Saturday, December 31, 2011

Day 52

New Year's Eve plans are thus: Take my cousin's down to the local 神社(じんじゃ)Shinto shrine where we will toss a few coins in and say a prayer for blessings for the New Year. The boys' grandmother's house (grandmother, aunt, uncle, and mother) will not be going to this annual midnight outing, out of respect for the passing of a close relative this past year. So the duty falls to me, and I am very pleased to step in as I know the boys are excited to go.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Ebisu Station

Met up with an old friend of mine who studied with me while we were both exchange students at Sophia University. 5 year anniversary of sorts. Celia, French, introduced me to her boyfriend Teru from Ishikawa prefecture. We met at Ebisu Station with a plan to have a coffee or a glass of wine. But since many people were already celebrating the year end vacation from work, many of Celia's recommended spots were at capacity. Fortunately for us, Teru's iPhone led us down a small street and we stumbled upon a great little French wine bar which I will be sure to return to again soon. Highly recommend ROOB6, about 3 minutes walk from the west exit of Ebisu Station. Accommodations were tight, the wine strong, and prices typical for that area, about 600-900 yen per glass of wine, but the setup and atmosphere is what I liked most. The food was mildly decent as well.

As it turns out Teru is captain of his semi-pro basketball team and invited me to participate in some of their practices. I can't wait!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Gaining Mobility

Today, with the help of my uncle and cousin, I have managed to negotiate the purchase of a used scooter, the Honda Dio, 50cc moped from a local moped shop. I am waiting for the arrival of the license and title paperwork. This is a tiny moped but its really all one needs to become mobile in Japan without heavy reliance on public transportation. Its not that I mind a crowded commuter train once in a while. The fact of the matter is, public transportation here is the best I have ever seen in terms of reliability. However, as a major drain on the old pocketbook, I expect to recover the cost of my new used Dio, 85,000 yen, (approximately $1,000 US) in a only a few months. It would be an interesting case study to see how long it would take to save 85,000 yen mopeding in place of normal everyday transportation costs. Perhaps in a subsequent post, I will dedicate my efforts to such a study.