Five months after the fact, my 25th birthday fell on my second week here (I have so many drafted posts and I am finally working through them, sorry!). Being a school day (a first-day-at-that-school day) and a long one, it didn’t feel much like a birthday – although that is probably more to do with how much less exciting birthdays are as an adult in general. The unfamiliarity of everything meant that I was still in a state of slight surreality, so wrapping my head around the fact that I am just that much closer to 30 wasn’t going to happen.
Coincidentally the only other birthday I’ve had abroad was also in Japan, when I turned 19.
Farewell my youth!
C-san used the birthday thing to endear me more to the school, getting me to play up the cutesy-ness to endear me to teachers (which was really gross and I still haven’t forgiven him), and telling them how “happy” I was to be at that school for my birthday.
I was just relieved no one sang. Alas, the next day we were teaching dates and birthdays and I’m sure you can guess how that turned out (really still haven’t forgiven him).
That evening Mai, Nelson and I set the precedent of many meals to come by checking out an Indian restaurant (that I unfortunately can’t remember the name of, but will update when I can find out). The naans here are out of this world. Who knew?
After two nights in the hostel, I was on the move again. Interac had booked me and another trainee into a hotel for the training period and I’d be damned if I missed out on free accommodation! This did, however, mean another journey with the 10000000000kg suitcase plus extras. Luckily the hotel was only one stop from Nagoya station, in an area called Kanayama – and I didn’t get lost!!! (shocku!)
I got to the hotel, into my room, and promptly proceeded to throw most of the contents of my suitcase everywhere.
The area around Kanayama station – a ‘mall’ called Kanayama Asunal – is super nice, with loads of great places to eat and a few quirky shops that I will eventually go back to for bits and pieces for my flat. I wandered there for dinner the first night and after a kindly staff member took pity on me, managed to place my order. A lot of the Japanese sort of fast-food restaurants have a system where you choose your meal and then order it by paying at a vending machine style thing. Everything is in Japanese, can you imagine!
When you find the right button – or are shown it – you get a ticket and your order goes through to the kitchen. You wait until your number is called, then collect and have at it! It was super hot out, the moving having not helped, so I got zaru soba (cold soba noodles with a dipping sauce) with fried shrimp, and it was exactly what I needed!
Dutiful slurping of noodles complete, my purin-hound nose hunted down the best purin I’ve ever had, at a place called Pastel which is a small chain here. They sell little pots of creamy, caramel-y goodness, and I had one every day I stayed in Kanayama.
It was glorious.