“we are young, we get by”

11/13/11   –   22:49

~ Part 1: 飲み会 第2 ~

As with many of my better stories, this one begins with me getting plastered drunk. Just kidding… maybe.

In any case, Miina and Jasmine were organizing another class drinking gathering, cleverly called “second party for the SUPER SUPER SMART level 6 students” or something to that effect. [Please note the sarcasm.] This one was to take place at Doma-doma again at the station where the deal was 1400 yen for all you can drink from 10 PM – 5 AM [which is conveniently when the first trains start running.]

I was originally planning on sticking around till the last train around midnight because I had to be at Demachiyanagi in Kyoto at 8:45 the following morning to climb a mountain, but I decided that I should stay because if I’m paying 16 dollars I might as well stay the whole time I love my classmates so much.

Anyway, I promised Jasmine that I’d buy a pack of cards so I could introduce ring of fire to the non-americans. Well, it just so happens that everything that I buy in Japan just has to be 8 times more cute than the object actually warrants. So I ended up teaching a drinking game using Hamtaro playing cards.

In addition to ring of fire, I introduced fuck the dealer to Miina the Norwegian and Ken the Australian. They were both a hit. [The games, not the people. Well, wait. I guess we could say both.] Favorite rules being the perennial T-rex arms and a nerdy bout of “no English.” Everyone switched to Japanese except Miina who sat there talking to herself in Norwegian because no one could understand her.

Ken brought left-over Pocky from Pocky Day [11/11/11] and we sat there munching on them. Interspersed in the pile was a pencil and a chopstick to see if anyone was drunk enough not to be able to tell the difference. I think Ken ate a pencil at some point.

Anyway, things were awesome and proceded to get bat-shit crazy around 3:30 and then I blacked out and fell asleep at 4:00. I woke up and paid, then stumbled the 50 meters or so to the train station.

I can only remember feeling really hungry and mildly nauseous and then subsequently buying an ice-cream sandwich from one of the vending machines. I had around 15 minutes  till the first train so I had an agonizing wait there on the platform. Luckily, I was not alone. There were a couple of other extremely inebriated guys in business attire passed out on the benches. In true salaryman fashion, I followed suit and promptly collapsed on a set of chairs where I dazedly stuffed the ice-cream sandwich into my mouth. [It was delicious.] When the train came, I quickly got up and just as quickly sprawled out on the seats. Good that the only people that could see me on the train at 5 in the morning were also in similar condition. I felt less embarrassed.

I stumbled back home to Korien and let myself in. It was around 6 at this point and I had to wake up at 7 to get to Kyoto on time. Would I oversleep for the class field trip? Would I manage not to baby-sick*? Read on to find out :O

* Baby-sick is a term introduced to me by a British acquaintance [He’s from Stratford-upon-Avon! Go Shakespeare!] which is a polite way to refer to baby vomit. In American English, I think we say “spit-up.” However, baby-sick just sounds so dainty and hilarious, especially when used with adults. It is also a verb and possibly an adjective. Too good to use British English, you say? Don’t make me baby-sick.

~ Part deux: 比叡山 – Mount Hiei ~

Ta-dah, I slowly opened my eyes and realized… it was 9:45. Shit. I was too late to join the group hiking up the mountain, but fortunately, there was another group taking a cable car that was meeting at 10:30. I hurriedly got dressed, grabbed my lunch from host-mom and set out, still sort of buzzed, to the trains.

I miraculously made it, despite all the motion-sickness, to the Hiei cable-car station and started my decidedly effortless ascent up the mountain. Upon seeing how steep the path up the mountain was, I concluded that my waking up late was probably a sign and that I probably shouldn’t have attempted to scale the mountain in my state anyhow. Thanks, universe.

Hiei-zan is located a bit north-east of Kyoto, I believe and it is the center for one of the biggest sects of Japanese Buddhism. I can’t remember the name but it’s different than the one on Koya-san which I scaled just recently. When we weren’t taking pictures of the breathtaking views, we were absorbed in the sound of monks being trained for ordainment. It was really atmospheric and awesome. Monks training on a mountain, how much more legit can you get?

Anyway, there was a nice picnic with the entire class and a lot of sight-seeing on the way up to the top and down to the bottom. The hike down was especially scenic. We were headed down the opposite side of the mountain towards Lake Biwa, the largest lake in Japan. Parts of the trail to the bottom looked like they came out of a Lord of the Rings movie set or something. I’ll let the pictures do the talking here.

You get what I mean, right? All in all, though, as nice as it was for my camera, it was hell on my knees and legs. Everything sort of hurt by the time we got to the Sakamoto train station, but it was definitely worth it.

And what trip to [anywhere] is complete without a visit to the local Book Off? I went with Tina and bought a couple more volumes to add to my growing collection of manga. I will have to ship a box home soon at this rate :/

When I got home, I was super exhausted but I still had to do some studying. Not that studying is exciting but one of my assignments for spoken Japanese was to find a ことわざ, or proverb to explain to the class. Here’s the one I picked:

痘痕も笑窪 [abata mo ekubo] – “Even pockmarks can be dimples.”

The whole proverb is actually 惚れてしまえば、痘痕も笑窪, which means that when you like somebody, even their bad traits [pockmarks] become good points [dimples]. I thought that was a good one.

~ Part tres: 宇治 – Uji, めっちゃ抹茶 ~

And the adventure doesn’t end! I was to meet Mai at Kuzuha at noon so that we could head out to nearby Uji.

Uji is famous for approximately three things:

1) 平等院 [The Temple of Equality] – A [xxxx] period Buddhist temple whose main attraction is its Phoenix Hall which is featured on the 10 yen coin. Also, the phoenixes appear on the 10,000 yen bill, so this temple is pretty important, I can gather.

2) 抹茶 [Green tea] – This is basically all anyone sells here in Uji. There’s green tea powder, green tea leaves, green tea cakes, green tea phone straps, green tea kit-kats, and green tea ice cream among other things. The ice cream was pretty amazing. Definitely worth the 350 yen, and coming from my frugal mouth, that’s saying something.

3) 源氏物語 [The Genji Monogatari] – The last third of this Heian period novel written by the court lady Murasaki Shikibu takes place in Uji and the town makes a big deal about letting you know this. There are statues of Lady Shikibu and her characters everywhere. I told Mai that Murasaki looks sort of like an alien and then she told me that that’s how all Heian court ladies looked like. I told her that was unfortunate and frankly a little scary. Mai agreed.

Mai and I did a whole bunch of walking along the Uji river and I tried to take a few gramour shots of her but she was too embarrassed haha. It was a nice trip overall, really. I definitely want to go again once the wisteria are blooming at Byodoin. Apparently, they’re supposed to be fantastically photogenic.

Also, angry cat is angry and cute bunny on a leash is cute.

~ ~

And such are my weekends. I gotta make the most of my time here, y’know? I can’t believe it’s already friggin’ mid-November. Seriously, where has fall gone?! ;_;

Until next time, though. Peace, I’m out.


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