Friday, November 10, 2017

Tribute to Maki-Hime / 真己姫へのトリビュート

With my impending move to Aomori from Tokyo, I finally got a chance to see one of my oldest friends in Japan. Her name is Maki. I always called her Maki-Hime. She was one of the first people I got to know after moving to Japan. We both worked at the big Red and Yellow in Shibuya. Although she had transferred to different locations, she still kept in touch. She went to New Zealand for a short time. I remember receiving a letter from her (unfortunately I can't find it now). Anyway, it's now been 20 years since I first met her. She taught me my very first kanji characters - 真 (ma) and 己 (ki). Yep, the first kanji I learned to spell was her name - 真己. Well, I did know how to write the kanji for mountain (山) and river (川), but these were new kanji characters for me. She had spent the last couple of years living in Hawaii and learning the Hawaiian language and culture, so I thought I would give her a ukulele which I doubt I was ever going to learn how to play and it gave us the opportunity to meet before my move.

東京から青森引越しの時間が迫ったので、東京から離れる前に多分日本で一番古い友達になった人と終えた。彼女の名前は真己。僕がいつも真己姫で読んでました。僕が初めて日本に来たときに職場で仲良くになった。彼女が僕にいろんな漢字も教えてくれた。最初に学んだのは「真」と「己」だ。はい、彼女の名前の真己!!もちろんそれ以前に簡単な漢字「山」や「川」はかけたが、大人になって初めて覚えた漢字が真己だ!彼女もこの数年間(どのくらいの期間か分かりませんが)ハワイイにも生活してた。ハワイイ語とハワイイの文化を勉強してた。日本に戻ってしりましたが、中々会えることが出来なかった。僕が絶対弾けないウクレレを彼女にプレゼントしようと思って、やっと会える約束が出来た。彼女は三軒茶屋まで来てくれて、僕と僕の妻と一緒にランチを食べた。


Our first meeting in a long time but also our parting as I will be moving to Aomori.

久ぶりの再開なのに、お別れにもなるんだ!






After lunch, we went walking around the neighborhood. We stopped in at a novelty shop called Village Vanguard and were just being a little goofy.

ランチを食べたあと、三軒茶屋周辺を歩き回った。ここは三軒茶屋店のヴィレッジヴァンガード。


So, thank you Maki-Hime for being such a great friend and keeping in touch all these years. You have an open invitation to visit us in Aomori.

そして、真己姫にずーと友達といてくれてありがとう!今後も宜しくお願い致します。機会があればいつでも青森に遊びに来てね。

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Farewell to Tokyo Dinner / さらば東京の食事会

It was nice of my friends to throw us a going away party in Kagurazaka. My friend 21 (that is his nickname) suggested having a more private dinner. Just him and his wife along with me and mine, and our friend Tetsu who was unable to attend the party.

神楽坂での送別会は凄い嬉しかった。そのご、友達の21番が少人数で食事に行こうと提案して、参加者は21番夫妻、僕と僕の妻と送別会に参加出来なかった友人のてっちゃん。

21 had brought us to the restaurant on a previous occasion and we thought it would be great to have a farewell dinner here. It is an oyster restaurant called [Kaki Garaso] which translates to something like "Oyster Bistro". I saw on the Internet that the Sangejaya location has closed.

21番が以前もこの店を紹介してくれた。ここで最後の食事も最高な場所と思った。牡蠣小屋の「かき殻荘」です。












21 even gave me a going away present. A new wristwatch. I had stopped wearing a watch a long time ago, but now it has become a necessity.

21番から腕時計を貰った。長い間腕時計はしなかったけど、現在は必要品になりました。



And the food!!

そして食べ物!!



You can't get more luxurious than that can you?

こんなに贅沢して良いのか?






We didn't forget our vegetables!

野菜も忘れてませんよ!










We then went to a small bar which serves a variety of Nihon-shu. My wife was getting a little tired so she went home before me. 21's wife also left early so it was just me, 21, and Tetsu.

かき小屋のあとに小さな居酒屋に行って、日本酒を楽しみました。21番の妻と僕の妻は先に帰りました。ここで僕と21番とてっちゃんの三人になった。


21 was aware of my love for bacon!

21番が僕の好みの厚切りベーコンがよく知ってました!




After drinking beer, we decided to indulge in a bit of Nihon-shu.

ビールを飲んだあとに日本酒です。


I don't remember the names of the Nihon-shu and have difficulty reading the kanji but they were all delicious.

日本酒の名前は忘れまたけど、そして、読めない漢字ばっかりだが、覚えてるのは美味しく飲みましたこと。


I just love the label on this one.

僕はこのラベルが気に入った。


A few more farewell dinners and lunches and my wife and I will be off to a new beginning.

ほかのさようならランチや夕飯の約束が残ってるので、それからは僕と妻の新しい冒険が始まる。

Monday, October 30, 2017

Farewell to Tokyo / さらば東京

The time has finally come. Our good friends in Tokyo wanted to give us a nice send off so they planned a going away party for us at our friend's restaurant called "Utou" in Ushigome Kagurazaka. It was heartwarming and great to know I've made such good friends over the years. We may be saying good bye to Tokyo, but that doesn't mean we are saying good-bye to friends. I hope they will come visit us up north and when we get a chance, we will make some trips back down to Tokyo.

