Tuesday, July 29, 2008

More hanabi and dried fish

I just couldn't get enough so I went to watch the Sumida River hanabi on Saturday night. A few women at work invited the Other Foreign Girl and I to enjoy the fire flowers together, because really, oohing and aahing for one full hour is best done group style. There were no VIP seats like Yokohama the weekend before so we sat on the hard concrete with the rest of the plebians. Part of the road along the river is closed off from 6pm so when we arrived our Japanese co-workers were lined up on the sidewalk opened tarps in hand and chomping at the bit for the road to close. As soon as 6 hit and the last car drove by we experienced a mad dash of thousands into the middle of the road where groups threw down their tarps to snag a good spot.

Once we settled, I think the co-workers were a little surprised when I pulled out an ice-cold Asahi from my cute yukata bag and cracked it open. A couple of them apparently drink (and for some reason not that night) but the way they reacted you'd think we weren't sitting in a sea of Japanese people getting drunk as fuck waiting for the show to start. I was doing as the Romans do, but apparently not the nice lady ones. I seriously need to find some cool Japanese female friends but after the last couple years they have come to feel like the holy grail: non-existent and the stuff of legends.

The fire flowers were nice, I thought Yokohama was cooler but there were some cool graffiti-style ones and crazy pyrotechnic shooters that looked like they belonged on the stage at a Rolling Stones concert. After the show and some more unlady-like Super Drys later, we said sayonara to our co-workers and headed out for a drink in one of the more traditional areas of the city before going to dirty-ass Roppongi for a yukata party at Havana Cafe. Topped all that off with some cold zaru-soba at a nearby cheap-and-nasty and I somehow made it home.

The next evening the beau and I went to Anbai (あん梅), a himono restaurant in Juban. Himono refers to dried fish and when the beau took me there for the first time I was seriously worried we were going to be eating those tiny dried fish that salarymen eat with their beer on the train ride home. Luckily I was dead wrong and it is now one of my favourite restaurants in Tokyo. The fish is filleted and put out on the roof to dry for half a day and then marinated, grilled, whatever as usual. I don't know what makes it so tasty but it just is. The dried fish is a small part of the menu and they have a lot of other fish and Japanese food. I'm not so hot at describing this but I did find an article on it featuring the owner whom the beau knows and is a super nice guy. The only thing I would say that differs from the article is that himono at Anbai is not cheap. We ate a lot and had several drinks each but our bill was 13,000 yen and is usually in that ballpark. The best dish in my humble white opinion is the gindara saikyoyaki which is some kind of sablefish that has been marinated in Kyoto-style miso and grilled. It doesn't even seem like fish but some heaven sent delicacy. MM MM.

After Anbai we headed over to Prego for some more drinks and as an added bonus, were shown pics from a recent party with the manager and two other guys standing naked in the bar. I know more guys who get naked when they're drunk here. It's a bit like streaking came to Japan late and is only now catching on. Good times.


Anonymous said...

I feel you on the female Japanese friend thing! It is definitely the stuff of legends. Even when I think I've found one I get invited to go to Disney Sea with them. Crap crap crap!!!

I think for us Foreigners finding a significant other can be relatively easy (more so for the fellas IMO). But finding same-sex friends? Oh boy, that's a toughie. I have only a few close female friends. Overall my relationships with JFs just aren't the same as my relationships with females back home. Of course there are many reason why that is, but really, it comes down to the fact that I don't have a Baby Minnie Mouse day planner and they do.

Green-Eyed Geisha said...

I think for foreign women here they tend to have similar luck to what they would normally have back home. Albeit the pool is somewhat smaller depending on the woman, guys are guys at the end of the day. The hardest thing for me about living here is not having any close female friends. My friendships with Japanese women barely scratch the surface and because of a number of factors I don't meet a lot of other foreign women. If there was one thing I could change that would be it.