The home stretch, part two.

Thursday is the last day of the week at Yamasa, meaning we were losing some SILAC people (as we do every week); in this case, we were losing four people, including Christian, with whom I’d become good friends. I actually got two shout-outs, so to speak: Suga-sensei mentioned how Christian seemed serious, but made jokes with me in class, and then Christian mentioned Arnaud and me in his farewell speech (referring to us both with the honorific “-kun”). We did the usual round of photos, and adjourned. The plan was to meet up near the Daiso at 4:45 to go to karaoke at 5:00. We invited Cris, the Mexican girl who’d come the previous week, and a Taiwanese guy who’d been going to school in New Zealand, Larry.

Back at the dorm, I ran into Origa and Fanny again in the hallway. They were looking to get prepaid phone contracts, which I told them was unlikely due to their short stays, but they wanted to go and see, anyway (especially since Fanny had previously had a prepaid with Softbank). I invited them to karaoke, and they readily agreed. We picked up a couple Middle Eastern guys from Ohio (it’s a long story) and headed to WinG toWn. In short, Softbank was a no-go, so the girls went to Valor to shop and I took the guys down to Sugakiya to get dinner. They don’t really speak Japanese, and can’t eat any meat aside from seafood while in Japan (again, long story), so I made sure they got some ramen without meat.

Karaoke with a huge group was more fun than I’d imagined.

The girls rejoined me as I bought a skewer of tsukune kushi, and we headed back to the dorm and then down to meet Christian and Arnaud. The karaoke place was called Cote d’Azur, which Christian and Arnaud had already gone to (while I was in Osaka, I think), and even the kushi guy had said it was the best place to go. With that, the seven of us got a room, filled up via the (soft) drink bar, and started picking songs.


We traded off singing for a good two and a half hours, And in addition to Arnaud making Christian sing “99 Luftballons,” our playlist included Elvis, Ricky Martin, K-pop, Stone Temple Pilots, 80s ballads, and even a German song about Moscow (which was Christian’s best performance, in my opinion). I wrapped us up with Paul McCartney’s “No More Lonely Nights,” and our time was up. Split seven ways, it was remarkably inexpensive. We were hungry then, so off we went to the ramen place Christian and Arnaud had wanted to go to the night before. They’d reopened, thankfully, and we all ordered different things and enjoyed a late-night dinner. I bid Christian farewell, told him we’d meet again in Japan, and came back to the dorm for a much-needed shower and some sleep.

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