The entire office went out tonight for a very nice Chinese/Japanese sort of meal in Azabu. I even drank a little bit of beer. Those who know me well understand the significance of that. The booze flowed like water, but I stuck to tea after the initial 乾杯 (kanpai). The dishes were exotic and, in some cases, a bit odd. The shark soup was good, as was the shrimp covered in mayo. Yeah… I said it sounded odd. But, damn if it wasn’t good.
Suffice it to say that I spoke more Japanese in the last 3 hours than I have in the last 3 years. I’m finding the language very difficult to speak, which is rather frustrating. Words don’t come to mind as easily as they used to… I can’t seem to pronounce things… I trip over my own tongue. Yet, one of my conversational partners was nice enough to swear that if he had his eyes covered, he’d think I was a native Japanese.
Note: The Japanese excel at over-complimenting.
The boss made the new guy give a speech to everyone in English. (He doesn’t speak English.) It was so comical as to border on the painful. After a few seconds, the boss feigned snoring and everyone cracked up. That didn’t stop the new guy who, by then, had sufficiently filled his tank with his “gasoline,” as he put it. (In other words, he was sloshed.)
I spent several hours talking about the Japanese language, history, entertainment, contemporary culture, rural dialects, and various other random topics. I even dropped into Russian a few times with one of the guys.
I think the Tokyo office now has a better idea of who I am and what I can do. Perhaps that will give them a more solid idea of how exactly they can use me. At any rate, I made several friends I intend to keep up with. I hope to be back before long… maybe even in September. Next time, I plan to try and spend more time with some of the folks I met this time. If nothing else, it will help revitalize my Japanese.