Posts Tagged farewell party

November 10, 2006 – Unofficial farewell party

Tonight was my “unofficial” farewell party. For those who haven’t been following the blog, when a teacher relocates to another part of Japan or moves home they often get two farewell parties: the “official” party which is attended by teachers and staff, and the “unofficial” party which is attended by teachers and students.

Azeroth took charge of organizing the party, inviting students from the two branches that I worked at in the area, Numazu and Mishima. The turnout was really impressive! We started off our evening at an izakaya and then ended up going to the second party at karaoke. The whole evening was a lot of fun, and I’m happy that I got one last chance to say goodbye and make everyone listen to my terrible singing.

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November 4, 2006 – Goodbye Tokyo

As part of my farewell tour, I went to Kawasaki today to meet up with my old housemate Kim. We went out for okonomiyaki in Noborito before meeting up with her fiancee Kame.

Kim was one of the most fun people I had met during my time at Hello House, so I wasn’t surprised to find out that Kame was a pretty cool guy as well. We all went to Yoyogi park to join up with a Hello House leaving party for someone who had moved in after my time there. Living in a dorm filled with English teachers means lots of people coming and going. You never really get to know everyone well, but you do get to attend a lot of farewell parties. Almost every farewell party I have attended in Japan was at an izakaya, so an outdoor party was a nice change of pace. I’m really going to miss the ability to drink legally in public when I return to Canada!

Eventually, like with every other party, we ended up at karaoke. I introduced Kame and Kim to Sad Cows Song which they instantly loved. We got back to their apartment late and I spent the night on the couch. It was a very fun day but the morning is going to hurt.

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October 30, 2006 – Official Farewell Party

When English teachers leave NOVA, there are usually 2 major farewell parties: the “official” party with teachers and staff, and the “unofficial” party with teachers and students.

Tonight was my official farewell party. Most of the teachers from the area showed up, and a few staff joined as well. We enjoyed beer and sushi at Ryoba, the most popular izakaya for teachers. I was happy that The Penpal was able to attend for a few hours. Her parents are extremely strict and didn’t like her out late, especially to hang out at an izakaya with a bunch of rowdy English teachers. I’m happy they were flexible for my farewell party.

After closing out Ryoba, the second party included karaoke and pool (billiards) at one of the new karaoke places near Numazu station. It was a lot of fun and I didn’t have to worry about being in rough shape for work the next day: there is no more work!

It was a fun night, although I could have done without having all of the oshiboris piled on my head

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February 19, 2006 – An early farewell to a roommate

Tonight was the official farewell party for my roommate Palmer. He is moving to Sapporo at the end of the month but we held the official farewell party tonight in order to accommodate other people which resulted in a larger turnout.

The evening followed the template of almost every other teacher leaving party: meet after work, go to an izakaya with a drink / food special, second party at karaoke. For tonight’s party, teachers and staff met at the garlic themed restaurant Ninikuya (literally garlic store). We all left a few hours later a bit drunk and smelling like garlic. Most of us moved on to Uta Club for karaoke. We didn’t book ahead (we rarely do), so our large group ended up being in a long, narrow room that had barely enough space for a table in the middle.

Sometime later into karaoke, sake was ordered. Getting into sake late into a night out is usually a bad idea. Tonight was no exception to that rule.

It’s unfortunate that some of the best parties are farewell parties.

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September 25, 2005 – The world’s funniest burger


Another week, another farewell party. One of the teachers from Fuji school requested a transfer to a branch near Kyoto. As with other teacher farewells, we got a gang of teachers and students and went out in Fuji for some (many) drinks and some (lots) or karaoke. The party got particularly lively.

I learned that drunk people should really not attempt to use the karaoke machine remote. It’s very easy to type in the wrong number, and the “cancel song” button looks very similar to the “backspace” button. Canceling a song that someone is singing is bad form!

I also learned that the average karaoke room table is not a good place to stand, especially when it is covered in spilled beer. Fortunately nobody was hurt during the sudden fall to the floor, although some additional beer got spilled.

Another observation was that karaoke places do not have enough bathrooms when you really need one. Some of the teachers decided to take out their frustration by throwing around toilet paper rolls that were awkwardly stored outside the very slow bathroom. This is fun, but not a great way to behave in public.

