Monday, September 03, 2007

Summer of Doug, pt. II - closing shop in the Shich

Insomnia and ska music... sigh. For some reason, ska bands can cover just about any song and make it sound more fun.

Alrighty, so the first step in my recent exodus started about 400km away up in lovely Miyagi, which I will not soon forget. Thanks for the memories, Shichigahama peeps. Knowing that this move was coming up meant that I spent the last few months actually trying to both plan things out and make the best I could of the remaining time I had with my friends up north. Good times were had, but those last couple weeks were extremely hectic, both professionally and personally.

The big factor with that at work was that my last week of work was the annual Sister City exchange between Shichigahama and Plymouth, MA in which I was the head interpreter/liason and played a big part in planning. Every year they alternate between Plymouth and Shichigahama visits, and this year was Plymouth's turn to send kids to Shichigahama. Of course, my old boss being the natural entertainer that he was garnered quite a bit of (positive) attention from the town officials over in Plymouth, inspiring them to accompany the normal kids group and double my work load as I now had to organize two delegations instead of one. This basically meant that for the 10 days they were in the country, I was working every waking moment as I showed everyone around during the day and fought crime by night... I mean, entertained the adults. Oh, and just to add, these 10 days just so happened to overstep the length of my one-year contract with the town by 4 days, meaning that I was paid extra to stick around. Sweeeet. This also mean that for those last couple days I was sharing the apartment with the new guy as technically it wasn't my place anymore.

So what does "entertaining" mean, you ask? Well, it means that it was my job to take them out to a baseball game complete with phallic-shaped balloons that they ritually shoot off on the 7th inning stretch (mail me if you wanna see the pics), interpreting a beer factory tour complete with a stop off at the beer garden afterwards, several wild and crazy karaoke sessions, an excellent free concert with Hajime Chitose that I was looking forward to pretty much the whole week, some awesome free meals at 5-star hotels and meetings with governors and mayor-type people, and day trips all over the place from Tokyo to Fukushima to Miyagi. It was exhausting and yet some of the best fun I had in my short year there at the same time.

This took me through to August 10th, which was both my and the delegation's last day in Shichigahama. I accompanied them all the way to the airport and saw them to the gates, after which I and my old boss went downtown to share a few drinks and such along with a CIR from a few years back that's working in Tokyo... or at least is for now. He gave his boss a 2-month notice that he's leaving the country the day we met! I had half my luggage with me at the time and went straight from there to my new home here in Yokohama to sleep on the floor (and by this I of course mean a futon) since I hadn't bought proper bedding yet. I still had to go back and get the rest of my stuff which was left behind and sort out the car situation... you see, a car down here would probably be more of a burden than an asset, so it was with great pain and regret that I bid farewell to the coolest car ever and the fastest wheels I'd ever owned - the party wagon. I hope your next owner appreciates your coolness as much as I, my friend.

Ok, next time I'll pick up with the first days down here in Yokohama with its concerts, clubs, and parties.

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