The home stretch, part one.

As my time at Yamasa comes to a close, we get an influx of new people who are really easy to make friends with.

This last week, a handful of new students arrived (as they do every week), including a Russian girl named Origa and a French girl named Fanny. I met them briefly in the larger common room shortly after they arrived, and didn’t really see them for a couple days after that. I also spent a few hours chatting in my room one afternoon with one of the guys I’d walked to McDonald’s with several days before, an accelerated-class guy named Sean who’s not in the dorms, but staying with a family. As it turns out, he’s a block or less away from the bridge to Takeshima; he said if he’d known we were going, he’d have come with us. We got some First Kitchen later, after sharing gripes about American drivers vs. Japanese drivers.

Christian and Arnaud, two of the best friends a guy could hope to make here.

Wednesday night after class, I found e-mail from Arnaud suggesting to Christian and me that we go get dinner out. Arnaud had been wanting to try a ramen place nearby called 丸源、but as part of a bad coincidence, it was unexpectedly closed that day. Instead, we went to a place down near the school called 新時代、which served yakiniku and kushi. The place didn’t open until 5:00, after which it always seemed to be packed, which it was when we arrived. We waited for a table, since sitting on the floor doesn’t agree with me, and ended up ordering a variety of things a-la-carte, including bacon-wrapped mochi, sauce-sprinkled cabbage (which was surprisingly delicious), and a big plate of 空揚げ chicken. We joked like mad, snapped a few photos, and split up, but not before reinforcing plans to do karaoke the next evening.

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