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Dr John Hawkins

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Ikebukuro All Nighter

Posted on 2006/08/07 05:23:30 (August 2006).

[Friday 4th August]
Tonight marked the second - and final - night of Chie being away, and so another evening out ensued. This time there was no requirement to go to work the next day either, so I intended to pull out all the stops.

Things have been quite busy at work this week (for those of you who know the company I work for, the reason may be fairly obvious). I've put in quite a few late nights, and tonight was no exception - I didn't leave until around 9PM.

My plan for the evening after leaving work was to go over to Ikebukuro, although given the time I finally left I was almost on the verge of not bothering, and just going home instead. Somehow though I mustered up the energy, and plodded on bravely to Ikebukuro. It's a fair way from where I work, so it was getting on for 10 by the time I got there. To my frustration I found that Rohlan had already closed, so as a substitute I went instead to eat at Great India. It's a small chain of Indian restaurants, and there are a few around Ikebukuro - this time I went to the little counter place, which only has about 7 or 8 seats. The food was very nice, but I really had my heart set on Rohlan, so this was a bit of a disappointing start.

Still Quercus made up for this - although I discovered my unusually late arrival meant I had missed one of my favourite drinking buddies there. Anyway, tonight I made friends with two guys I had vaguely seen there before, but had never really spoken to prior to tonight. The conversation wandered over a wide range of topics - including the scandal over how "Buddhist" Monks in Japan are often so rich, and the slightly less controversial topic of loan words in Japanese (apparently ponzu - that citrusy soy sauce stuff - actually takes its name from Dutch).

Oh, and at one point "spam onigiri" came up - this is a fairly nich area of humour, but I just couldn't stop laughing at this rediculous concept, for which I got quite a few funny looks. The Japanese people involved in this conversation just kept looking at me, with a completely straight face, and saying "What's funny about Spam?" - which naturally only made my fits of giggles worse. It seems Spam doesn't have nearly the same humorous connotations in Japan as it has in the West - I guess that's because Monty Python isn't really that popular here.

I was determined to stay right to the bitter end, and it was something like quarter to five by the time I finally headed out. To my surprise it was absolutely broad daylight, however there were still a number of denizens of the night out on the streets (I know this as I was politely molested by a couple of them).

I was surprised that the first train of the morning on the Yamanote line (Tokyo's equivalent of London's Circle line) actually goes at about 4:30. The first few trains of the day are fairly spaced out though, so it did take me quite a while to get home - and it was probably around 6 by the time I actually got to bed.

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