Even though I left Inuyama that doesn’t mean I don’t know what’s going on there anymore. I still keep in touch with Kristin and I always check Sean’s (my replacement) facebook for the latest pictures, videos and stories from Inuyamaland. Apparently, one of the Japanese teachers, Aiko, has transferred to a new school this week and today was her going-away party.
Kristin asked me to come to the party and stay over at her place and that was a very easy decision, of course I’d be there! So today I hopped on a Shinkansen to Nagoya and more than 2 hours later I found myself in Kristin’s Inuyama pasting together a photobook which Kristin wanted to surprise Aiko with but which she hadn’t had time to make yet. Good thing I was there to help. Kristin added the finishing touch to the front while we were waiting for the other partygoers in front of a closed (!) Al Centro.
That’s right sadly enough the party was not held at Al Centro, as it’s closed on Sundays, so we went to some izakaya instead. The students didn’t know that I was coming to the party and it was really fun to see their shocked faces. And of course it was great to do some serious catching up with some of my favorite students! Some of the teachers also didn’t know I was coming to Inuyama and their shock was a little more audible and exaggerated. I brought Aiko some pastries disguised as takoyaki, an Osaka delicacy (although I don’t care for them much) and of course I put in a lot of work on the photo and comment book. Before Aiko received the book, we passed it around with a bag of markers so that everybody could write some comment in the book. And the end product was good, there’s something about colorful Japanese writing that makes everything look so pretty.
I love parties at Al Centro because of the familiarity and the chairs which making getting up and walking around very easy, but the main reason is the delicious white wine they serve. The food at this izakaya was very good, even better than at Al Centro, but the booze was quite disappointing and the atmosphere was very nice but the Japanese seating (with holes in the floor for your legs) made getting up and moving about quite bothersome. Especially when Moe, the manager, asked me to give a speech as the special guest! I had just finished telling Kristin that not working at Inuyama anymore relieved me from any of those party duties, but I was wrong.
At this izakaya they had the typical alcoholic drinks I don’t like, like beer, shochu and sake, and they the cocktails or chuhais, but they were so watered down that they had no effect on my mental state whatsoever… Compare that to the all-powerful Al Centro wine that has the ability to make any great party a super party. After we moved the party to the karaoke place across the street, I kind of gave up on getting any kind of drunk and consumed ginger ale the rest of the night as that was included in the price.
But of course I still enjoyed the party while being sober, sang some songs with students and just enjoyed being around all those familiar faces. And this time being sober, I didn’t end up kissing everybody in the karaoke room, like I did at the end of my farewell party in May!
Of course I took loads of pictures, but most of them include students from my old school, and company policy prohibits me from showing students in the open on the web… So if you want to see these fun pictures, please become my Flickr friend or family.