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Well the blogs up to date, eventually..... It`s my last day in the office here, flying out tomorrow, what can I do tonight?
Ummmmmmmm, I know, how about a farewell drink with that friendly Yoshinkan chappie down in Roppongi . Have arranged to meet up with Stumpy again for a farewell drink after work tonight, although I have promised that I will only be having a "half"............ Am I stupid or what (again, I didn`t ask for comments from the peanut gallery thank you)?
Honestly, no, really, I`m travelling tomorrow, I can`afford to get messed up like last week!! (that`s why I`m writing it here up front before I go, so if I do get drunk, not that Mike would do that to me again, would he? , he`s got nowhere to hide and everyone will know who`s fault it is..............hahahahahahaaaaaaaa ).
Before I leave, one comment on the very cool menu system at the izakaya I went to the other night (a different one). Most Japanese izakaya have a very extensive picture based menu. This one was no different, except that it was all on a touch screen. All you did was look at the pics, touch the one you want and add it to the list, once your list is complete you press send and wait. Food starts arriving shortly after. When we arrived at the izakaya, my colleague ordered a coke without ice through a real live waitress, when we ordered a second drink through the automated menu, it also turned up without ice. How cool is that, it must have recorded my voice when I placed the initi
My last training session in Japan this trip, Going to Nakano dojo tonight, the hombu of our association (within the Aikikai). Sugiura Sensei, Nojima Sensei and Kaicho will all be there. Sad that it`s the last one, but kind of glad, it`s costing me a fortune in laundry bills at the hotel to get my keiko gi washed, 2000 yen each time (10 quid or $20) same price as one of their $B!H(Byummy$B!I(B breakfasts which am now avoiding as the local Starbucks is 75% cheaper and far more appetizing.
Work drags, well, I`ve got to write up these blog updates haven`t I? I`m late, gotta dash back to the hotel, pick up my freshly cleaned, and pressed keiko gi, yep, they do at least press my gi when they launder it (suppose that makes it worth 2000 yen then), and then get over to Nakano................
I get there just in time, Matsumoto Sensei doesn`t remember me, but then why should he? $B!H(BOh,......... BRYAN!!$B!I(B, he remembers, or at least makes it look like he does . Class begins and .............................. everything just turns to the proverbial brown stuff. I thought after 14 years of practice I`d at least be able to offer a passable attempt at doing this stuff, but no, not tonight............
Before long, $B!H(BBryan!$B!I(B, Matsumoto Sensei calls me up, $B!H(BIt`s been a while$B!I(B he tells the class, $B!H(BBryan`s from England$B!I(B. $B!H(BTsuki$B!D!D(B.migi!$B!I(B he says, I step and punch and hit the floor like a ton of bricks.......
Missing training at Honcho dojo tonight, here on a business trip so must make a vague attempt at doing some work............
Have to give two presentations to the local office today, on two of our new products. One presentation I did for the techies yesterday, have to give it to Sales today, but they`re not interested are they, it`s a bloody technical presentation!!
I begin, two slides in the President does his best to conceal his continued yawning and at least tries to make it look like he`s interested, the sales guy is not so tactful, he`s already asleep with his head tilted back snoring. If I didn`t know any better, I`d think that I was a lousy presenter.................(no comments from the peanut gallery please).
No, it`s a known fact here in Japan, people only go to presentations and meetings in order to catch up on sleep. I`ve been to too many where more than half the attendees are asleep within seconds of sitting down..............So why DO they work these stupid hours?
I start skipping slides, ignoring the technical content and focusing on basic feature content, blimey, 100 slides finished in 20 mins, took me five times longer than this dicussing with the techies yesterday!!!
After lunch I have to run the second presentation, this one I`m running cold. I didn`t write it, and hadn`t had a chance to preview it before giving it (don`t ya just love it), so it came as no surprise that the whole thing was just..................well,(insert expletive here)!
