Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Izakaya/Japanese Bar

So my interactions on the Language Exchange site have bore fruit once again and I was finally able to meet up with a woman I'd been looking forward to meet for a while (mainly because she had an awesome self introduction). Wes and I finally met Mami in Yakuin, an area just outside Tenjin which we hadn't explored yet, on February 9th (pretty late cos Mami had to finish work first).

Mami wasn't exactly what I had imagined but was pleasantly surprised by how nice she was and how good her English was even though she'd only been learning for 2 years. We didn't know the area well so left it up to her to take us somewhere for dinner. So after wandering the back streets (and getting a bit lost) we approach a short dark shady looking Japanese style fronted place with barely any signs on it. Mami opens the door and we're hit by a wall of cigarette smoke. The place was an izakaya, a Japanese bar that had low ceilings and could have probably fit no more than 20 people. I was grateful Mami was there cos we definitely would not have found/entered the place on our own.

We sat down at a table in the middle of the room and Mami informed us two of her friends were coming at some point. In the mean time we ordered drinks (umeshuu is the best drink ever) and some food. Izakaya food is a bit like a tapaz bar where you order lots of small plates of stuff and share them between the table members. We got to try oden (boiled veg in broth), peppers stuffed with pork, yakisoba, salads, fried chicken and lots more throughout the night that I can't remember.

After an hour of chatting Mami's friends turn up and we order more drinks and food. Up to this point Mami had been speaking almost completely in English but with the influence of her friends we all end up speaking Japanese the rest of the night. I can't exactly remember what we talked about but I do remember the fact that these 3 ladies were hilarious and wonderful company.

Towards the end of the evening things were winding down in the bar (it was a weekday and the last train time was approaching). A businessman and two office ladies on the table next to us get up to leave, but one stumbles over with a cake in her hand saying how they can't finish it and would we like it? She also takes that opportunity to ask our company about Wes and myself and she is soon joined by her slightly drunk co-workers. Conversation was mainly along the line of where we were from, how good our Japanese was and how cute Wes and I was.

(Wes took a stalker pic of the buissness group on the table next to us)

The atmosphere was good and as it hit 11pm we decided it was time to go home as we all had work/school in the morning. Mami's friend was kind enough to drive us back to our apartment as well so we even managed to get to bed just before midnight!

We actually met up with Mami and one of her friends from the bar Saeko this week (Sunday 17th March) to sing a stupid amount of anime songs and hang out in a cafe. I'm really, really, really enjoying their company and will hopefully have more adventures with them soon (including Hanami and a sake tasting event).

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