Saturday, June 17, 2006

The Reception and Everything After

I got a ride from Yaegaki Shrine over to the Ichibata Hotel on the north side of Lake Shinji. After dropping off my bags at the hotel, I went for a walk over by the castle for some snacks. Croquettes at Kitagaki Meat Shop (yum), and sweet flour dumplings at a little tea shop behind the castle (double yum). Then I walked back to the hotel.

I had worked up a bit of an unfortunate sweat, but the walk was still pretty nice.

I came back and signed in, paying for my dinner and getting the video camera out to continue with my taping duties. I also talked with Mike about my lodging for the night.

Problem.

Mike and Nina had told me that I could crash at their apartment that night, since they were going to be staying in the hotel. When I asked Mike for the keys, he got a really shocked look on his face and said, "Ah."

"There's some other friends of ours staying there, actually."

Hmmm. This presents a problem.

"We'll figure something out. Don't worry."

Then, when it came time to go into the reception area, Nina said, "Hey Dustin, can you figure out something?"

Oh. Sure. No problem. It's only 6 PM and the reception's just starting. I'm sure I'll be able to call and find a place to stay.

I made a call to Kenji, the owner of Liberate, a bar in Izumo. He had told me back in March that there was a room I could use any time I needed to.

I needed to.

He said it wasn't a problem. There was a mattress there for me to sleep on, and some of the other bar workers would take care of it. Okay. Cool. Problem solved. But now I need to get out of Matsue and back over to Izumo.

Whatever. Enjoy the reception.

What a reception it was. Over 150 people there easily, mostly Japanese, mostly apparently Nina's friends. I ran into a lot of folks I knew, from other ALTs to teachers I'd worked with in other schools to friends I hadn't seen for quite a while.

Nina's a popular lady in Shimane.

There were speeches, dances, signing, playing of songs, and the consumption of much food and drink. Pretty fun stuff. I translated a speech for Mike's mom and dad. (Really nice people, by the way. You can tell where their son gets his personality from.)

Nina and Mike did something really cool at the reception. Instead of the usual take-home gift (hikide-mono), they made a donation in each guest's name to a foundation the builds schools in Vietnam. Nina was born in Vietnam, and has organized fund-raising events and school-building trips to Vietnam while she's been over here. I wonder where she gets the energy. Anyway, very cool.

Here's a shot of me with the bride and groom when they came around to our table.


I had to get out of there right after the party, although a second party was planned. I had a train to catch.

I made a quick stop by Filaments to give Imagawa-san some CDs that I'd promised him the last time I was in town. We talked for a bit, and then it was off to the station, onto a train, and over to Izumo.

I made the rounds of a couple of bars and then went over to Liberate. I wanted to stay up for the U.S. vs. Italy World Cup match, because I'd heard it was going to be on at 1 AM.

Wrong.

4 AM.

I gave up and went to bed on that mattress in a weird cluttered room in a weird cluttered area behind the bar.

I kinda defied definition. But I was so tired and intoxicated that I didn't really care.

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