Monday, June 6, 2011

Day 12 June 6th

Ran some errands this morning. Wandered around a bookstore. Everything was in Japanese. I came this close to buying a children's book designed to teach them the “ABCs,” hirogana, and katakana. The first page was an “A” a picture of an alligator, and then japanese words that also started with the sound “a.” I may yet buy it. Also picked up some note cards to added to our growing stack of kanji. You can't see very well but it says "This goods is convenient to memorize a word." Then I decided to take a walk around the neighborhood to see what I could see. There isn't much. It seems to be residential until a couple blocks before the train station. Since we are right next to two campuses I keep expecting to find a block full of cheap restaurants up here so we don't have to walk down the hill to the station. There doesn't seem to be any.

The Japanese word for a foreigner is “Gaijin.” Every time I see another gaijin on the street I think “gaijin, gaijin, gaijin.” I feel like we should have a special handshake. Instead we just pass while averting our gaze, both knowing that we saw the other person.

We went out to dinner with one Japanese guy from the lab Craig is in, a team leader (so a different lab group) from Switzerland, and a buddy of his that was visiting. This meant I took the train into Sannomiya and managed to meet up with them. The team leader's wife is Japanese, she's in Switzerland and won't be joining him until July, and recommended a very good restaurant. It was really good. We think there were 8 courses. I didn't want to take pictures because I didn't want to ask everyone to wait before digging in with their chopsticks. There was a lot of fish, most of it sashimi but also something that seemed smoked and some that was just seared. There was tempura and something I suspect was stuffed pork tenderloin, and dessert which was a really rich chocolate cake with sesame ice cream. Let me say again, it was really good. We have no idea how expensive it was because, apparently, the Japanese way is for one person to pay and then ask everyone for the money the next day. This is a picture from our train ride home of a fashion forward Japanese guy sporting a Boy Scouts uniform top. It's blurry because I forgot to turn off the flash and got embarrassed when it went off and quick put the camera back.

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