Tuesday evening, I am so bloody knackered it`s not true. Works finished and all I want to do is crash, but I now have the obligatory nokai with the local office folks and the President of the Japanese office. A nice bunch of people but I`m just not in the right frame of mind, still, one does what one has to, giri and all...........
My colleague says he`s not a fussy eater, just doesn`t like fish (especially raw) or vegetables, and he only likes to eat very small. We settle on an expensive traditional Japanese izakaya, hey, the boss is paying on expenses, we`re not going for burgers tonight.......
We are then led a merry dance by the marketing manager as he tries to find the restaurant, $B!H(Bexit B6$B!I(B he says, and then promptly turns round and walks off towards A4!! Errrrrr $B!H(Bdidn`t you say B6?$B!I(B a number of us question. $B!H(BNO, NO, A4$B!I(B he utters. We turn a corner $B!H(BHora......$B!I(B He points........
A very nice restaurant, with very YUMMY (TM) smells emanating from every crevice. We sit, we order, well, drinks are ordered Would you like some food with your beer? I don`t know if it`s just me, but here in Japan there always seems to be way more alcohol consumed at these gatherings than food.........
The Japanese are known as workaholics, working stupid hours that.........they just shouldn`t. I`ve experienced it, observed it, and can`t really fathom out why, but each to his own. They also have a very structured organizati
It`s 9:30PM and am ready to crash, been up since 2:00AM and am suffering. Lights out and zonk.............
Suddenly wide awake, look at the clock, 10:30PM, I$B!G(Bve been asleep for a whopping one whole hour!! I lay there, eyes closed trying to return to my slumber, but the brain is now active and I can`t. Grrrrrr..........
I suppose it`s a good job I`m awake, the phone rings $B!H(Bit`s the Danish connection$B!I(B says the voice on the line, $B!H(BHi Jorgen$B!I(B. It`s Jorgen from Aikiweb, also here on vacation, I`d been trying to get him to come along to Tuesday morning Keiko at Stumpy`s. $B!H(Bpractice is 7:00 tomorrow$B!I(B he asks, $B!H(B5:45$B!I(B I reply, $B!H(Bthat`s bloody early!!$B!I(B. We arrange to meet at Roppongi station before I try to return to sleep.
Sleeeeeeeeeeeeep!!!!! Such a simple thing yet so bloody difficult to achieve at the moment. I look at the clock 11:00 PM, I can still get 6 hours, I turn over and close my eyes.
I look at the clock again, OK, I can still get 5 hours........
Trying to sleep is now becoming torture, I`ve never been affected by jet lag this badly before, still, I can get 4 hours.........
PLEASE GOD LET ME SLEEP!!!!!!!!!!!! It`s 2:AM and I`ve only had about 8 hours in the last 5 days, what are you doing to me?
$B!H(BBEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP$B!I(B,.......what the f...? I realize that the alarm has disturbed my beautiful peaceful slumber. It`s 5:00AM, bloody hell, how am I supposed to
Lucky I couldn`t sleep huh! Awake from 2:00AM, so no chance of missing the meeting with Sugiura Sensei at 09:30.
Small breakfast at the hotel before leaving, thin slices of overcooked cold streaky bacon, lukewarm mini wiener sausages, congealed scrambled eggs and cold potatoes, all for a paltry 2000 Yen (that`s 10 Quid or 20 dollars to you and me), what`s that all about then? Oh, I see, $B!H(BViking buffet$B!I(B I can go back and have as much of this (umm, lost for words) as I want, as many times as I want (yummeeeeee), oh to be in Japan!
Sunday, day of the 5th annual Egota Embutaikai, one of the dojo`s in my old association. Meeting Sugiura Sensei at a local station to go watch, along with my colleague who has decided to come with us. Packed up my keiko gi (as will be going on to old dojo after to practice), along with small gifts for Sugiura Sensei, Nojima Sensei (my Sensei) and a very expensive bottle of Scottish Malt for Koyama Sensei (Kaicho, head of my old association).
