Monday, July 05, 2010
I celebrated 29 years of continued existence last weekend. Several of my good friends, both locally and from the neighboring prefectures, joined me for a night of beer, pool and karaoke! While I missed the big fireworks shows and grilled goods of Independence Day back home, I must say that I had a really good birthday.
I'll admit that of late I've been feeling pretty isolated. My nearest friend is a good 10 to 15 minute drive away, closer to 25 minutes if I'm at the speed limit. The rest of the Maebashi crew are even further than that, all the way across town. Add that to general culture shock and a sense of being alone is totally natural, though still unfortunate.
However, if there is one cure for that, then surrounding yourself with good friends is it! We started off with a little big of all you can drink beer mixed with yakitori, french fries, and Japanese fried chicken. We then waked along the river to a really cool pool hall I learned of recently, with cheap import beer (Corona!) and 8 pool tables. Six of us caught the train back to my neck of the woods for some classic karaoke. Surprisingly, at midnight there was a 30 minute wait for a karaoke booth! We spent the waiting time planning out the songs to sing, and one of our number spent that time talking to a Japanese guy.. who gave him a beetle! Luckily, he gave it back before we went to the booth, I'd hate to think of what would have happened had that rather large bug been wandering freely in our darkened karaoke room...
The next day, the actual 4th of July, four of us drove up to Ikaho, where I finally got a chance to try the famous rotemboro, our outdoor onsen bath. The water is laced with iron, making the whole area smell rather pungently of metal, but the hot waters were a perfect balm for our sore muscles, and the bath and surrounding area was truly beautiful.
Special thanks to Scott Rothrock for the photo, he and his new 28 mm prime lens captured much of the party and a bit of the next day too.