Sunday, 27 February 2011

Melting snow

The weather in Aomori is slowly turning warmer and the snow that has covered everything for the last couple of months is beginning to melt. We tend to have a couple of really warm days that'll get rid of a lot of the snow, then a couple more days where it snows and some of the snow is replaced again. But on the whole, it's disappearing. There are still massive piles that people have contributed to every day for the last few weeks when shoveling their drive ways or shopfronts, so it'll be a while before they go. But a lot of the smaller piles and patches are melting, and often when you're walking round you can hear the constant sound of water dripping off peoples' houses giving the illusion that it's raining.

Work has been pretty busy this last month. For the first four Tuesdays in February I ran a series of lectures called 英国文化理解講座 (Lectures on Understanding British Culture). To give an idea of what I talked about, here were the four titles: 外国人が見た日本人 英国編 (Japan Through the Eyes of a British Person), イギリス人の生活の仕方 (Daily Life in Britain), イギリスの食文化 (Britain's Food Culture) and 偉大なイギリス人 (Great Britons). The lectures were open to the general public and most people came after seeing an advert we put in a local newsletter. There were around 20 people in total, mostly older Japanese women. I even got asked out to karaoke by one and gifted two boxes of sugar by another. I also took questions after each presentation, and was asked such gems as "Who is stronger, the British or the French?" and "Do you have pet shops in the UK?". Preparing each presentation took a lot of time as each session was two hours, but it was a good experience and has given me four presentations I can use again in the future - I sometimes get asked to do presentations at other clubs, universities etc.

Last weekend was the city hall bowling tournament, and that was a lot of fun. We took up the whole bowling alley with about 120 people bowling at the same time. Then this past Friday there was a party for a couple of the American JETs who live in Aomori City. Well, it started off as for those two, but then grew to include another 3 gaijin whose birthday it is this month. After the sad demise of our regular winter watering hole, ONE SHOT HOUSE, this party was held at a new venue called Goofy, complete with its sign in the Disney font; I'm sure Disney's lawyers will be in touch soon. This new place was OK, there was a good mix of Japanese and gaijin and we had all-you-can-eat and drink, but that sounds a lot more fun that it ever is in Japan. The food consisted of about four buffet plates of food that disappeared very quickly, and then the drink consisted of a slow bar that would often forget your drink order, leading to nobody getting their moneys-worth at 4000 yen (about 28 quid). After that we went to another local bar where know the guy who runs it well. We sang karaoke there for a couple of hours. Interestingly, a guy I met on Friday added me on Facebook, and I noticed today that it said on my profile page I'd become his friend from meeting him at the party. Facebook must have looked at the guest-list for that event and made the assumption. Facebook grows ever more powerful.

Photo courtesy of wannabe-Brit (notice the shirt), Crave

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