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July 16th 2012
Published: July 16th 2012EDIT THIS ENTRY

Sunday 15/07/2012

It was up and at ‘em this morning and out the door to catch the bus to the city. As I walked down the road I saw one leaving, so it was half an hour to the next (weekend timetable), so I walked back up the street to get a notebook and take some casual happy-snaps along the way.

At the bus stop a girl and her little brother had a little giggle at me before we all got on the bus. The bus was freezing cold: it says it is at a constant temperature of 25degrees, but I’m sure it was much colder. My skin was prickling after being in the sweltering humidity.

Got off at Shin-Shizuoka Station and walke my way down ‘Gofukucho’ the unfortunately named shopping strip street, and popped into Parche, as I thought it was the department store I was looking for: it wasn’t, but I found ‘Jupiter’- another foreign food shop, which had very cheap wines and more than one flavour of Pringles!!!

Back out and down the road, past AU: the phone company I’m thinking of getting a contract with. I searched high and low on the internet but they had no details whatsoever anywhere about the actual location of their shops! But, being the observant person that I am, I found one anyway. No time or energy to go in and translate every tiny step of the process, so getting a phone is just going to have to wait. The school can’t expect me to whip up a phone contract in a week; and if I have to go on a 24month contract (I’m just going to have to pay the discontinuation fee), then I want to make bloody sure that I’m on a good and suitable contract.

Sussing out handbag shops and avoiding looking too deeply into shoe shops, I made it quickly down Gofukucho to Iseita, a big clean department store with a delicious smelling food basement. Had some free peach samples and cheese samples. The peach, well, let’s put it this way: if you didn’t like peach, and you were forced to eat it, you would be fine eating this peach as it had next to no flavour. When each peach is nearly 200yen, if you’re buying a peach, you want it to taste of peach.

Checked out all the food shops, and while my Italian pannini was grilling (even though I’d said no to grilling) a little boy came up to the shop, without his mum. The worker asked him ‘Mumma wa?’ And off he went in a panic looking for his mum. I don’t think he’d realised till that point that he had been separated. Another store owner held his hand and walked him around looking for his mum, but it wasn’t till a good five minutes later (a long time when you’re a kid who has lost his mum), his mum showed up, totally unconcerned, didn’t even thank the woman who was holding his hand and looking for her for him, and looked like she really didn’t care if she saw her son again. He seemed like a nice little boy to me.

Off to the cake section. I had seen some cakes in Cenova for 4,000-5,000yen, so figured that was the kind of price I’d be paying, but I found a fantastic looking fruit flan for 1,700yen. I looked around and found a few other, smaller cakes for around the 3,000yen mark, but I was sold on this fruit flan. The boy serving me wrote out Kazumi’s name in chocolate on a little birthday greeting, and even offered me candles (but I already had some), all free of charge. The little icepacks he put in around the cake box also came in handy as I waited over 40minutes for the bus, it was late. Although I was in the shade at the bus stop, humidity doesn’t care if you are in the shade or not and still found me!

It’s so annoying not being able to catch either the 72 or the 73 and having to wait for the 73, especially on the weekend when the buses are less frequent. However, I just have to think to back home, and there are only three buses each day, and only two on the weekend, so I really can’t complain.

Home to drop off the cake, then straight back out to check my emails to see if Tristan had got on his flight and if he had any questions. Booked his hotel at Narita Airport and at Akihabara too. Then I went to get some ice-cream for the sago pudding and some flowers for Kazumi. Also got the most delicious iced coffee from the store, much better than the vending-machine coffees, to power me on through the afternoon.

At home, despite it being 32degrees inside, I baked honey joys. Two batches here is a total of 15 honey joys with my tiny oven. Loving the extra tray I bought from the 100yen shop, though it did bend a little in the heat! The next cheapest price for a small tray (if you can even find one) is 1,000yen, so I am by no means complaining.

Prepared the lemon sago into little plastic cups, made up some cheese and Vegemite sandwiches, and some cheese and ham for the less adventurous! And then got a playlist ready, so we could avoid listening to Playschool songs all evening.

In true Japanese style, people arrived at 4.00pm, right on the dot, and Kazumi got my aircon working: I had tried, but I had it on the ‘warm’ setting, so it wasn’t doing much good. In five minutes, the little lounge was crisp and cool, but Kazumi went back home to get her electric fan and some cushions for the floor (I don’t have too much furniture). Then we all said ‘surprise! Happy Birthday!’ But as Cate later suggested, we should have jumped out from behind the couch. Once everyone was seated and watered, out came the prezzies, and Kazumi was given a beautiful little Mexican phone case, very similar to the little camera case I bought in Malaysia, amongst other things.

Azu had bought a huge platter of squid, spicy prawns, pork and onion skewers, and fried potato! And Kazumi had made up a Chinese dish of eggplant, noodles and sesame seeds. There was also cherries and fruit and biscuits: you name it! Azu got Kazumi a bottle of Pink Moet Champagne, and I was very jealous! It came with a special pen, so we all wrote a birthday message on the bottle.

Mikio, Cate and Daisuke’s little baby boy was very pleased to be amongst all the hum-drum, and his eyes flicked form person to person, listening to what they were saying. It’s almost as if he is talking to you with his eyes. He also giggles at what you’ve said, as if it is the funniest thing he has yet to hear!

Lots of chatting and drinking and snacking. Dominica arrived a little later, and Yukie a while after that. It was very
Door spiderDoor spiderDoor spider

He guards my front door
crowded, but we all just fit in the lounge. I think even in winter we would need the aircon on, as with that many people the room would soon heat up.

Played pass-the-parcel of which some people had never played before, and I think people enjoyed their little gifts, especially Shino who got a little hair slide, the same that Alice bought me in the UK from Africa, but this was a little blue-beaded one. We took a photo of the backs of our heads together, both with our special slides in.

The Vegemite sandwiches went down well, along with all the olives, but especially the lemon sago with ice-cream. It was ideal for a hot day: nice and cool. The honey joys soon disappeared too, so I was very pleased.

There were eight people (and one baby who would have liked to have eaten cake, but just doesn’t have enough teeth yet!), so the cake cut easily, though the ‘Happy Birthday’ candles soon melted into warped and gross shapes. Plenty of pictures, thank goodness, as I didn’t take any of my own of the cake before it was gobbled up!

Next thing it was 9.30pm, and despite tomorrow being a holiday, people were worn out, so we started packing up. In less than 10 minutes, everything had been tidied up, thrown away, washed and dried and put away, and wiped down! Impossibly fast and efficient. I will have Japanese guests any day!!!

We said our farewells, and I think Kazumi was really pleased. She hadn’t even planned to go out for dinner tonight for her birthday, so it was extra important that we organised something for her. Despite quite a bit of planning and organising beforehand, (and half of that was just because I’ve only just moved here), the clean-up afterwards was non-existent, so I can’t wait to have another party! Back home when I have a party, the clean up the next day makes me pause a bit, and want to leave the planning for the next party at least a couple of weeks.

Went for a ride over to my old apartment to check up on Tristan, and he had arrived ok, but must have already been asleep. Then it was home to my nice tidy apartment for some TV shows and bed.

Additional photos below
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21st July 2012

Hello, there
Hello, just passed by again, by chance. I like your attentions to the details. You're a talented writer, truly. I love the flowers that you took. Enjoy your summer!

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