the nikku

reflecting on ESL/EFL and its relation to faith

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

To Tokyo and Back

I took a short trip to Tokyo this weekend. I visited my wonderful friends from college. I can`t wait to repay their hospitality. We went to a park in Shinjuku (Sarah, it`s only 200 yen and it`s really outdoorsy), ate some great food and drink, and just plain hung out.

Other highlights:

I met a man with three cell phones on the way down. He says DoCoMo is the best in Japan and Vodaphone is the best internationally. AU is just not good. He sells snack foods internationally and gave me a free sample.

I met a family from the airbase in Aomori, and a professor of English from the local university. The professor told me all the ins and outs of the public school system and how it`s decline is related to the drop in population. But dang, after being in Shinjuku, I can see how crowded Japan is. And I can see how they call a city of 170,000 people rural.

I bought my first omiyage - small gifts, usually cakes, given as "souveniors" to people who could not make the trip. Not only is it a great shopping culture. It`s just plain nice. There was a pile of omiyage in the teacher`s office after the break. I just added to it. One teacher told me, "next time bring Tokyo beer omiyage." We all had a good laugh.

K-chan`s father in Tokyo brought me an omiyage of his own, and we exchanged. Although I left his with H-chan because I didn`t want to lug it around the train with me. When I visit again I hope there will be some left.

O-sensei seemed sad that I hadn`t told him I was going to Tokyo. He knows the area well, and he is proving to be more amazing everyday. I gave his homeroom some omiyage too. Mostly to see the look on their faces, and because the box was exactly the number of students in his class.

I took down a good chunk of the book Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami - recommended by O-sensei. It`s better than I expected for a novel. Lots of sex, but blatent truth about permisuity, not so much gratification of the act itself. He reminds me of the author Walker Percy. Lots of emotional highs and lows, and plenty of twists and wit.

K-chan and K-chan were nice enough to hang out with me at Tokyo station while we waited for my train, and they helped me reschedule my ticket. I love them even more now.


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