These holidays are definitely not jam-packed with activities. I plan on crossing a few things off my never-ending to-do list, getting back into the habit of cooking regularly, and only leaving my apartment when the mood strikes. If I was only staying in Japan for one year (a milestone which has already been crossed) then maybe I would fill every possible spare moment with travel all over this exciting country. As it stands, I’m going to be here for at least a couple more years; plenty of time to see all the places and do all the things that I want to do. Even if/when I do leave Japan, I could never stay away for too long. Given all that, it stands to reason that not all my holidays need be amazingly exciting; sometimes it’s good just to stay home and relax.
I have been told by a couple of close friends that I am an extrovert. I need and enjoy having people around me. This being true, obviously I wouldn’t be content to spend the entire break alone doing not much. Therefore I have made a few plans, past and future, that involve leaving my apartment and socialising with those still in the vicinity. See, not everyone goes away at every opportunity.
Last Friday I had arranged to meet up with a couple of friends for some shopping, and general wandering, after which we had some vague thoughts of having dinner somewhere and possibly going for a drink. It definitely felt good to be out of my apartment and getting a bit of fresh air (during the mad dashes between department stores, hurrying to escape the cold). I bought some things I needed, some I wanted, and some only because they were there and I have no self-control.
Unfortunately the combination of freezing cold air outside and stifling hot heating inside turned out to be too much for one of my friends, who was battling a bad case of the sniffles. She went home, and the two of us continued on, eventually meeting up with another girl at a fantastic little restaurant which I have no idea of the name. It was near Oasis 21, in Sakae. That’s about all I remember. I am hopeless with directions; absolutely zero spatial awareness. Anyway, we stuffed ourselves full of (amazingly delicious and reasonably priced) natural oysters, pizza, salad, bread and cheese, and of course a bottle or two of white wine. It was lovely. But the night was still young! After finding out the place we’d originally intended to go was closed (damn holidays) we then made the long, cold, trek to the 300 Stand Bar in Shinsakae.
If you’ve never heard of a stand bar before, I’ll give you the bones of it. It’s basically a bar with no seats; hence ‘stand’ bar. And the drinks are insanely cheap. Well, insanely cheap for Australian standards, just cheap for everywhere else, I’m guessing. 315 yen (with tax) and the only catch is you have to buy at least two drink tickets each time. The tickets are instead of money and I guess it’s just to encourage more drinking and more spending. The way it works is that you go to the bar, buy your tickets, then hand them back (or the guy just holds them) in exchange for drinks. As I was with Japanese friends I didn’t bother interacting with the barman at all and just handed over money to my friends when it was my turn to shout. As such I can’t recall what kind of range of cocktails they had available, as I mostly kept drinking the same thing (sex on the beach) all night.
All in all, it was a pretty awesome day and night! I spent far too much money, as always happens when I leave my apartment (and even sometimes when I don’t, given the terrible invention of online shopping), chatted to plenty of interesting people, and had lots of laughs with the girls. Who knows, maybe this whole leaving my apartment thing will become a regular occurrence!