I just got back from dinner with Jozaki san and his wife, Yoko. I met them at the first office "enkai" (lets-get-drunk-and-express-ourselves-frankly party) a few weeks ago. During the party, i did the polite japanese thing of walking around the room with a big bottle of beer, pouring for others and striking up conversation. as per customary, i started with my bosses' table. My vice principal happened to be hosting his old friend at the party, Jozaki san. He seemed quite interested in me and spoke really nice english. Later he came to my table to pour me a drink and talk some more. He was really wasted and gave me his phone number on a paper chopsticks sleeve.
Later we moved on to the "2nd party." at a snack bar. It was just me and my bosses and Jozaki san. A snack bar is typically a "red-light" sort of establishment where the drinks are expensive, but you get free snacks and the company of a presumably cute hostess who is expected to flirt with you.
Since this was Amagi, our snack hostess was about 55, but done up in ridiculous makeup nevertheless. To make sure everything was well understood, my higher-ups invited their wives, as did jozaki san. All my bosses as well as the Jozaki's are interested in speaking english, so we had a lot of slow english conversation while having rounds of beer and whisky, and they got more and more interested in what i had to say. Jozaki san and Yoko seemed especially excited about knowing me and told me i should come to their house for dinner some time. that turned out to be tonight.
Jozaki san is an accountant and his house is HUGE. They live just down the road from me. Their place (the same house where Jozaki grew up) was just remodeled last year. During the remodelling they lived in the neighboring house which they also own, and is now uninhabitted. crazy isnt it? After all my horrible issues with my subsoviet apartment, i am secretly hoping that they offer their unused second house or something. That's not gonna happen though.
Anyway their house is huge, their living room contains a computer and two hdtvs and it's about as big as my entire apartment. While most houses have a traditional japanese style room with tatami flooring, sliding doors and a shrine, they have a whole wing of the house. Again, it's as big or bigger than my entire place. I was floored.
The Jozakis are incredibly nice and enjoy hosting foreign exchange students and meeting gaijin like me. Jozaki san spent a year in New Zealand when he was 16 and felt so welcomed there that he has spent the rest of his life paying it forward as a homestay dad. The Jozaki's are now in their 50's I gathered.
For dinner, Yoko made us soup, salad, sliced veggies and amazing tempura. She promises to teach me some cooking in the future and they flat out stated that they'd like to host me for dinner "twice or three times a month." strangely specific, but i can roll with it. We talked about English, their experiences abroad and with homestays, and my experience in Japan so far.
Jozaki san chainsmoked throughout the evening and their toy poodle, Ran, humped my leg the whole time. It made everything all the more entertaining. While they had picked me up by car earlier, we all walked back to the Jutaku (about 15 minutes) while talking about Earnest Hemmingway and Haruki Murakami.
Damn i vowed to myself to write articles in this blog and not so much "today i did X Y and Z" but there you have it. Either way, today was pretty great.