Thousands of Miles from Home


Better Dress Incognito

This last typhoon was very strong, the worst most people have seen in a while. Our house was fine but some houses close by were damaged from landslides. There were also some very strong earthquakes in the north part of japan today, but I did not feel anything.

Today I took the bus to Okayama to meet a friend of last year's outbound rotary student. Her name is Nobuko which is about all I knew before I met her next to the Okayama fountain (I guess I was easy to spot being the only foreign looking guy in a bright red jacket). We had sent a few e-mails back and forth so I knew she spoke some english, so in a japanese/english goulash we introduced ourselves and she led the way to a restaurant for lunch. We met with one of her friends and his mom at a coffee shop where I had a chicken sandwich and iced milk tea. Nobuko is 17 and has been to a bunch of concerts in japan; her friend is 18 and really likes the Strokes and The White Stripes.

After lunch we went to a huge game arena (the largest in Okayama, I belive). There were a ton of games and lights and sounds and the whole place seemed to have this energy to it. And it was loud. We took some purikura pictures (the fun japanese photo booths) and then played a game with tyco drums that reminded me of dance dance revolution except with sticks. It was pretty difficult and fun, but then I was completely baffled by a game that a guy was playing which involved a small keyboard next to a turntable. You play a few notes according to the pictures on the screen and then scratch with the turntable, sometimes executing both at the same time. I didn't bother to waste money on this one.

After laughing over the games and purikura, we left the arena to do some shopping (one of my new favorite activities). Nobuko bought a cd and I found a great shirt with a picture of a lightbulb that says "Please turn over the light." She also took me to a "spencers" type shop where I bought some pins and had to fight really hard no to purchase a ton of other stuff. We stopped in a store that was in the shape of OH-kun, one of the mascots of the local television station OHK, where you could buy all things cute-japanese-cartoon related.

Now I will have to mention the crazy coincidences that occur in Japan. Although I know relatively few people, and the cities are rather large, I usually see someone I know when I go to Okayama. In this case, Nobuko took me to a shopping area and in one of the cd stores we ran into Cori, the exchange student from Canada, and two of her friends from school. Nobuku and I had thought about going to karaoke but we weren't sure because it was only the two of us. But five people was plenty, so we all decided to go to a local karaoke parlor (deus ex machina?).

One of Cori's friends was named Billy from New Zealand (although he looks japanese and i introduced myself in japanese to which he replied "i can speak english."). He speaks both chinese and english, and has also studied japanese for 5 years. Her other friend is Katrin, or maybe Katrina (to be determined), from Germany. So at the karaoke shop Nobuko sang in japanese, Katrin in german, Billy in chinese, and Cori and I in english. After some pretty exciting songs, including lots of Avril Lavigne (japan's infatuation), "We Will Rock You," and "99 Luftballoons (99 Red Balloons in german)," Cori had to be home so we all went to Okayama station to go our separate ways. We are going to try and meet again at a japanese cooking class that is going to be held in Okayama.

Andee is in Hiroshima and Yamashita-san is also out of town so Shoko and I didn't go to Kyudo. Instead we talked for a while over dinner then a man came over to talk with Shun who is from the college entrance test preparation center. He was very funny and talkative and I could understand most of what he said in japanese even thought it was really fast. I can now make jokes in japanese, sometimes accidentally.


  • Sounds like fun! Oh, and it's Taiko. And the DJ game is really hard...I tried it once. I wonder if actual DJs do well on their first try?

    By Cinnacism, at 9:36 PM  

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