とうとう時間が迫りました。私たちの青森行きの事実。仲良しの友達が私たちの為に送別会を企画してくれた。場所は牛込神楽坂。店は私たちの友達が日本料理店の営んでる”善知鳥”という店。本当に東京で作った友達は宝物だな。東京に離れますが、友達とはまたSNSで繋がってるため、友達にはさようならではない。いずれは青森に会いに来てくれるを信じてます。そして私たちがチャンスがあれば、東京に遊びに行く。

Kitamachi [Utou] / 北町 「善知鳥」


Chef, owner and friend, Ken. My wife has known him since elementary school.

チェフ、オーナーと友達のケン。


My friend Suga, he has the nickname of 21. It really was a simple story of how that came about. When he first went to the oden foodstall, the Mama-san had a hard time remembering people's names. He happened to be wearing a shirt with the number 21 on it and he has become 21 ever since. Even I was introduced to him as 21.

友達の菅。あだ名が21番。なぜそうなったのは簡単の話。彼が最初に屋台のおでん屋に行ったとき着てたT-シャーツに21という背番号が書いてあった。名前を覚えるのが下手なおでん屋のママがそのまま21番の名づけ、いまでもみんなが21番と呼んでます。


My friend Yuko33 (also a nickname). Her nickname was given by me as there were many other Yukos that I knew. However, she was still 32 at the time and would be 33 in a couple of months. However, the nickname stuck and all of us who met her at the oden food stall still call her 33. She is quite happy with the nickname now as its been over ten years and everybody still calls her 33.

友達の裕子33 (これもあだ名です)。名づけ親は私。出会った当時はほかの裕子もいっぱい知って、彼女があとちょっとで33歳になるという話してをしてたら、じゃ、裕子33で良いじゃん。最初はちょっと起こり気味で、”私はまだ32歳だよ!”って。それか10年以上が経って、いまでもみんなが33と呼ぶ。彼女にとって得した気分になったと言ってくれた。


Ryoko, Yuko33's younger sister. I also met her at the oden food stall. The last couple years in Tokyo, she and her friend were my informal English conversation students. Although we did study some English, it gave us an excuse to go to different gourmet burger shops and other restaurants where we could eat good food and speak a bit of English.

涼子ちゃん。裕子33の妹。彼女もおでんの屋台で知り合った。東京最後の2年間は彼女と彼女の友達が僕の英会話の生徒でした。月に一回に集まって、英会話を勉強してた。いつも美味しいバーガー屋やら、お洒落のカフェを選んで、英会話より美味しいもの食べる会にもなった感じ。


Nakamocchi! Another person I met at the oden food stall. He has worked in the restaurant industry for a long time and I once worked as Santa Clause for three days in Ginza at one of the restaurants he worked at.

中もっち!またおでん屋で知り合ったひとり。彼は飲食業界に働いて、何年か前に銀座で努めた店に僕が三日間サンタの格好でバイトしてたことがあった。


Reiji Taguchi (Gu-san). Another member I met at the oden food stall. We got along well as he likes hard rock from the '70s - Kiss, Zeppelin, Queen. I invited him to come with me to the rock bars Dokken and Blackmore. I also once planned a party for his 40th birthday at Blackmore.

ぐっさん。彼も確かおでん屋で知り合った。音楽の話で盛り上がって、仲良くになった。彼が一番好きと言ってのはキッスやパープル、レッド・ゼペリン。何回も一緒にドッケンやブラックモアというロックバーも一緒に行きました。40歳の誕生日だったかな、僕がぐっさんの誕生会をブラックモアで開いたこともあった。


Time for some food. Our friend served us a course meal and of course the alcohol was free-flowing. I'm not sure what was the main ingredient of this item but you can see it has salmon roe and some green vegetables.

はい、食べ物も紹介します。私たちの為にコース料理を出してくれた。最後に出されたのははこれ。メインはなにか覚えてませんが、イクラと野沢かな。


Kana. Also met at the oden food stall.

カナちゃん。彼女もおでんの屋台で出会った。


Tomo. Good friends with Kana. I met them at the same time.

トモちゃん。カナちゃんの親友。同じ日に二人と出会った。


Nori. He was our neighbor for quite a while in Wakabayashi before he and his wife bought a house and moved to Kyodo. We spent many nights drinking at his place and playing with their first born son Shoei.

ノリ君。僕が結婚してから、三宿から若林に引っ越して、ノリ君のアパートの近くになった。よく彼の家に飲みや遊びに行った。そして、よく彼の長男ショウエイ君と遊んだ。家族ぐるみな感じになってた。

Natsuko (Na-chan). I met her through her friend Megumi who worked part time at a blues bar called Blue Heat that was in the same building as the rock bar Dokken. Me and a friend had invited Megumi to come with us to the oden food stall. One night Megumi came to the food stall with Na-chan.

