Trip down memory lane…
I was teaching “conversation” in Japan and had to talk to people a lot. Inevitably, this time of year everyone was talking about their “last Party” of the year (insert anything, like beer, dance, etc…) called Bonenkai. These are parties to forget the year, it seemed it was symbolic for relationships with co-workers, student/teacher, whatever, that we would enter this New Year together by drinking and karaoke. The entire month of December was fair game and I was ALWAYS booked solid, often leaving one gathering to attend another. I had no kids, just a cat, so it was great! The good thing was, since it was business related, we had a good time but nobody dawdled, three hours and it was over. On to the next event, slithering away in the night. The best part was I was always a special guest, often inviting my husband and giving me gifts, who wouldn’t love that? students were often VERY generous around this time of year!
This would be countered by the first party of the year, Shonenkai which was much more sober in my experience. Reflecting on life and business on the higher side of like. My best Shonenkai was at the American grill ( I cannot remember the name for sure) at the Hyatt Park Hotel in Tokyo! first class all the way! I am pretty sure I recognized the lobby from Lost in Translation with Bill Murray, a movie which I absolutely loved and related to almost everything. I don’t think it is funny to someone who hasn’t lived it, but if you’ve lived there, it is so dead on, the crazy stuff you are told and the way you must speak English, not to mention some of the characters!! Anyway, other places were nice including foreign (to Japan) restaurants that were very good, I had my best steak ever in Japan with a wonderful spicy mustard sauce in a non-descript French restaurant.
I really miss Japan, especially this time of year. It was so much fun to be in such a safe, friendly environment. Thanks for the memories Japan!