So I finally made it back from my New Year's vacation. New Year's Eve was spent in Tokyo with Kevin, Beth, and Pete, dancing at a club called Vanillas, which has three floors, each with different music playing, although it seemed the disco floor was the most popular, so crowded I barely had room to dance. Vanilla's is in Roppongi, which is also home to this cool little lady statue playing her guitar. I was a bit disappointed with the music selection. You know, on one hand, they'd play Janet Jackson and I'd perk up and go out to dance, and then the next it was Donna Summer or someone equally disco-queenish, which is fine and all, but man the Japanese people there loved that stuff up. Had special moments in the song to shout hey hey hey and do little hand motions that were much too close to the elementary school kids throwing their hands in the air shouting "Gambatte!" but you know, cultural differences, blah blah blah. I would have liked some more hip hop. They did play "Jenny from the Block", so I suppose one can't moan about the whole register of dance songs that evening.
The next day I left Tokyo on a shikansen (bullet train) and went south to Nagoya to stay with my friend Tadashi. On New Year's Day I had a traditional dinner with his father, mother, brother, sister-in-law, and their baby. The food was wonderful, and so was Tadashi's family, who were very welcoming and sweet to me. They acted as if my being there was natural, which made me feel at home, almost like being with my own family.
We spent the rest of the week doing a variety of fun things. Karaokeing with Tadashi's good friends, dancing at a swanky club in downtown Nagoya, seeing Mt. Fuji all covered in snow, seeing the incredible Christmas dinosaurs of Nagoya, finally getting to eat some Mexican food that had actual heat and spice to it, eating the famous noodles of Nagoya, and climbing part way up a mountain to an onsen perched on the side of it. That was a hell of a climb. But all in all, a great week. Probably one of the best since I got here.
Sorry the pics are mostly all small. I forgot my camera and had to take pictures with my cell phone.