Thursday, February 09, 2006

Ah Shochu, where have you been all my life....

Tonight after work, Scott, Matt and I headed off to meet our Samurai Master Kobayashi Yoshikazu-san and headed off to a little shochu bar for a drink.

This here is the place, nice little storefront, and you head down the stairs into a little cubbyhole of a bar. Very cozy, great atmosphere, great food and drink.

Shochu is a distilled alcohol made from soba (buckwheat), barley, sweet potatoes or sugar. It was traditionally considered to be fit only for the lower classes, but now even us higher-class English teachers are quite happy with drinking it. It's difficult to explain the taste since it is quite unique. The selection of Shochu at this small bar is simply amazing. I 'm told the owners travel to somewhere every month and come back with a crate of the local shochu.

Here be the boys of the evening, notice one of us had a well-deserved day off today... and another (Scott) has a well-deserved day off tomorrow.

This is in fact a tiny little place, which as usual makes for a great atmosphere. Just two tables, one of which is up in a small alcove, and a short counter.

A good time was had by all, with the conversation floating from the Beatles tunes playing overhead to the intricacies of Seinfeld and Scientology. On the way home, I made the following discovery, which definitely made me happy for having my camera with me.

This car, apparently made my Mazda, is named Laputa, which is not only the fictional land depicted in Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Smith, but also serves as Portuguese and Spanish slang for "whore". Guess which definition first popped in to my head when I read it?

So that was the end of a good night. I was working a half day today, which no one told me meant I had to be at work for 5PM... I walked in at 5:45, thinking I was 45 minutes early according to the computer which said I had a break until 6:30??? Confusing. This half day off was compensation for the Sunday I'll have to work at the end of the month. If working 5 hours on Sunday only get me 4 hours off (2 of which are considered break time on my Thursdays), I will never again accept to take time off as compensation... pay me instead folks... my Sundays are worth more than some time to vacuum my apartment on a Thursday afternoon.

This will be my last post before this weekend's travelling extravaganza. Saturday morning, we depart for Yokohama where we will spend the day perusing Chinatown and the waterfront before retiring to our hotel. Sunday we will make the short trip from Yokohama to Kamakura, one of the most pedestrian friendly temple towns around. Kamakura was the capital of Japan for quite a few years and I've heard it's quite nice. We'll then hop on the old train for the ride back home.

Monday, I head off with Yuki (whom we met by chance when we were skiing Hunter Mountain in December) and Noriko (another of our students) for a trip up to Takatsue. From what I've seen, Takatsue is about 1650m elevation, and has received a pretty good dump of snow so far this year, should be a great day!

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