夏子 (なっちゃん)。なっちゃんと出会ったのは彼女の親友のメグミ(メグメグ)という子からの紹介。メグメグは一時的にドッケンのロックバーの同じビルにあったブルースバーのブルー・ヒートでバイトをしてた。ドッケンで知り合って、おでんの屋台に誘ってあげた。仲良くになって、彼女が親友のなっちゃんをおでん屋に連れてくれた。

Ai. I met Ai when she was still 19. She came to the rock bar Dokken where I met her. I invited her and her boyfriend at the time to come with me to the other rock bar Blackmore. It turned out her boyfriend was college classmates with the manager, Shin-chan. I had lost touch with her for nearly ten years until the advent of Facebook. One day, as I was going home from work, I was stopped by a guy I had never seen. It turned out to be Ai's current boyfriend who recognized me from her Facebook page. I didn't even realize it was Ai at the time. After that, I invited the both of them to an event at Yoyogi Park and we begin to hang out again. My friends from the oden food stall took to them right away and now they are part of the gang as well. Life really is full of surprises.

愛ちゃん。僕が初めて愛ちゃんと会ったのは、彼女はまだ19歳の未成年。それでもドッケンというロックバーで飲みに来てた。ある日彼女と当時彼女が付き合った彼を一緒にブラックモアに行こうとしてたら、偶然でも彼女の彼氏がブラックモアのマスターと大学の同級生で同じサークルにも居た。彼らの再開が11年ぶりだったと聞いた。約10年位彼女と連絡が取れなくなり、ある日フェイスブックで発見。Facebookの再開も嬉しかったが、さらなる偶然があった。僕がタワーレコードを辞め、川崎に働くことになった。ある日、帰りの途中で見知らぬ男に止められた。彼が愛ちゃんの現在の彼氏。彼が愛ちゃんのFacebookページで僕の顔が覚えて、彼女に”あれ、アーニーじゃない”。彼女もマスクして、最初誰だか分からなかった!丁度来首あたりにイベントがあって、二人を誘って、来てくれた。その時、二人がおでん屋のメンバーに受け入れて、いまは仲間入になった。人生って面白いんもんだな。







What would drinking be without edamame?

飲み会に枝豆がないっとね。


Next up, a small plate of sashimi including maguro, scallops and some other type of fish.

次のコース料理は刺身ですね。マグロ、帆立ともうひとつの魚。なんだったか覚えてない。


Ryo-chin. He is also one of the younger members of the group. I think I met him when he was still in his early twenties. My best memory is when a few of us went to Karuizawa, Ryo-chin decided to keep up with me and Tetsu's eating habits. I think he regretted it as he ended up puking out most of it on our way back home after the trip. Back then, Tetsu and I ate like there was no tomorrow!

りょうちん。彼もメンバーの中で格好若いほう。一番の思い出が何人か軽井沢の小旅行に行ったとき。彼が僕と友達のてっちゃんと同じ量を食べたら、自分の体に異変が。やっぱり帰りの途中で吐いちゃったな。あの当時僕とてっちゃんが食べる量は半端なかった。


Miporin. Ryo-chin's girlfriend and now wife!

ミポリン。りょうちんの彼女。現妻です!






More food - chicken.

食べ物がつづく ー 鶏肉。


Tomo and Kana / トモ&カナ






Me and Na-chan / 僕とナッちゃん


Fish...but what kind?

魚。。。でもなんの魚だ?








Me and Nori / 僕とノリ


Mari. Nori's wife and the mother of three children now! When I first met her, I couldn't believe how many cans of beer she could drink. Polishing off six or more was child's play! I wonder what's the most beers she's had in one night.

マリちゃん。ノリ君の妻と現在三人の子供のお母さん。僕が初めて会った時に彼女の飲みっぷりにびっくり。平気で缶ビール6本以上を飲む。最高記録はなんだろう?






Rice with scallops.

帆立入のご飯。






Yukio and Reiko. They feature in many of my posts as they were are travel partners on many occasions. Yukio was even my Best Man at my wedding. He was the one who introduced my wife to me.

幸男と玲子。二人は良く僕のブログに登場する人物。なぜと言えばこの二人が私たちの旅仲間。良く一緒に小旅行に出かけた。彼も妻の幼馴染だし、彼は私たちの結婚式でベスト・マンになってくれた。


























Me and Ken / 僕とケン


















Our friend Ucchi on the right. He had come later when everybody was pretty full of alchohol!

右側に友達のウッチです。彼がちょっと遅れて参加しました。みんながだいぶ飲んだあとに!


















Shoei sure has gotten bigger.

ショウエイが段々大きくなってる。










Group photo time.

グループフォトの時間。
















After the nice party at Utou, we then went to a karaoke box to continue the festivities.

二次会はやっぱりどっかのカラオケボックスに。


















Yuko33 doing her impression of Seiko Matsuda.

ゆうこ33が松田聖子になりきってる。