Monday, December 8, 2008

Bonenkai: The End of Year Office Party

The coming of the New Year is marked by yet another office drinking party, the bonenkai.  We met last Friday at a new location downtown and ate more delicious treats and drank!  At many restaurants in Japan you can chose a fixed menu and you get nomihodai (all you can drink) along with it.  Since its a little expensive (each office party is usually around $40-$50) I figure I should get my money's worth in Kagoshima's alcohol specialty: sweet potato whiskey called shochu. Note: As shochu is the specialty of this prefecture and island, so far I have only drank sake a couple times.  I actually really like shochu, when it is fancy it tastes like a crystal mountain spring of alcohol, like how really good vodka can.  When it's not fancy, it doesn't taste all that bad either!
A bowl of nabe as it starts to cook.  Usually, you arrive at your table and pots full of meats and vegetables in delicious broth are already laid out and they light them once you are seated.
Yoshihara sensei sips his bowl of freshly served nabe.
Japan isn't known in the US & A for it's fried chicken, but just think tempura chicken and you got it.  Japanese drinking establishments seem to really have foods to eat with drinks down to a crispy, salty art form.
Locally caught tempura fishes.
The drinking has begun.
I start taking strange pictures.
Hey! What is that teacher doing?  I look like a sleaze with that cup of warm shochu in my hand, and he is playing some form of handless air trumpet..
All of the English teachers at Higashi high school finishing off at the first drinking establishment in various stages of drunk.  Me: shining in the glow of warm alcohol.  
Posing with passer by's.
More drunk posing.
And later, a teacher has decided to make use of my camera and clearly this guy's ear is the focus of this picture...
Ok, a different day.  Can you believe this? Sans alcohol, I agreed to stand in front of the local mall and sing Christmas carols! Don't get me wrong, I effing love Christmas songs, but this was taking the "look at me I'm a foreigner doing something silly in public" thing to another level.  And I have to admit it was fun.  I'll probably do it again.
Ok, this is the single most embarrassing picture ever taken of me.  I don't believe that I have ever willingly done "jazz hands" and let someone take a picture of it.  
What I should have done was bring some pots and pans and pretended to be one of these fine bell-ringers in Christmas scarves.!

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