Monday, 5 September 2011

Day the second and day the third : はい, そです!

Though I’ve made so much in the title of it being the second day, I’m sort of mixing up Sunday and Monday here.

I -  Sunday

A – Meeting Eiko

Eiko is the charming, oh-so lovely, Japanese lady who will be the hand that feeds for the next year.
She and her friend run two language schools that cater for all ages. I got the job from Al “Big Al” Farnsworth who, as it happens, I shared a corridor with at Fitz in my first year. He was right in telling me that Eiko was very sweet and very flexible. I’m talking about her adaptability in organising things, of course.
She came along to good ol’ Cambridge House in the morning and gave us various instructions about teaching. She has good English, but with a strong accent, thus adding to the overall effect of lovely sweet gentleness.
I’m concerned that there may be some issues with organisation, however, as it seems our year are being made to teach at Linden Hall primary school (affiliated with / owned by our university) for three times as many hours as the previous year. Eiko has made it clear that she doesn’t want us teaching at her school on the same days as Linden Hall, but this seems unavoidable at the moment.

B –

On Sunday evening, after two “home” “cooked” “meals” for breakfast and lunch, we decided it would be nice to go out for dinner. And how right we were! We went back to the ubiquitous (in this blog at least) AEON mall to the aptly titled “Gourmet Street”, and what did we happen upon but this place:

Don’t let the grumpy little man on the advertising fool you, this place was delicious (おいしでした). It was your classic sushi-on-a-conveyor-belt setup, with all of the pickled ginger and soy you could shake a pair of chopsticks at (because, let’s face it, we’re not using them properly are we?). A particular favourite that Henry and I both enjoyed was the powdered green tea and I forgive its having scalded me several times.

We had a marvellous time being completely befuddled by the etiquette in the place. Did you just take from the belt or were the things there made especially for other people? Eventually, the waitress took pity on us and, seeing that her attempts to explain in Japanese had proven fruitless (and foodless), got us to point at what we wanted on the menu, and had the chefs just make those things for us and bring them to us.
The food was, I must re-insist, absolutely gorgeous. I have not, I don’t think, ever had better, softer, more delicate, fresher fish. Fellow Japanterer Maddie even went so far as to have her first taste of seaborne flesh in fifteen years, deciding to suspend her vegetarianism and be seduced by the delights of Japan. She can’t change her tun(a) at the moment, and won’t stop carping (salm)on and on about it!

I also loved the atmosphere of the place: no music and lots of shouting. Every customer was greeted with a lungful of “Irashaii!!!” and sent on his way with equal zeal. The best part was that my meal (and I was well and truly stuffed) only came to around 600 yen, or a bit more than 5 GBP. Suck on that Yo-Sushi!

II – Monday

Today’s key event was going to the university campus for the first time.

I’ve neither the time nor the inclination to describe every feature of our large open campus, save to say that it has a “primitive” gym, two dining halls, tennis courts, an “English garden”, and a “Sweet Gum” tree dedicated to Harvard, Oxford and Cambridge.
Seb took us round the place, and all seems in order, though we were a bit disgruntled to learn about our somewhat burdensome Linden Hall teaching schedule. Oh well.

As both canteens had shut by the time we arrived, Seb ordered pizza which was nowhere near as bizarre as I’d hoped. Hell, for the first time ever I think, I had a pizza sauce that actually tasted of tomatoes! I know, crazy.

After our tour, we popped into Futsukaichi to get rubber stamps that everyone in Japan apparently uses as a signature.

Here's a funny shop name: 

In the rubber stamp shop, I opted to keep the name I had been given by my students in China (正康) but cannot remember how that is pronounced in Japanese. I’ll go and pick that up on Wednesday, then my seal shall I wield, for peace, for justice and for health.

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