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Weekend Catchup

2008 June 29

Friday night was pretty fun. Asami and I went to a party at the International House, or 会館 (kaikan) for short, for the birthday of one of the resident assistants. Neither of us knew him (although I met him during the party and didn’t realize it until afterward, embarrassingly enough), but we had each been invited by various exchange students. We met in the parking lot across the street from me when Asami, her roommate Nita, and her friend Tomo arrived to find the party spread out in said parking lot getting their first beers in, but everyone gradually moved into the 会館 common room where the birthday boy was serenaded and sprayed with champagne or something before a fresh cooler of beers was brought out. Tomo and I talked a lot; it turns out we have some musical taste in common, as she likes both Muse and alice nine., a Japanese group I’ve been listening to recently. We also talked about drinking of course, since the Japanese are really fascinated by the drinking age in America being 21 (in Japan, 20 is the age of majority for everything). Tomo also mentioned something I’d like to try – there’s some sort of Japanese beer analog made with rice that’s better tasting and still fairly low in alcohol content. Then we were looking at the foosball table, which Tomo had never seen before, so Asami’s friend Kenji and I played a game against Asami and Tomo and beat them handily. They thought we were amazing, but then I played a game with the birthday boy and some of his residents, and they were really amazing. 

I met a couple new people, including a grad student from Romania who’s studying Japanese culture and literature and was super-interested in my research. He pointed me to a section of the library that has some books that could be very useful, so I’ll have to see if I can get in tomorrow. I gave him my phone contact information; hopefully he’ll get in touch sometime.

Nita was enjoying herself and drinking a lot, but Asami and Tomo were getting a little bored I guess, so they asked to come see my room. Then we all decided to walk to the convenience store for a late-night snack, and they advised me on which instant ramen types were the best. The old man working the late shift gave us some collectible Doraemon plates, which the girls gave to me as souvenirs. We sat in the conbini eating for a while before walking back to my room; on the way back, Asami got a call from a friend still at the party who was worried that Nita was overdoing it a bit. Nita said she was fine and told Asami not to wait up for her, that she would come back in the morning. At that point, Asami turned to me and said that, since Tomo was staying over at her apartment anyway, would I come too? So when we got back to the room, I stuffed my pajamas etc. in a tote bag, then we got in Nita’s car and Asami drove us to her apartment buildling in Wakamatsu. I looked at some of her photo albums for a bit, but it was already pretty late, so Asami rolled out two futons and we all went to sleep. (Well, the other two did quickly – it took me a while.) Tomo had to be somewhere the next morning, so she got up early and said goodbye; a couple hours later, Nita called and said she was ready to come back, so I helped Asami make onigiri for breakfast before she drove me back to campus and picked up Nita.

Tonight was the first time in a while I tried watching Japanese television; Friday night at the conbini, the girls had been telling me about a popular animated show, so I thought I’d try to catch it this evening. After that, I found a show about the most popular anime in other countries that was pretty amusing. It turns out that there are a lot of older Japanese anime – including animated movies of The Dog of Flanders and Heidi – that are popular in Europe but never officially made it to the United States. And did you know that Speed Racer isn’t titled Speed Racer in Japan? It’s actually マッハGoGoGo! (Mahha is the Mark 5 car, I think). The new Speed Racer movie comes out here next month.

Also coming out in Japan in July is a new Hayao Miyazaki movie! Ponyo on a Cliff by the Sea was mentioned on tonight’s broadcast while they were talking about the popularity of Spirited Away (also not the original Japanese title) in America, but I originally heard about it online. This site has a clip of the trailer being showed on a Japanese news show, complete with expressions and reactions from the hosts (Japanese shows actually hire people to sit around and react to things; they usually only last a year or so), as well as a video showing some of Miyazaki’s planning sketches and watercolors. It looks very cute; maybe I’ll get a chance to see it while I’m here?

One Comment leave one →
  1. Sparks permalink
    2008 June 30 3:46 pm

    SO CUTE!!! I WANNA SEE IT.. ACTUALLY I JUST WANT ONE!!!… SOO CUTE!!!! ::undoes caps now of cuteness::

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