I can’t believe its December 12th! It doesn’t feel at all like Christmas to me yet, although I did do some Christmas shopping yesterday and it did get me more in the spirit! I found some really cool things and managed to avoid buying anything for myself except for one little phone charm, so I was quite happy.
Imabari was amazing! It is such a great city from what I can tell – although honestly I spent under 24 hours there and it was only light out for about 4 of those hours, hah! Zeno and I arrived at Imabari station at 4:15, only to step outside the station and see Tats, a Japanese friend (and elementary school English teacher – he is Katie’s JTE), who had apparantly cycled to Imabari from Matsuyama! Crazy person! He said it took him about 3 hours. Anyway, he said he had only just arrived, and luckily he ran into us, since he had no idea where the fundraiser was taking place, had no where to stay, and no plans until the event started. Jacqui, our wonderful New Zealander friend and Imabari resident, took us all to her house for tea and snacks before the event. Now, Jacqui’s house really deserves an entire post on it’s own, but I will try and keep it short and sweet. When I first met her, she had said she was probably going to move, as she did not like having so much space to herself. And space she has: A gated driveway, garage, large garden (complete with large aloe vera plant), huge entry way, and about 8 rooms! This house previously belonged to the principal (or vice-) of her school, and is located right beside her base school. The caretaker of the school also cares for her garden! Amazing! The house was great and she ended up letting about 9 other people crash there that night. She has also decided not to move, so I guess the place is growing on her! It was really quite neat to see, especially since my friends and I all live in tiny apartments. (Well, mine is a fine size, no complaints here!)
So, after tea, Jacqui had to go to the event early to sell tickets. By this point, another Matsuyama friend had arrived, so the 4 of us headed out for dinner. Jacqui showed us to a nice local restaurant where I enjoyed a “rice omelette” and fried chicken skin! Yum! Delish! There is a place right beside my apartment that so serves an assortment of fried chicken innards, so prepare for a feast if you visit! After dinner we taxi-d over to the event, which was coffee house style (except with beer instead of coffee) and enjoyed the show. Many ALTs from Ehime (and a few from Hiroshima Prefecture) were there and some played some music, as well as many Japanese locals and friends of friends who had come down for the event. The music was great. There was also a silent auction, and Zeno and I take credit for driving up the prices of each item, despite not making winning bids on anything… we do our part, after all, it’s for the children. After the event finished (it as from 7-10), all of the ALTs (and a few Japanese friends) went to a local Imabari drinking establishment to continue the party. More singing, mingling, and having a good time. Then we all stumbled back to Jacqui’s humble abode to crash. After a minorly intoxicated facebook chat with Erika at 4 am, I fell asleep.
When I finally awoke, I rolled over, phone practically still in hand, and checked the time. 11:30 AM! Ah! Zeno and I had to be back in Matsuyama for 1:30 for a birthday dinner with Kaz (who I believe I have mentioned before – a friend from our BOE). Anyway, I yell “Dylan! Zeno! We’re going to be late.” When no response comes from Dylan, Zeno and I start pestering him, or at least who we thought was him, but was infact someone else. We are poking the covers and calling his name before I realize there is a text on my phone from him, saying “I left my bike key at Jacqui’s, can you bring it home when you come!?”. This was when we discovered that once Dylan left someone else stole his sleeping spot since it was warmer … Half the people in the room had awoke and left, although I had no idea, sleeping through it all! Anyway, Zeno and I quickly pack up, grab a quick bite of pancake that Jacqui has made (thanks girl!) and run to catch the 12:10 train back to Matsuyama. We were only about 30 minutes late to lunch! Oops! After a delicious lunch at an Italian place, Katie, Zeno and I went off Christmas shopping (which I won’t tell you about until I get home in 10 days!!!) and that was that.
Hope you had a wonderful weekend too, gentle reader (that if for the Buffy fans out there – sometimes I imagine myself like Johnathon, telling a story from a large armchair while smoking a pipe…. weird?).
Until next time