April is the end of the school year for Japan.
Which means that were farewells from the 3rd year Junior High 中学 (like Year 11) students, Graduations ceremonies and..."End of the year drinking sessions". Ahem.
Hey, it's Japanese culture Though because I'm not based at 1 school and revolve around 4, as well as my Eikaiwa 英会話 (Evening Adult English classes), I've had 4 of these "sessions" in a row. Which is probably why I haven't been feeling too well recently, eheh heh heh...
Yes, I enjoy my drink, and yes, I admit I like to consume myself with cocktails once in a while, but I could happily go without them, and I don't enjoy going overboard every night!
Yet, this, I find, to be another strange aspect of Japanese culture, is that when business colleagues, students at Uni or maybe even friends go out drinking, it's up to the senpais 先輩 ("elders" in the sense that they are a few years older and therefore have more experience in the workplace) to make the kouhais 後輩 (younger, less experienced... "newbies", if you will) drink up, even to the point that they feel ill! So there I am, being the youngest at all my workplaces, having flush-faced men, and women (but mostly men), in suits saying, "Are you drinking? Is that enough? Shall I get you another drink? DRINK UP!" The other thing that often happens in connection to this is that Japanese people, in a form of manners, always pour other people drinks (mostly the younger to the older generation and the women to the men). At first, I thought it was a good thing - England could do with regaining respect for the olders, but when it's alcoholic beverages and not green tea, and I only want one glass full and want to finish it, I really would not like someone filling my cup to the brim when I'd only had about a quater of it! I suppose the Japanese polite method would be to keep drinking as someone continuously pours for you, but my English stubborn side said,
"Hey, I can pour my own drink so I can chose how much I want to drink, and I'll only drink that amount and leave that extra amount you poured in for me without asking." Though not out loud, of course.
The same goes for food. Japanese people seem to love food and eating, though ironically about 3/4s of the girls are as skinny as rakes and complain about the skin resting on their skulls which they believe to be "fat". They always want to feed you! For someone like me, who adores eating and food, especially Japanese cuisine, it's a trap!! I hate to whine here about dieting, but seriously, in the sense of being healthy and listening to how much your body actually needs and not wants, you are the only person who knows, so you know how much you want to put on your plate, not anybody else! Don't get me wrong, I find it really polite and well-mannered when someone kindly takes a plate and places food on it to give to you, but when they give you all the pieces of pork when you'd rather eat the chicken, it can be a little irritating.
...I didn't mean to rant. These things don't happen every time I go out and I don't despise it, but it can tug at my nerves at certain times.
On a completely different note; 'Gintama'.
What the heck is that, I hear you poor, uncultured people say? It's genious, that's what it is. I've pretty much gone into a lot more detail about why I love it on my Deviantart journal so I won't go into too much here, but it's basically a Japanese Anime (animation/cartoon) series that I've fallen in love with recently. I highly reccommend it if you like shameful, disgusting, ironic, making fun of everything and everyone yet strangely moral, tear-jerking storylines. I even ended up joining the fanlistings for all the characters that are available.
Aside of Anime; film - 'Sherlock Holmes'.
I believe it came out a while back in England, right? In Japan, it came out in cinemas last month, and I went and saw it without any high expectations, but came out of the screens loving it. At first I casually thought, "Ah, it's just Sherlock Holmes cast all modern, action-hero like with cool stunts and a bit of fun, right?" which to an extent, it was, but it had so much more than that. The whole setting, the characters, the storyline, the script - wow the script - it was definetely my kind of film. I guess I'm a sucker for witty, intelligent, British men, haha I would like it in my collection when it comes out on DVD.
Tonight, I'm off for a weekend of rehearsals for the Pantomime.
It's our last rehearsal before the real thing which starts next Saturday, and continues 2 Saturdays onwards. It has come together, yes, but I'm worried that this last rehearsal isn't enough practice for the real thing. It's working our arses off time, methinks.