The company I work for isn’t just an 英会話. It also owns a few 塾 (cram schools), as well as a handful of restaurants. Of those restaurants, two are in Kyoto, four in Aichi (two in Nagoya, two outside of it), and one in Tokyo (over an hour from where I live).
Every year on their birthdays, employees receive 1万円 (ten thousand yen) of company vouchers. These can be used for three things: (1) lessons and books, (2) dining at company-owned restaurants, and (3) if one sends back the entire stack of vouchers, the company will send out some frozen sukiyaki beef and sauce.
It was the third option I chose with my 2014 birthday vouchers, which were due to expire at the end of March. I wasn’t up for taking lessons yet, and the nearest company restaurant was too far away, so the beef seemed like the right choice. It only took about a week or so to arrive.
The plan was to share it with Nic, my Northern Irish friend I always hung out with for New Year’s. He had decided to leave Japan, and I figured he could tell me the story over beef.
Nic had moved since January, from the share house (slated for demolition) to a tiny apartment like mine. He and his recent ex, Wakana, met me at the station and walked me to his place. According to Wakana, the beef was Grade A3 黒毛和牛 (a high-grade Japanese beef), which she seemed impressed about. We didn’t have ingredients for proper sukiyaki, so Wakana cooked the beef and sauce with some onions and mushrooms, while Nic provided brown rice and an avocado/tomato/onion mix he called a salad.
The meat was tasty and the company was pleasant, with one of Nic’s friends stopping by later. I’ll be sad to see the guy go, but he told me he’d been wanting to move back for a year.
Meanwhile, I still have my vouchers for 2015. What to do, what to do…