Tuesday, September 16, 2008

domo arigato

I arrived in Japan late Monday afternoon (Japan time) after a long & grueling 17 hours. Tsuyoshi and the group met us (Cindy & I) at the airport and we set off for Asakusa. Exhausted, we unpacked our suitcases (well, sort of..), showered & headed out w/ Tsuyoshi's sister, Yukiko & friend.

First we walked around Asakusa a bit. Jeri found a five person cardboard cutout & we had fun snapping photos of us in it! We walked around the temple and then up & down the market, we walked and talked and slowly got to know each other.

After a while, we headed to eat. Tsuyoshi & his sister ordered for us all and the plates just kept on coming! The food was soooo good! This was one of the first real Japanese meals that I had ever had and I quickly set aside any and all doubts that I previously had had. I tried everything, and for the most part enjoyed all of it. We drank and laughed and we all genuinely had a good time.

Yukiko & friend were great hosts. They poured us sake and helped us pronounce Japanese words. Tsuyoshi served as a great interpreter between the two languages and helped us all communicate with each other. We mastered a great thank you (domo arigato gozaimus) and attempted to ask for some water.

I also learned how to say "where is the bathroom?", although i'm sure it sounded more like "where bathroom?". And once I found said bathroom, I paired concentration with balance at my first experience with a squat toilet. I had been drinking a little bit & had had maybe 3 hours of sleep in the last 24 hours so I wasn't taking any chances. I stripped from the waist down and am happy to say that I escaped unscathed.

The rest of the night was great. We all got to learn a little about each other while enjoying good food & a great atmosphere. The night ended with a trip to 7-11 and a gift of hangover juice for the morning. And thank God for that because we all fell asleep and woke up fairly unharmed the next morning at 7am.

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