Discussing politics while drunk is NEVER a good idea. It’s an especially bad idea with a group of people from different countries where words like “conservative” and “socialist” have different meanings. Fortunately karaoke was very loud, and it helped cover up the pointless political debate.

After cleaning up as much of our mess as possible, the teachers ended up at the nearby convenience store to get some snacks for the train ride home. I found a selection of heat and serve burgers in the baked goods section of the convenience store, which for some reason I found hilarious. When I say hilarious, I mean I literally felt that this burger, in a wrapper that said “burger” in both English and Japanese, was the funniest thing I had ever seen. I couldn’t stop laughing.

As funny as I found the burger, my brain was still sober enough to realize that it probably wouldn’t be very good. After making an impassioned 5 minute sales pitch, I finally did convince another teacher to buy the burger. I expected it to be terrible, which would have been funny (for me). He told me it was one of the best burgers that he had ever eaten, and wouldn’t offer a bite so I could taste it. This turned out to be funny for him.

Like a previous trip to Fuji, we ended up taking the late train home. There are going to be a lot of sore people in the morning.

(2015 Update) I still don’t know why I found that burger to be so funny, and I never worked up the courage to eat an convenience store reheatable burger.

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September 3, 2005 – Farewell party 9085km away

My coworker Angie had her farewell party tonight. She was finished teaching in Japan, and ready to return to Scotland. Everyone loved Angie; she was a lot of fun to work with and to spend time with outside the office. When I left Japan suddenly to visit my sick sister in Canada, I wasn’t sure that I was going to make it back in time for Angie’s farewell party. I am proud to report that despite starting my day off in Canada, I managed to make it to the party!

I started my day in Winnipeg at 5:30am on September 2 (7:30pm Japan time). My flight left Winnipeg at 7:00am (9:00pm Japan time) and arrived in Vancouver at 8:10am (just after midnight September 3 in Japan). After a few hours of waiting in Vancouver airport, I was back in the air and bound for Tokyo Narita airport.

My flight was smooth and uneventful, unlike the flight to Vancouver a few weeks ago. I landed at 3:30pm Japan time and proceeded to the lines for immigration and customs. My magical gaijin card allowed me to pass through the resident line, which is always much shorter than the foreigner line.

From Narita airport, I took the Narita express to Tokyo station, the shinkansen to Mishima, and Tokaido line to Numazu. With memories of pulling my giant suitcase fresh in my mind, I decided to treat myself to a taxi from the station to my apartment.

For those who are unfamiliar with Japan, addresses are really only meaningful to mail carriers. If you are going to take a taxi, be prepared to give landmark directions. I told my taxi driver to drive towards Seiyu, turn left at the lights, and my apartment was across from 7-11 in a yellow building. The taxi driver complimented me on my Japanese and tried to engage me in a conversation, which was a bit beyond my skill level. At least I got home quickly.

Once I got home, I started to get a second wind. I had a quick shower to wash off the now 24+ hours of travel, pounded back an energy drink, and then rode my bicycle to Numazu station. For the second time today I boarded Tokaido line, this time towards Mishima. From the station it was a short walk to the izakaya where Angie’s party was already in full swing.

I arrived at the party, 9085km from where I started my day, and received a hero’s welcome. Angie was particularly happy to see me, and Koalako had saved a seat and made sure that my drink order was attended to quickly.


Fun fact: I was wearing a new t-shirt that said “kiss me I’m loaded” across it. This both started a fun debate on whether loaded meant “drunk” or “rich”, and also got me several kisses, mostly from women.

Like most farewell parties, the second party was at a nearby karaoke room with more drinks. Karaoke lasted until the last train came around, and I got a big hug from Angie before we left. I was exhausted by the end of the evening, but happy that I was able to make it to the party. I am going to miss Angie!

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August 7, 2005 – Pianos and parties

In the afternoon I went to hear The Penpal play the piano at her annual recital. I went to the same recital last year, although this time I didn’t get stuck in a car with her father. The Penpal played Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata flawlessly. It is amazing to hear how talented she is!

