金 - Friday
Kerpow on the bike
I have the feeling I worked from home on Friday, as I was coming from the dorms when I had a splendid wreck on the way to the climbing gym. Luckily for me, there definitely wasn't any sort of festival going on, definitely not, no sir, so my wreck wasn't witness by a huge number of people.
How'd it happen: I was hauling along on a big street, somewhere around 30km/h, when I decided to switch from street to sidewalk at a spot where they met. Well, the sidewalk here doesn't blend with the street completely so there's still a one or two inch ledge at the lowest point. I threw my front tire up and over just fine, but was going fast enough that my more-or-less parallel path change made my rear tire snag on the ledge. Moral of the story, it dragged, I lost it. A splendid fall, but I was prepped for it and came out just fine. I did however pull off a nice amount of skin on my knee and turn my hip nice and purple.
Before I got a chance to look at too many of the faces gawking at me, I hopped back on the bike and got rolling, turned at the next block, and heard a gunshot. That was the 100PSI rear-tire blowing. The hump of the left shifter/brake handle was also a bit bent out of whack, but nothing bad-looking. It's currently in the shop, waiting for the owner to come back from playing in San Francisco and fix it. Back to a bikeless lifestyle for me - 'til the end of the week, anyways. At least I have those lovely pictures from before the crash to remember it by.
I go there a lot. I got a nice tape + tissue bandage from Takeuchi san, one of the shop's runners, and told Mike, Disa, and anyone who'd listen about my flight from just before. I was riding high on adrenaline and not feeling a thing, but had a nice crash when I came off it, and ended up not actually climbing much.
That, however, worked out well for meeting some other friends at a jazz club show in the evening. I walked to the venue, saw a friend outside, and found out the place was filled with smoke. That rather put a damper on my plans for going inside, but I did listen to some good stuff through the door.
I walked back to B'nuts in time to meet people as the place was closing, and managed to secure myself a date with Kanji san, a regular at the gym that I've been crushing on for awhile. He took me to a fun little izakaya where we enjoyed some interesting potatoes (they looked like eye-stalks -- see below) along with a variety of other dishes, including sashimi. Yay sashimi!
At one point Kanji walked off to the restroom and I was accosted by three fellows to the right of us. We got to talking, and it turns out one of them studied at the same campus as I did in Kyoto. Somehow we're now facebook friends. Little weird.
Anyhoo, since Kanji took me to a nice place of his, I returned the favor and took him to get some abura soba at hifumi. Kanji was a fun conversationalist, and pretty funny guy on the side. When we were walking home (turns out he lives not-so-far from me) he mentioned that he'd never gone out with a foreigner before and would have to brag about his evening to his work buddies. True story.
All-in-all it was a terrific day, and I summed up my feelings for it the next day like so:
stains on my pants: grass, blood, bike grease, climbing chalk, oil from 一二三油そば(soba!). Proof of a day well spent :D
土 - Saturday
Saturday was somewhat covered in the bicycle and hikari post, which I've sneakily already linked to twice and so will not do so again. I gave up on the rain ever stopping and went out fully outfitted for it just in time to have it stop.
Before I launch into this section, let me warn you I use the word gaijin quite a bit. Technically it is indeed Japanese, but it becomes English for anyone who spends time in Japan. It is written so: 「外人」, where the first character means "outside" and the second "person"; aka, foreigner.
It's used a bit differently though. For instance, while searching for the jazz club on Friday night, I asked a passing fellow if he knew where it was. He went to the effort of calling a friend and saying "Hey, so anyways, do you know where this place is? It's crazy, but this gaijin totally came up and asked me about it". There's lots that can be said about this fun phrase, but we'll continue with our story.
I met two other gaijin at b'nuts that I had first met at a thanksgiving party and had them try out top-roping for the first time. Sadly, I had taken my time getting there and they had already burned out pretty well on the bouldering wall. I climbed a few routes and took a fall big enough to scare myself after losing my strength in the crux of a problem and failing to clip the next bolt.
After I finished falling we went to a burger shop across the street for dinner. I'd been eyeing it for awhile but was intimidated by the idea of Japanese burgers, and ultimately had an avocado salad. The other two gaijin (whose names I realize I haven't mentioned yet - Maura from the states and Ryan from the other end of the Atlantic) and I were joined by a third for dinner, and the four of us went to a nice pub, Simon's Bar (where I got my Moscow Mule).
Time passed, more foreigners magically appeared, and at some point we were over at Middle Mix, a nice middle-eastern place I'll write about sooner or later. Suffice it to say, the owner is a hoot. At middle mix I was accosted by another newcomer to the Sendai area who decided to ignore his date and instead ask me about how awesome I was.
I assured him that I was, indeed, quite awesome.
For the first time in awhile I found myself at karaoke with a group that included none of the earlier folk but Ryan. There was much singing success. Only a few of the songs we sang are staying in my mind, as my memory stops functioning properly once you cross the 2am boundaries of a night. I managed to convince Ryan and two others to join me at hifumi for another round of abura soba (consecutive abura soba days, yay!) and then walked home, getting to bed sometime around 5 in the morning.
Now you see why I had trouble remember the weekend - sleep was not my forte.
日 - Sunday
I'm sure something happened, just not what. Give me a second to think on this.
Ah! Found it. I had meant to go volunteer on the nearby coastline, but a broken bicycle had shot down that plan, so...
I slept in as late as I could, which meant I was up at a half past ten in the morning. Damn you you weak bedroom shades you. At some point I walked over to the bike shop to drop it off for repairs, then walked from there to the heart of the downtown to meet up with a group of people and plan a ski trip to the nearby Zao ski / hot springs resort. Should be a great time.
On my way home from that, I accidentally walked by and then entered b'nuts. Going back-to-back for a week and skimping on sleep for three days left me somewhat weak at the wall, and I took my biggest fall to date on it, and may or may not have leaked a little fear into my pants. I was so tired and dazed that I then opened the changing-room curtain while it was occupied by one of the girls.
It's especially fun that someone said "Don't, Matt!" right before I went to open it, but I was so cut off that the Japanese just didn't get connected to the right part of my brain.
And that, with nearly 1700 words, is the story of a weekend.
Unless you can count Monday into a weekend?
When Monday has a milk party, Monday is part of the weekend.
月 - Monday
I went to a milk party. What is a milk party, you ask? Ask the Germans who threw it. I only know that it happened, that I was there, and, and, MILK PARTY!