August is going to be a difficult month as a total of four good friends will leave Japan before the end. Included in that number is perhaps the coolest person I have met in Japan yet...
This being Nate, the insane American ALT. He has, in fact, already left and as I write this should be arriving home to be with his wife and kids. While they have a better claim on his free time than we do, the Kanazawa community mourns the loss of one heck of a drinking partner.
We hung out almost all weekend, and on Saturday ended up at the 21st Century Museum of Art where he found a T-Shirt called Hara-kiri Schoolgirls. Which is pretty much what you would expect, a bunch of schoolgirls disembowling themselves. Really it pretty much says everything about Japan that can be said, and it is so very Nate.
I went over early to help him pack Sunday, but for me to help somebody pack is really a case of the blinder leading the blind. Luckily Mo soon joined us and added her orginizational talents to the fray. Once we had things whipped mostly into shape we met up with Fiona for one last night out with the four of us. We went to a wonderful Yaki-niku place nearby and grilled up beef and pork all night long. The fat filled almost bacon like slabs of pork kept catching on fire while the beef grilled up rather nicely. The food was excellent, and the restaurant was busy and great fun, it just felt friendly, and that was a nice atmosphere to say farewell in.
Of course we weren't done there. We headed on in to Katamachi and, at my geeky insistence, went to the puri-kura photo booths! For those who have never heard of them, they are large j-pop themed photo booths where you can not only take your picture, but can modify them with clip art and text when you are done. Add a bow-tie, sunglasses, hearts, puppies, anything! It is horribly cheesy and yet can be a ton of fun.
Afterwords there was time for one last Karaoke session. All the old favorites were sung, and despite my pounding headache I had a great time. And then that was it. The End. Well, maybe not The End but more the end for now. For there will certainly be visits and vacations and lots of e-mail!
And there is the hope of the new arrivals, 3 of whom show up today. What new friends will be made? Who knows! But in the meantime...
Goodbye Nate! and Good luck.