With Monday as a bank holiday, this weekend was always going to be a big one.
First up, post-Japanese lesson drinks. I had gone to my new, regular japanese lesson with Debs and her friend from hoem Alice. She's over in Japan for a brief holiday between graduating and starting her new job. We all went for drinks after at Yamette and Kumakichi to show her what Tokamachi was like.
Saturday was the big ALT Sayonara in Kashiwazaki. The end of teh JET year is just around the corner so this was an oppertunity to say goodbye to our friends one last time. A bar near Kashiwasaki beach was booked, a BBQ prepared and every JET in Niigata invited. Some turned up in teh early afternoon to have fun on teh beach. My infamous faffing, combined with Debbie's tent hunting, meant that we arrived just before teh BBQ began. But the summer is just starting so we'll hit the beach one day.
The BBQ started, burgers and bangers were scoffed, drinks were flowing and pretty soon we were up dancingin the bar. Before we knew it, it was getting late and I was falling asleep in one of teh hammocks upstairs at teh bar. It was time to pitch my tent on the beach at 3am. In the pitch black. Managed to do it, so well that I ended up putting Debbie's tent up too.
With four people in my tent, it got pretty hot and we woke pretty soon after sunrise. It was about 8am but really hot. I hope the weather is cooler for Fuji Rock. We packed up our tents, dodged the parking attendent and headed to Gusto to have breakkie and drink as much Melon Soda Fanta as possible. It was a good day.
I slept most of the day but woke late in the afternoon to finish Debbie's birthday present. Debs has been having a bit of trouble when she goes out in Tokamachi. Since she's always out drinking with either Erik or myself, people have started assuming that she's seeing one of us. So, to get teh message across to potential Japanese suitors, I made her this t-shirt:
It says "I don't like white men (westerners)..." "so please treat me to a drink".
The party started at 7pm at the Beer Garden in Tokamachi. The covers have been taken off and you get a great view of the mountains around Tokamachi. When everyone turned up, we had kampai and set to work drinking the four massive towers of beer that came with the nomihodai. After Debs had said "hi" to all 25 guests, we sang Happy Birthday and let off party poppers. It ended with a big round of applause from everyone in the Beer Garden, which was really sweet especially since it turned Debs red with embarassment!
At last orders, we left to go to Kumakichi. Not it's around this time I start to forget what happened. Like Erik, I'd chugged some beers under pressure from other Japanese drinkers and they were starting to have an affect on me. For an hour or two I spent my time trying to stay awake dancing or outside sleeping teh beer off. I was fussed over recommended to do a tactical chunder, but I didn't want too. By teh time I came back to some level of soberness I found that Noriko and Mary were both passing out, Someone had given Debs cake for her birthday and that Erik and Alice had been victims of a robber. I really must stop over indulging in nomihodais. I miss all teh exciting stuff.
People started to head home but I was on my second wind and followed the hardcore drinkers to Lupin. Debs didn't last too long and was curled up on the sofas pretty quickly. Nate disappered and was replaced by the guys from Kumakichi. We drank for a bit and learned that they;ve nicknamed me 'Wolverine'. I don't know if I should be flattered or offended! I also spoke to Alice about travelling, since she's done a lot and I'm interested in travelling after Japan.
When we saw it was getting light outside, we thought it best to leave. I walked home and was in bed around 5.30am. And as Mondya was a Bank Holiday, I spent the day sleeping. I managed to rouse myself to go climbing for a bit and then to Matsudai for Katsu with Annie (she leaves this week :'( ).
I think with people leaving over teh next few weeks and people arriving, we'll be having a fair few weekends like this over summer.