Sunday, January 29, 2006

Welcome Matt-sensei

Last night was the great big Welcome Party we'd all been waiting for, where Matt was officially welcomed to Utsunomiya by AEON teachers, staff and students.

The evening began with a quick beer at the Lion's Head, as has become tradition to kill the time between the 8PM end of classes and the 9:15PM start to the party. After a quick pint, we headed out to a place called Lucifer for the party... I was half expecting some goth dance club or something, but it turned out to be just a regular bar. The food was so so, but the service was pretty good, so no complaints. In total, I think we had a turnout of about 30 people or so.

It was a good night, Matt seemed quite at ease with everything, as he has all week actually, and got a chance to do the old meet and greet with a bunch of students, which is always nice. On with the pics!

Here is Master Kobayashi and Matt-sensei laughing it up at my attempts to get a picture without any of the trademark peace signs Japanese people love so much. Yoshi was also celebrating a birthday yesterday, and I was asked to lead the group in singing him Happy Birthday. When he saw me take the mike and look straight at him, he melted into his chair and shook his head at me... poor kid. He's much too modest, works his ass off for us every week and I was glad to be able to wish him a happy birthday, our very own samurai in Utsunomiya.

Here is a shot of yours truly with young Kanako-sensei.

Matt schmoozing with the ladies...

One of my responsibilities for the evening was to get students to ask questions about Matt... personal questions ok... or even preferred really... of course the ol' "Do you have a girlfriend?" came out... but nothing much spicier than that... probably because many students had already talked with Matt during his first week here.

Scott's contribution was a lovely amusing poem welcoming Matt, as well as a Gyoza map, with all the important gyoza options clearly marked out for the newbie in town.

Here is a shot of me and Matt with Tomomi (Take Off) and Yoshiko (STP).

Matt, Motoki and Sayaka

The stragglers, last to leave as usual... from left to right Yoshi, Scott, Motoki, Matt and myself, with little Yoshiko out in front.

While I was expected to join the second party, and the few students who asked me were disapointed that I wasn't going.... I haven't been in the mood for karaoke in a while and Scott and I gracefully made our getaway, heading in the opposite direction as the partiers. All in all, a good night.

Today, we headed out to an Omuraisu restaurant out between Hanawada and Keirinjo-dori. Omuraisu is essentially an omelette served on top of rice with some kind of sauce. While the place was pretty busy, it was well worth the wait. I am totally turning Japanese, taking pictures of food and stuff.... ack!

I had the omuraisu with a demi-glaze and mozzarella cheese sauce, quite yummy. It's simply amazing to see the chef making these things, it's not just a simple omellette after all.

As the egg is cooking, it is constantly shifted and eventually rolled into a cigar shape, with the inside still somewhat raw. You then cut through the top of the cigar, and...

Voila, split open the omelette and dish out the sauce... first time I've had omuraisu, will definately try it out again soon!

Along with the main course, the lunch set included salad, soup, dessert and tea... not bad for 1200 Yen!

We then took a detour through Hachiman-yama on the way home, and enjoyed the downright balmy temperature here in the big U. Plans for tomorrow are pretty mellow with nothing on the books but a walk with Scott (and Matt if we can get in touch)... it's been a while since we've been out walking, will be nice to shoot the proverbial shit with him again. Heard from Alex this week, he's subbing in Matsudo, Chiba prefecture and misses Utsunomiya a whole bunch. Had to get up at 6:30 and switch trains three times to get to the school on Saturday, NOT cool... we've got it pretty damn good out here in Tochigi, wouldn't trade it for all the nightlife\exotic food \ excitement of Tokyo.

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Blogger Dak said...

The sauce you refer to with Omurice is "Demiglace" sauce, essentually a meat sauce.

4:08 PM  
Blogger Michel Lafleur said...

You are absolutely correct... demi-glace in French, demi-glaze in English. It gets it's name from the act of reducing the original volume of stock down to half (demi in French) and thus making a lovely thick brown sauce. It was quite lovely.

8:28 PM  
Anonymous S'MEE said...

My goodness, but what a stunning, magnificent, authoritative, professorial, worldly collection of white extended foreheads!

....must be a club-thing.

Welcome Matt!!

9:54 PM  
Anonymous S'MEE said...

And of course, a very happy birthday to Yoshi!

10:09 PM  

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