In the evening I went to yet another farewell party (that’s two in two days for those keeping track), that started at an izakaya in Numazu, and finished with too many people jammed into a NOVA apartment at 3:00am.

Most of the NOVA teachers in the area have apartments in one building near the north side of Numazu station. My roommates and I are the exception – our building is about a 15 minute walk east from the south side of Numazu station. I was not familiar with the route back, but fortunately Azeroth was with me and he knew how to walk (stumble) back without getting lost.

With farewell parties on Saturday and Sunday evening, I am very happy with my new Sunday / Monday days off.

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August 6, 2005 – Pretending to be asleep on the train

The whole area is short on teachers right now, so I got stuck with 3 group kids classes. Boo!

After work I went to a farewell party at a small town near Mt. Fuji. As usual, the first party was at an izakaya where everyone filled up on beer and food. We took a short train ride to Fuji City for the second party, which was at a karaoke room we usually go to.

The last regular train back to Numazu from Fuji is at 12:15am. However, that’s not the last train. There is also a 2:30am night express train. The night express has reserved seats, and costs more than the regular Tokaido line train. We were concerned that we would have to buy seat reservations or pay extra, but one of the more experienced teachers assured us that everything was okay, and told us to just buy the standard 320 yen one way ticket.

It turns out that our strategy for beating the extra fee was to all congregate outside the washroom at the end of the train, and pretend to be sleeping. This way if a ticket checker came along, he might be reluctant to wake up a group of sleeping gaijins that smelled of beer to get us to pay the extra fee. If we had all been more sober, we probably would have felt a bit conflicted about our decision, but it was 2:30am and we wanted to go home. Fortunately we got all the way to Numazu without running into the ticket checker!

(2015 Update) There are plenty of ways to cheat Japan Rail, but that doesn’t mean you should do them*. This is how foreigners get bad reputations in Japan! Do the right thing and pay full price!

*Unless it’s an emergency


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July 1, 2005 – Feeling old on Canada Day

Canada Flag

Happy Canada Day!

I celebrated by going to a farewell party for a student at Mishima NOVA who is moving to Canada to seek her fortune. The party went all night, but I only stayed out until 2:00am. I must be getting old.

(2015 Update) Due to NOVA’s policy prohibiting interaction with students outside of the classroom, my original post 10 years ago mentioned a farewell party for a friend instead of a student. Calling Yuki a friend is not incorrect – I had been out for beer, sushi, and karaoke several times with her, Azeroth, and the regular group of people a few times. I am also still Facebook friends with her to this day.

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June 16, 2005 – Farewell party for Kasparov

(This is an unpublished entry from my original travel blog when I was teaching English in Japan)

Recently one of my coworkers quit in spectacular fashion, getting his work visa changed and then sending his resignation by fax before a busy weekend. Kasparov was already not very popular with the other teachers, and the way he quit and made the rest of our schedules much busier did not help at all.

Angie let me know that there was going to be a small farewell party for Kasparov after work. Not a lot of people were interested in attending, but Angie wanted at least a few of us to show up. Since I rarely turn down a post work drink (especially when asked by a woman with a Scottish accent), I agreed and was part of the 4-5 teachers who showed up.

We met at a small izakaya near Mishima NOVA that I hadn’t been to before. It was nice, but didn’t have the same familiar character that I had learned to love at Ryoba. Kasparov was ordering sake, and when it arrived, it was poured in a way I had never seen before.

Kasparov was presented with a small sake cup inside a wooden box. The waiter poured sake into the glass, and it overflowed filling the box as well. To drink this requires you to drain the glass, then drink from the box while trying to spill as little as possible. I was intrigued, but after a few too many rough experiences with sake, I decided to stick with beer.

After a few sake glasses / boxes, Kasparov and his girlfriend started laughing about how he quit, and he was so happy about screwing the company over. Most of the effect of his sudden departure was actually felt by the teachers and students, so we didn’t feel the same satisfaction that he did. Usually farewell parties start at an izakaya, and end with late night karaoke. This one ended after a couple hours in the izakaya.

If you are upset with your employer, try not to screw over your coworkers on the way out.

(2015 Update) Apparently overflowing the glass into a box is a traditional thing. Read more about it here.

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