Sunday, May 28, 2006

And then we were done...

The musical is at last finished, and I will now longer have to run around all of Hokkaido to sing, dance and take off my clothes. Our final performance was a great success, even if the theatre was about half the size of the other two theatres we performed in and twice as expensive. It went off really well, and once again I had people drive all the way from my town to see the show. Thirteen Rotarians from my town chartered a bus and drove to Obihiro to see me perform in the musical. Obihiro is also home to a really good "park golf" course (somewhere in between real golf and mini-golf lies "park golf", a game incredibly popular with the people of Hokkaido. I still haven't played -- I want to go for my birthday), so they went to play, drink and then watch me perform. Unfortunately, they ended up leaving at intermission so they could get home at a decent hour, but it was really nice to have them come to show their support. And they brought me a huge bouquet of flowers.

It was an interesting weekend.

We were staying at the house of a local CIR (Coordinator for International Relations -- another job designation within the JET programme). Before we got there, we were warned there would be a number of, erm, inconveniences. First of all, she was moving out of the house and a new CIR would be moving on Sunday. Second, we wouldn't be able to throw out any garbage. Third, nobody was allowed to take a shit at the house. Apparently the delicate plumbing system wouldn't be able to handle 40 gaijin in one weekend... There was also no nearby parking, and lots of neighbors with small children, so no running around outside yelling. It was also possible that there might not be enough space for all of us, so would people mind maybe bringing tents and sleeping outside?

The best part of all was the news that the house was also haunted. I'm generally skeptical of these things, but it was still creepy. The house was built not only on Ainu burial grounds, but also on Jomon burial grounds. All of the houses around it were new, and during building they had excavated all sorts of bones and artifacts. Anything under the house were were staying in, however, is still there. And if there is one thing popular culture has taught me, it's never to build your house on an Indian Burial Ground...

Our host's friends told us about all of the creepy things that would happen -- lights being turned on, the tv changing channel and playing with the volume, and even creepier things like knives being thrown at people's feet and empty clothes-drying-bars spontaneously being bent in the middle of the night.

I think the ghosts must have been weirded out by the presence of so many crazy foreigners, an there was no strange activity that I heard about. Nevertheless, it was creepy when there weren't a lot of people around.

Aside from the interesting sleeping arrangements, it was a really great weekend. We (as usual) got lost the night we got into town, but serendipidously found an excellent Thai restaurant for dinner. The day of the musical we had beautiful weather, and I was able to spend some time just vegging out in the sun. The show was great, the after-party was a lot of fun (even if the beer was a little slow in getting from the bar to the tables), and we wrapped the night up with karaoke. Because we hadn't sung enough at the performance.

Today we were up relatively early so we could clean up before the new tennant arrived. We ended up convoying with a bunch of other people to a nearby onsen, so we could take one last communal musical bath. We even convinced one of the group, a girl who has lived in Japan almost three years without getting into an onsen, that this was something she had to try. Sure, she was still intoxicated from the night before, and we had to make her take some more liquid courage before she would get naked with us, but she took the plunge.

Afterwards, we had an excellent lunch together at a little sushi-ya before parting ways. I'll see most of the musical people again at our summer meeting in a month's time, but it was a little sad to say goodbye to the musicallers. It's been a lot of time and a lot of work, but I've really enjoyed being a part of 北海道プレヤズ (Hokkaido Players) this year. I'm sure I'll be back again next year too. Hopefully not as the director.


After driving through the mountains with "Little Jule" (aka my hetero JET-life mate), we popped into one of the local ramen shops in town to set up my birthday enkai. I'm hoping we can have it there -- the master is a really cool guy with excellent English and really great ramen. But the night I want to have my party is the same night as Harada-san's big reception. Harada-san is the olympic ski-jumper who grew up in my town. Unfortunately, the master at the ramen shop will be at the reception, so maybe I will have to have my birthday enkai at home. That's fine. I have a ni-jikai in place already and that's the important part.

The ni-jikai is going to be at my local bar, ロマンス (Romance). Which was our next stop. The ane-san has just gotten married, and was having a party to introduce her friends to her new husband. I was really glad I was able to make it. The people there are incredibly sweet - not to mention a lot of fun.

So now I'm about ready to pass out. There is a big storm going on outside, and I hope a tree doesn't fall on my car. That would be bad. Maybe we brought back some ghosts from Obihiro?

OOoooooOOOooo.... scary stuff kiddies, scary stuff!

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