Utani & me - farewell enkai
Originally uploaded by Jason In Japan.
Yesterday marked my one year anniversary since I came to Japan. My supervisor for my whole first year was a great guy named Utani-san. He got a new job last week with another division of the Government office in Izumo City, so he packed up his desk on Wednesday and that night we had a farewell party for him.
It's not like I'll never see him again - Izumo City now technically is in charge of Taisha too, since the two cities merged last April, but I will miss having him as my supervisor. He only spoke a little English, but he tried really hard and was an immense help this time last year when I was fresh off the plane from Tokyo.
And he's a cool guy - young and energetic and always trying to be helpful. He got married at IzumoTaisha shrine last October, but he still likes to go out and have a drink and sing karaoke.
He now works in an office I'll go to occasionally when I'm over in Izumo, so I'll see him from time to time. He wanted me to make tacos for him and his wife, so hopefully I'll still get a chance to do that.
My new supervisor is a very nice woman named Hirosawa-san, but she speaks even less English than Utani-san, so I'm guessing most of our conversations will be in Japanese.
The farewell party was a small gathering of about 8 people from just the Taisha office all crammed into a very small, 10x5 room where we sat on the floor and drank and ate for about 3 hours. My biggest problem with these small spaces parties is that almost everyone at the party smoked, so by the end of the night the cigarette smoke was really getting to me.
For the nijikai - 2nd party or after party - we all trundled off to a local bar that has karaoke. After having spent 3 hours barely speaking (since no one at the party really speaks English) I wasn't too enthusiastic about spending even more time with the same group as they continued to drink. But karaoke has a strange way of breaking down barriers and it wasn't long before I was singing Simon & Garfunkel duets in English with my BoE boss and changing the words of Chuck Berry's "Johnny B. Goode" to "Utani be good" and serenading the bar owner with my throaty rendition of Sinatra's "New York, New York."
So we said our goodbyes to Utani san, but no one was too sad as we all know we'll still see him.
As for being here a year already - it's a cliche, but the time has gone by really fast. Not ALL of the time, but most of it. I am looking forward to another year, cuz this time I'll know what to expect 70% of the time when they tell me this event or that event is coming up.
Worked out with the kendo team today for the first time in about a month - so I know I'm gonna be sore tomorrow. But I have to get up early tomorrow even tho it's Saturday to attend a practice kendo match between my JH and two other Izumo JHs. After that we're gonna have a BBQ lunch - so that should be fun as long as it doesn't rain, which it has been doing all day today. Makes it a little less hot, but also makes it really humid. Lukcily my BoE, where I'm typing this, has Air Con, so I'll be relatively comfortable at work for the month of August before I return to my schools in September.
"I want to wake up in a city that never sleeps..."