$B!H(BEehhhhhhhh! BRYAN!!!!!!!$B!I(B echo surprised shouts as my old dojo mates pile onto the platform at Nakano Sakaue. It`s been over two years since I`d been in Tokyo, hand shakes and hugs all round, before we all pile onto the train and head for Egota.
The wind was howling as we left the station, the tail end of Typhoon 17 gusting through Tokyo. Fortunately, it veered off back into the Pacific before any really serious weather hit us. The only damage done to my colleagues hair.
"Oh my god, don`t ever let me drink beer again...!". A phrase I never ever thought I would utter.
08:30 AM, 2 hours sleep in the last 36 or so, beer, jet lag, I dunno which, but I can`t move! Saturday morning, I`d promised to take my colleague sightseeing, but even allowing I could stand, I`d just lose everything inside........ uuuuuurrrrrghhhhhh!!!!!!!!
"knock knock", I stumbled to the door, it was my colleague "ready for breakfast?". "Not now mate, give me another half an hour or so". Off he went as I crashed back onto the bed.
It wouldn`t have been so bad if I could sleep, but I was bloody wide awake, just couldn`t move! I lay curled up in a ball on the bed .
It was 3PM when I finally managed to drag myself into the shower. Feeling marginally refreshed, if one can at this point, there was another knock at the door where a Starbucks coffee magically appeared, I accepted it gratefully. Although my stomach was still rebelling, I figured that if I hadn`t thrown up by now, I wasn`t likely to.
Finally ready to go out around 4PM, made a fleeting visit to Meiji Jingu, before venturing out for something to eat. Normally I`d have a large Dai Joki of ice cold golden beer with my tonkatsu (deep fried pork cutlet), but I just couldn`t bring myself to.....
Feeling rather knackered at this point I head back for bed. Crash straight out.......... for 3 hours!!
Checked in to the hotel around 6PM, conscious of the late time made a quick call to the cell phone of Michael "Stumpy" Steumpel. Never met him, only conversed through Aikiweb, but he`d kindly offered to "get me onto local time"....
He was at the hotel in 20 mins whisking me off to some charlatan area called Roppongi. We were to meet up with Drew Hamilton at a bar before moving on to a restaurant for some food.
Enter Geronimo`s Shot Bar, before I`d closed the door, drinks are provided curteousy of "Victoria", an English regular, freshly returned from the UK that PM.
A number of charming ladies lined up around the small bar, who all seem to be very fond of Stumpy. Alarmingly, there`s a small brass plaque with Stumpy`s fading name screwed to the counter (reward for good custom, I`m informed). It`s one of those bars you hear about, the drinks are reloaded with alarming speed. 3, or was it 4 "quick" beers later we relocate 50 yards down the street to an izakaya.
The beer here is 75% cheaper than the bar!! A selection of dishes follow including some delicious tako wasabi (raw octopus with wasabi), which only Stumpy and I seem to eat...... A Dai joki or two(?) later and we`re heading back to Geronimo`s, eek!!
Those of you familiar with the book "Angry White Pyjamas" may recall the author had a "situation" in a bar....yep, it was here, although the bar is vastly smaller than the image held in my head whilst reading the book (a phrase involving swinging cats comes t
Ahhh, back in Japan again, somehow managed to convince the company to send me over on a business trip. 15th visit here in the last 10 years, you`d think by now that I could figure out the bloody Narita Express$B!D!D(B
Reserved seats only on the NEX so a bit surprised when someone else had a ticket to sit in my seat! Close examination of the tickets highlighted the problem, we were on the 16:46 not the 16:16! I suppose it`s pretty easy to confuse 16 and 46 in Japanese, at least that`s my excuse. Already done 16 hours of travel, now we have to stand the whole bloody way into Tokyo, and in the section between cars without air conditioning too.
$B!H(BEh!! this train doesn`t go to Shinjuku?$B!I(B I asked the ticket inspector, $B!H(Bthis train is for Ofuna$B!I(B he said ...
Had to jump off at Tokyo station, and do a quick 100m dash down the platform pushing my suitcase as fast I could go to change carriages....