get into a restaurant - it was crazy. Starbucks and Macca's had lines right out of the door! We took the free shuttle bus to get there and it took us longer than if we had walked there. I don't think I've ever seen PB that crowded before.

We went to Gaylord's for lunch and then Sam headed back. Each of us walked away making only one purchase each. Then we parted ways and I went home for a bit before heading back out again to meet up with my exchange students.

I had some time on my hands so I went to Kitano-zaka in Sanners to check out the Infloreta (?) display. Every year they block off the street and lay lawn down on the road and use flower petals, stalks, stones and what not to make pictures, kind of like a mosaic. Unfortunately today was the last day and being quite windy, I think a lot of the petals flew around so by the time I went to see it, they might have decided to start clearing everything up early and were raking them all up. Boo!

So I got back on the train and headed to Shinsaibashi to meet Chieko after she finished training for her new job. We walked around the newly refurbished Sogo department store - so nice and shiny and new. Daimaru's cosmetics floor is breathtaking. Keita is now working in the Mont Bell kid's section so we went up to see him.

He met up with us after he finished work and took us to this izakaya bar place which he often goes too. It reminded me of those chinese restaurants or food stalls which aren't exactly the cleanest but are definitely the tastiest. We had akashiyaki (Akashi style takoyaki), doteyaki (stewed pork and konnyaku on skewers), baby squid things, fish sausage tubes deep fried with seaweed and batter, fried fish and other yummy recommendations from Keita.

Then I got a call from Gohei - my host student. He was in Sannomiya for a wedding party that night but it finished early so he said he'd come and meet us. We then headed back to Umeda and met up with him. He is still so freakin' tall but since he doesn't play American football anymore and is too busy working at a bank, he said he'd lost 10 kgs!

Keita took us to this really nice stylish cafe and we had coffee and dessert. It was really fun to catch up with each other and see how much we've changed in 9 years. It's funny because in some ways, we're still the same as we were before.

We decided to call up some other of the exchange students and because it was GW, Hiroshi was back from Tokyo and Yukihiro was back from Kyushu to visit their respective families in Takarazuka. Yukihiro said he could meet up with us, so we decided to head to Takarazuka.

Gohei, Keita, Chieko & me

Keita and Gohei speaking to Yukihiro over speaker phone

He's so tall!
The W's are for GW

We caught one of the last trains back to where Gohei now lives (he lives in his company's dormitory - quite a common practise in Japan where employees live together in an apartment block with their own little rooms and have shared facilities), picked up Gohei's car and drove to Takarazuka to pick up Yukihiro.

Being in a car driving around with friends felt so good and normal. I really miss that feeling since living in Japan. It was about 1-ish and we decided to go bowling. When we were exchange students in Japan, there was one time when we went bowling...Baka Bowling! Baka meaning fool, we just did anything when it came to bowling the ball and trying to knock down the pins. Some things just never change and it was still as hilarious as ever.

The bowling shoes even came in vendy machines. You just push the button and out they drop.


I got a STRIKE!!

Gohei in his pin stripe suit and bowling shoes
After my go, I turned around and saw this....

They had girl and boy bowling pin mascots suits. Classic.

We all got free mini bowling pin keitai straps because we put on the suits. We also got given a giant inflatable bowling ball which the boys janken-ed to see who would blow it up. Gohei lost.

We played two games and decided to call it a night (or very early morning). We took a purikura and Gohei managed to win a whole heap of sweets.

W's for GW - Yukihiro is making a W sign with the chuppa chups

Gohei dropped me and Chieko back at her house. Had a shower and got to bed around 4am. It was a very long day and night but I had so much fun. Domo Arigatou!


At 6:33 pm, Anonymous evelyn said...

Hi, ur life full with a lots of wonderful moment!! Love to read ur blogs, enjoy with ur life so much. U made me feel ... Life are so beautifuls.

At 9:00 am, Blogger Christine said...

evelyn - Thanks for your comment! It's only because I'm living in Japan at the moment, I love it here and it constantly keeps me entertained. Life is beautiful ~ it's what you make it to be.


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