Posts Tagged donair

October 1, 2006 – Speech contest

Today I attended the annual English / Japanese speech contest at Numazu library. The event was hosted by NICE – Numazu Association for International Communication and Exchanges. The Penpal is a member of NICE, so I went along to check it out.

When I learned about the contest a few months ago, I had given some thought to entering. The demand was much greater than the supply – 24 people tried to enter but only 10 Japanese speeches were presented. There were also 10 English speeches by Japanese residents. My favourite speeches were about the differences in communication styles between Japanese and American housewives, and an elderly Japanese man’s scorching rant about those annoying teens in sweatpants who hang out in front of convenience stores.

I really admire the courage shown by everyone who made a speech: public speaking makes a lot of people nervous, nevermind public speaking in your second language.

I overslept before the contest and didn’t have any time to eat before I got there. By the end of 20 speeches I was STARVING. On my way home I stopped at the new donair food truck in front of Don Kihote. If you’ve never eaten a donair, you are truly missing out on one of life’s great pleasures.

When I got home I received an invite from the Penpal to come over for dinner. I was still full from my late lunch, but I never, EVER refuse homemade curry. Yum!

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April 29, 2004 – VIP at Velfarre

Velfarre

Today was a national holiday, so I got to teach a morning shift for a change. It was nice to be done and still have the rest of the day ahead of me. The trainees still don’t own watches.

Having the evening free allowed me to take advantage of a unique opportunity. One of the two Japanese people living in Hello House, let’s call her Kyoko, worked in the fashion industry. Thanks to her connections, she was able to get a bunch of discount tickets to Velfarre’s 10th anniversary celebration.

Velfarre is Tokyo’s biggest dance club located in Roppongi. I am not usually a big fan of dance music, but part of the reason why I moved to Japan was to get new life experiences. It’s not every day that I get invited to this kind of event, so I grabbed a quick afternoon nap and got dressed up for a night out. The Hello House group met up and we all headed out to Roppongi. Our discount tickets cost 4000 yen, which I thought was pretty expensive for a night club. When we arrived I found out that the full price tickets were a whopping 7000 yen. Yikes!

The disco spirit is alive and well at Velfarre. The entrance leads to a huge “chill out” area, but the dance floor is 3 stories underground. To get there we all entered an elevator that featured flashing disco lights and loud techno music. The elevator music only seemed loud until we arrived at the lower level and the doors opened, exposing us to the full power of Velfarre’s sound system.

There were 3 DJs featured during the evening, entertaining people on a MASSIVE dance floor that was completely packed. It was like being on the floor at a large arena concert. At the front was a large stage with the DJ and several large, half naked black men dancing while covered in glitter and angel wings. Off the dance floor there were several bars featuring very expensive drinks. I decided to skip the bar line and walked over to a nearby beer vending machine, only to find that a can of Asahi was selling for 700 yen.

After checking things out, Kyoko led us upstairs to the VIP area. We got to sit at our own tiny table behind a velvet rope, with Tokyo’s important people on all sides. At the other end of the VIP area champagne was being served in real glasses. At this point almost everyone decided to go to the bathroom in groups or go to the bar, leaving me to guard the table. I don’t go to dance clubs very often, but I somehow always end up making a futile attempt to hold on to the table in a busy area by myself. I should have tried to interact with the people around me more, but I was feeling very out of place. Apparently I was sitting next to the king of the Tokyo gay scene for most of my time in the VIP.

Eventually we all met up and made our way back to the dance floor. After several hours of dancing, crowds, sweating, and very expensive drinks, we all left in order to catch the last train home. We stopped outside Roppongi station to get donairs from a food truck before getting on the train. Unfortunately this made us miss our connection, and we ended up having to finish our trip home with a taxi ride.

Although the music wasn’t my thing, I had a fun, although expensive, night out. Also, any night that ends with food truck donairs is a good one.

Quote of the night “Amigo, please pick a language!” – Donair stand guy to the 3 Indian guys who ordered alternately in Japanese, Hindi and English.

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