Monday, December 25, 2006

Japanese Friends

The Japanese, for the most part, like Americans. They especially like New Yorkers (lucky for me) because we're "ka-kui!" (cool!)...which of course I already knew ; )

That being said, up until about midway through my time here, the only Japanese people I considered close to me were the Kato's...which, of course, is fine because they are amazing people whom I now can consider family. But there are only so many times I could go to JUSCO events (see Princess post somewhere below) and be told "How are you Burian? Good? Okay good... be a nice boy. Smile. Yes. Good." I am in a Sophia University circle, as discussed in my previous post, but there everything is just business...and besides, half the members are gaijin like me. So you can see why it was nice to finally make REAL Japanese friends- Satomi and K.

I met Satomi in Nagoya while on the Toyota business class excursion. She is a very traditional Japanese girl who hates the modern Shibuya-plastic girl culture (yea, haven't spoken on this yet...but expect a rant in the next week or so). She comes from Saitama (area just North of Tokyo) and has excellent English. In fact, she is taking a few classes in English! She is 24 years old, as she missed a couple of years of school due to illness, but is fine now and will graduate in a year.

This is Satomi. She likes octopus.

K, or Kyohei, is from Hokkaido- the northernmost part of Japan. He loves baseball, so our early conversations all revolved around how much the MLB teams would bid on Matsuzaka Daisuke. He is a business major who is studying to take over his father's import-export business in 10 years.

This is Kyohei...he ate quite a bit of sushi at kaiten.

Both Satomi and K currently have apartments (for some reason called mansions in Japan) in Roppongi, a ritzy area known for expensive restaurants and great views of Tokyo Tower. We had a wine and dinner party a week ago:

(From right to left, since we're in Japan) Dominick, myself, K, Maya (Satomi's younger brother).

Satomi and Jade enjoying some Shiraz or Merlot.

K: What? I didn't do it! All I did was make AMAZING rice balls!

Good food, tasty wine, soft jazz in the background, and good friends!

K and I saw this statue at the train station...good lookin' fella.

A couple days ago Satomi, Kyohei, and I met up at Roppongi Hills. We had a great sushi meal at a local kaiten sushi place (the conveyor belt approach). There was a beautiful Christmas light display, and after strolling through it we headed over to Shimbashi for another one! Afterwards, still hungry, we ascended to the 45th floor of a nearby tower and had appetizers! Here are some photos:

Green tea and raw salmon...does it get any better?

The view from the promenade at Roppongi Hills...Christmas light display and, in the distance, Tokyo Tower.

K and Satomi in front of Roppongi Hills.

The Christmas display at Shimbashi was set up to resemble the ocean.

The building in the distance is where we went to eat afterwards...during the show there was music, dry ice, and even a Santa Claus! (sorry, no pictures)

Our table had a great view of Tokyo....not to mention the food...ohh the food! Kind of a Japanese-Italian fusion!

Anyway, so it's nice to have real Japanese friends. Satomi is talking about coming to NY in the spring, and K may come...additionall, Satomi insists on talking in Japanese so I can learn as much as possible while here. K has invited me to his home in Hokkaido, and maybe I'll go! They have been so generous, and so willing to show me Tokyo in the short time we've known each other. I'm very grateful, and look forward to years of having both family and friends in Japan. It'll make a good excuse for vacation or business trip!

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