Friday, 3 July 2009

Genghis Kong vs. the British Council

Good Evening!

Right, well, it's now 4am, and I am definitely drunk, so I will keep this short.

I just got back from my drinks reception at the British Council. I may go so far as to say that my little speech went pretty well - I did forget what I was supposed to say, but I covered it well and carried on to -


- wha? huh? what just happened? I think I must have just drifted off there for a moment.

Actually it's been about 5 days since i started writing this post. You can't really blame me for giving up on it at 4am with an extremely high level of drunkenness. I was going to continue with it the following day, but it sort of turned into one of *those* weekends. You know, the type of weekend which seems to be over as soon as it started, leaving you confused, disoriented and with far less money than you started out with.

I'll briefly summarise it for you.

After spending ages scouring Tokyo for a shirt in my size (harder than you might imagine), I donned my suit and made my way to the British Council's office in Tokyo for a University of Sheffield alumni drinks reception, at which I had been asked to speak. It was a little awkward at first - I can do polite conversation pretty well, but starting up a conversation with someone I've never met before doesn't come very easily to me - but my little speech went well. Lots of people came up to me and said how good it was. Apparently speaking is something I'm rather good at. Maybe I should be a motivational speaker.

So everyone thanked me profusely, and I was given a CD of Bach's Brandenburg Concertos as a thank you (which I am sadly unable to listen to, because my computer's CD-Drive is on its way out), and I went to Roppongi with two men that I had met there. These two were Sheffield old boys and now fast friends in Tokyo, but in all honesty they were a pair of nigh-on insufferable arseholes. That said, they both seemed to be pretty successful in terms of making money in Japan, so I thought that it might be worth my while to hang out with them for a bit, pick their brains and maybe make some useful contacts for the future. Also, they kindly offered to bankroll me for a night on the tiles in Shibuya.

So that brings us to the exact moment at which I started writing this post - home from the British Council (and Roppongi), drunk, at four in the morning.

I woke up around noon the next day, feeling dreadful. I sat around in my underwear stinking for a little while, before remembering that my mate Scott had said something about a barbecue on the roof. I dragged my pale and trembling body up the ladder to the roof to find a dozen Japanese kids sitting around having a barbecue in the sun. Fortunately one of the Japanese kids was in fact my friend Scott, so I joined them for some barbecue. And some beer. For breakfast.

See? Here's some concrete evidence that I hang out with Japanese people. Occasionally.

Barbecue proceeded with much merriment and meat for several hours. Eventually someone had the idea of going to the shop to buy vodka, and we all got drunk. A few people left, some new people arrived, and eventually it became nighttime and we were still barbecuing on the roof. Night fell, and the decision was taken to go to Shibuya to rendezvous with the birthday party of our friend Bård. Bård is a Norwegian Judo player who smells incredibly bad and talks a lot of nonsense, but he's pretty funny (as long as he doesn't come so close that you can smell him) and a valuable addition to any drinking event.

After a while wandering around failing to get into nightclubs, we ended up at karaoke. On the way to karaoke, Scott and
Bård bought some novelty man thongs from a strange shop, and decided that we should put them on in secret and then do a karaoke striptease, much to everone's amusement/shock/disgust. For some reason, I felt that this wouldn't be an awful idea and agreed to participate. Fortunately, I have not seen any photos of that particular moment (although I fear they may actually exist), so here's a photo of me and Bård at the Karaoke, still with our clothes on.

Doesn't he just look smelly?

Anyway, we got out from karaoke about 5am, I think. The sun was up, people were on their way to work, the world was going about its business. More importantly the trains had started running again so we could get home. So we decided to go to a club. At 5am.

We spent a few hours in a little downstairs hip-hop club/bar, with me dancing ferociously and everyone else looking on in shock and awe. I've been told that mhy dancing was something rather special, but I don't specifically remember. There is, I believe, a video of it on the Facebooks for those of you interested enough to track it down, but I'm not going to link to it here because I'm a little embarassed.

Aaaaaaanyway, finally got home at 9am Sunday morning. All this had started out as a barbecue around lunchtime on Saturday, remember. Needless to say, Sunday was a non-event. I hardly saw Sunday at all. And that is how I went from Friday evening to Monday morning without getting anything much useful done.

[That's quite enough debauchery - ed.]

Important informations time now. Ladies and Gentlemen, my return to England has been postponed.

*Pause for dramatic effect. Wait for murmur to die down*

Yes, my return has been postponed, but only by three days.

*Pause and wait for sighs of relief to die away*

Due to slight complications regarding my scholarship, it turns out that I have to be in Tokyo on the third of August in order to receive my scholarship money. Curiously enough, I will actually receive the scholarship money on the 31st of July, but they won't give it to me then unless I will be there on the 3rd. You see, I need to sign for scholarship on the 3rd so that I can receive it on the 31st (of the previous month). Before anyone says anything - yes, this country is crazy.

However, this has probably turned out for the better, overall, as not only am I receiving a massive handful of cash (¥80,000! That's loads!), but I am now planning to spend my birthday climbing Mt. Fuji! I know this is quite a departure from my typical birthday celebrations of going to the pub then accidentally going to Moles, but I'm really looking forward to it. Although I am rather nervous - it's a 7-hour ascent, and I'm not the fittest man in the country. Well, I guess I've no choice but to do my best, eh? DYB DYB! DOB DOB! Ging-gang-goo!

(I was never actually in the boyscouts)

So I will now be flying home on the 4th. As mentioned before, this does mean that I won't be in Bath for my birthday, sadly, but I'm sure we can have some manner of belated birthday celebration, so you won't be missing out on anything. My apologies to anyone who had arranged me a surprise party and is now going to have to tell the clown and the conjurer that their services are no longer required.

Also, exciting news just in - there are flowers on one of my little tomato plants! Yay!

My ongoing tomato saga has been fraught with tragedies. My original crop of 6 tomatoes and 6 chilis is now down to 2 healthy tomato plants, 3 rather poorly tomato plants, and 3 very under-the-weather chili plants. Nonetheless, one of the two healthy ones has brouoght forth flowers! This means that at some point it should actually bear fruit! Unfortunately, that might not happen before I leave the country, but I'm still counting it as a win.

Here's the family portrait:

In the middle, two large and (relatively) healthy tomato plants, which will possibly one day manage to bear fruit. One step down, standing vertical, is the healthiest of the surviving chili plants. Believe it or not, this scrawny little thing actually appears to have some flower buds at the top of it, so we may even see some chilis before the summer is over! One step up from the centre, are the three ugly sisters. These three did not react very well to being put outside. They haven't died yet, but they have not grown very much and their leaves are all pale and droopy. I don't hold out much hope for them. