Thursday, July 31, 2014
Yesterday my phone showed me an icon I have only seen once before, which signifies someone is chatting or sending messages to you using Google+. The message was in Swedish and roughly read: "I know [person I also know, from university, but have not met since 2006]. I too am in Sapporo, until the end of August. Do you want to meet?" I was from some Swedish guy who knows a guy I know.
I am busy in August, so the first available night seemed to be August 12, which is pretty far off. I also asked where in Sapporo he was staying, which turned out to be right where I live! So I said that then we could meet up immediately, to which he agreed.
So we met up went to a bar where one of my Japanese friends works, and my Japanese friend remembered enough Swedish to say: "Nice to meet you. My name is [name]. How do you do?" and to say: "Here you go" every time he served something. He secretly learned Swedish to surprise me and my parents when we visited 4 years ago.
So we sat there and talked for awhile about various things, like why are you in Sapporo (and not Tokyo or Kyoto), and things like that. My Japanese friend now has one more Swedish person in his list of foreigners he has talked to. That list contains almost only Swedes, and it contains almost around 10 Swedes.
My friend once again proved to be good at "giving other people leftovers of things he has started to eat but did not want to finish". He gave me and my brother some leftover convenience store sushi when my brother visited Sapporo, he gave me half of a piece of cake that the customer sitting next to me had given him to try, etc. Yesterday he gave my new Swedish acquaintance one third of an umaibo. He also served us some red wine that another customer had brought with him since he had to buy a whole bottle at the restaurant where he was eating, but could not finish it by himself.
A girl who also goes to this bar a lot also showed up and she gave us some very sour candy to try. She also asked us about Sweden, and my friend the bartender told her that all Swedish people are either crazy or at least lack taste buds. He believes this after meeting several people from Sweden who all like the taste of licorice. To Japanese people, this is pretty much the most disgusting taste they can imagine, it seems.
When we walked home, we were of course going more or less the same direction. I asked where more specifically he is staying, and it turns out he is staying in the same house as one of my magician colleagues! This was quite surprising. Last year he had stayed in the same house, on the 24th floor, he said. This year, they had put him on the 3rd floor, though. Which is the same floor my magician colleague lives on!
I messaged my magician colleague that if he sees a foreigner in the elevator, he should say hello and give him my best regards. He said he would use the only Swedish he knows: "Jag älskar dig". Which means "I love you", and is not really used as a greeting when you run into people you do not know... So I am hoping they will meet in the elevator in the near future.
Wednesday, July 30, 2014
It happened last year too, and now it seems to have started again. Sapporo, or at least the area where I live, is flooded with moths. There are so many that the streets look like there has been a snowfall, since they are covered in dead white moths.
Tuesday, July 29, 2014
This friends is the friend who got me to wear yukatas. He explained to me that Japanese festivals mean you have to wear a yukata. He always does, and the friends he brings with him do too. My friend even dyed his yukata and painted the designs on it himself. He also has a weird hairstyle (which he cuts himself), that is also dyed a strange color.
The girl had woken up at 13:00 when he called to wake her. She had woken up and looked around and said: "Where am I?" Apparently she had been drinking quite a lot and fallen asleep in the last place where she was drinking. She was still sleeping there in the afternoon when he called. So she had to go home, change into a yukata (which is a lot of work for girls, for men the yukata is really simple to pu ton), and then go to the station. This meant she was quite late, so we got on a train that left the station at 16:30 or so.
|People who managed to buy raincoats before they sold out|
|Two girls completely drenched (white yukata is nice, but becomes transparent in rain)|
|Waiting for noodles|
|Pudding a la Mode|
|Taking a photo of a girl taking a photo of a guy taking a photo of a photo.|
When we got to Sapporo, my friend said that to him, festivals mean okonomiyaki, so he wanted to eat that. He called one of his friends who runs a bar and had a conversation along the lines of: "So, you have okonomiyaki in your place, right? We will go there soon. 4 of us. Okonomiyaki. ... I can't hear you very well, but we will be there soon. For okonomiyaki. I think I saw an ad in a paper where you said you had okonomiyaki, right? See you soon." They have never served anything even close to okonomiyaki there, but it might be worth a try, he figured.
|Roasted duck (excellent!)|
|Raw fish (very good)|
|Friend making okonomiyaki for us|
|Cold and overpriced yakitori. Pretty good.|
|Cold but expensive pizza. Not bad.|
|Selfie in the beer garden|
|Me and a lot of girls.|
|A large group of foreigners also wearing yukatas passed by near me.|
|One of my friends showed up in a yukata.|
|My Greek colleague's sister also showed up in a yukata.|
|Selfie at the fireworks|
|Heart shaped fireworks|
|New this year: double hearts|
After the fireworks, we went and had some food in a place run by one of my friends. He recently had to close his restaurant because the whole building was closing, but he reopened in a different building under a different name while I was in Paris.
|Pizza with honey|
|Free "newly opened" chocolate|
When I wrote about this on Facebook, a Japanese girl I once met commented with something along the lines of: "Why would you do that?" I explained that it was for a magic trick and that I used to do it with a big nail. She replied with "I see. So you strain your body."
The thing is, the only time I actually met her, I did the hammer a nail into my nose thing. People tend to remember that after seeing it once. So I commented that "the only time we have ever actually met, I hammered a nail into my nose right in front of you, right?" And she replied that: "Ah, now I remember!" So I said most people tend to remember that part very well, but she said that my zombie makeup had made an even stronger impression and that was all she remembered. Which was a bit sad, since I was not trying to be a zombie at that time... Everyone still thinks it looked like a zombie, but I was going for "broken doll".