Saturday dawned rainy wet and had no signs of letting up. I know it's simply my pessimistic nature peaking through but sometimes it seems that the tenki-no-kami-sama (weather gods) conspire to ruin at least one half if not all of my weekend by raining or snowing. Since I had things to do though I grabbed my latest umbrella and headed out to perform my errands. I returned a few hours later several thousand yen poorer, and more damp than I'd bargained. On the plus side I was actually able to get all the errands I had planned completed. Boo-ya.
Being the glutton for punishment I am I decided around 8pm that I had had enough sitting on the floor of my apartment staring out the window, so I grabbed a dry pair of jeans and headed to the only bar likely to have regular people in it: Bear's Bar. All told Bear's isn't a bad place to grab a drink. Cocktails and anything in a bottle is a cool 500 yen and the staff are friendly. The two downsides to it are that a) it's approximately a 40 minute walk from my apartment building, and b) the night-to-night turnout is damned near impossible to guage in advance.
I was one of 5 people in the bar when I arrived, the other four being ALT (assistant language teachers who work in public schools) and NOVA (a competitor with my company) teachers. I've seen them all around before but didn't really know any of them well enough to join in their conversation so I pulled up a table of my own, ordered a drink, an overpriced pizza and sat back hoping my jeans would dry sooner rather than later. Luckily one of my Japanese friends was able to drop by for a few rounds and some animated conversation. I headed home around midnight after chatting with a few other folks that showed up who I actually knew. I had to get up early in the morning.
Somehow I got 'volunteered' to help with some group that my friend Hiro is a part of. They were planning to spend the day reclaiming a garden somewhere in the mountains. ie: I had a day of digging in the dirt planned for me, and I got to pay for the pleasure of it! In reality it's wasn't as bad as I make it out to sound.
About 30 ~ 35 people showed up to help out and we had a good time. The view in the area we were at was very nice and the weather was cloudy but pleasant. We split into groups and moved about some stations they'd set up, making pizzas and small stews by hand, trimming and weeding the garden, planting in our designated area and finally eating and drinking far more than was necessary. I met some nice people, got some color in my face and had a good time. We cooked everything we prepared on makeshift charcoal ovens and no one got burnt or too drunk that they hurt themselves so I'd call it a successful day.
I had to rush home because I'd invited some people over for dinner at 6pm. I made tacos and martinis, which my guests finished nicely with some Haagen Daas icecream and strawberry cake. We all ate too much, but it was a good time. If that wasn't enough my co-worker Justin decided we needed to go out for a beer after everyone headed home. He was crashing at my place due to an early-morning dentist appointment. We ate and drank too much at a new izakaya near the station and finally crashed out around 2am.
I think that's it. Probably the busiest Sunday in my time here in Japan. I'm beat!