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Saturday, January 20, 2007

When I left this morning, around 10, it was snowing! Just a tiny, tiny, tiny bit - but still, snow! It was actually little enough that I thought it might be something blowing off a tree or whatever, also because I really didn't think it was that cold, but in fact, it was snow! Once I got off the train it was stopped though, and the rest of the day has just been on and off drizzle.

Had my interview with the diamond guy this morning - he was really interesting, and I learned a lot about diamonds - I had no idea that they were solely in India for about 3000 years, and that 10/11 diamonds in the world have gone through India in some way, for processing or polishing, etc. We were talking about the rose cut today, which is the oldest cut, done by hand, and coming back into vogue - the pieces he showed me were very interesting, and unique - I really like that cut, despite not being into jewelry, or liking diamonds particularly.

After that I took a very inefficient trip on the train from Roppongi to Shibuya (seemingly the way to go is on the bus, which didn't even occur to me, but it took twice as long to get there on the train as by bike, given that I went through Ginza!). Luckily, I had lots of time, and walked on up to the New Yorkers Cafe just about five minutes before I was due to teach. Today I was teaching the guy I've been teaching the longest, it was a bit interesting b/c the poor guy was pretty hungover today (he got home at 8am), so he didn't talk so much haha. It was fine though, we talked about Noh theatre and how its not exactly the most thrilling of theatre disciplines, and just some other random stuff, nothing earth shattering or anything!

Walked home, and then called home and had a nice long chat with Mom, watched Ugly Betty with Peter, and then had a nap for about an hour, before waking up to go meet Hitomi for bowling. It was pretty fun! The bowling alley seemed pretty clean and nice compared to the ones at home, and came with some bonus features like a fat jiggling machine, and shoe vending machine.

(one side of the kawaii ball I was using)
(other side of my girlie girlie ball)
(The score screen was very high tech! They had these cameras watching the action, so you could see in detail exactly how the ball was hitting the pins, and then they also had a thing to measure how fast the ball was moving (we seemed to average 20-28km/hr), and they also had several animations to go with your shot, depending on how it turned out - so there was a gutterball animation, a split animation, strike, spare, etc. Pretty cool!)
(fat jiggling machine - sooooooo weird! you stand on this board thing, and then crank it up to around 20 jiggles a second- it has a thing on it which says how many calories you've supposedly burned, and how far it's the equivalent to running. Supposedly in about 3 minutes I ran 1.5 k (and almost died from laughing so hard), but I dunno, it was weird. Peter says he could feel his muscles tensing, all I felt was fat as a I jiggled around, but it was certainly entertaining. After a few minutes on the test tube shaker I felt vaguely carsick and got off, but I'm glad I tried it, even if I prefer myself less violently mixed! Glad we did this BEFORE dinner!)

Despite claiming to be not very good at bowling, Hitomi cleaned up the first game, and although I managed to win the next two (I think it was the Hello Kitty ball I was using), her great first showing meant that she won the cumulative scoring. I beat Peter by two strokes over the night, which is funny because I actually had two gutter balls count in the scoring - once it hit a pin lying in the gutter into a standing pin and so I got one down there, and then on one it bounced out of the gutter again! Peter is claiming technical difficulties made him lose out on a strike, but I'm not sure of the details, so I can't comment on that... We only played three games before deciding we'd had enough 10 pin (you wouldn't want to get a shoulder injury or anything!), and decided to get some food.
(hot food vending machine at the bowling alley... I remember eating from one of these at the atom bomb museum in Hiroshima, but I haven't on this trip...yet)
(that part of the sign is mostly why I took the picture)
(shoe vending machine - put in your Y300, select a size, and away you go)
(another great sign, it reads "if you notice you, a manner changes" it took us forever to kind of figure out what they were on about - its attached to an ashtray, and if the ashtray motion senses you, it starts a ventilation fan. Not so clear by the eigo signage, but that's ok!)
We went to a nice little isakaya (sp?) in Nakano, and had a plethora of tasty food. I was trying to figure out what the link between isakayas is, because the three or so I've been in have all been COMPLETELY different, but Peter says they're just places where you get lots of little share type plates, eat, chat etc. "A place to get some food to wash down your beer" is how he put it.

In any case, we had sushi, (I even had a couple of pieces although one was soy and one was slightly cooked tuna, but still!), these funny flaky bits of what turns out to be the skin formed in the tofu making process (it was much better than it sounds!), deep fried tofu, tempura (sooooo good!), some kind of Korean style rice with pork and egg that you finish cooking on the table with the heat of the earthenware bowl (also soooo tasty!), salad with cold pork, yakitori (chicken of various types), and, slightly randomly, a spring roll type outside with potato and cheese inside. It was all pretty good, especially the tempura, rice, and some of the yakitori. I ordered a really weird drink, mostly just to blog about it - sparkling milk of some variety, but in the end, it turned out to be alcoholic, and since it was unopened I sent it back and exchanged it for some OJ - sorry about that re: the blog!

The place was pretty nice, we sat around a wooden bar, but there were also several private rooms where you sat on the floor around a private table, and the whole room was raised up a little bit - it looked very cosy! In the floor, they had many Plexiglas kind of windows where you could look at water and stones, etc. The door to get into the place was probably about four feet high, so we all had to duck inside - it was pretty cute! Nice vibe all around, but no photos unfortunately...

Back home, and its about 1:40 right now, I really want to get to bed pretty soon since I'm supposed to be teaching at 8 tomorrow, so I need to get up upsettingly early!


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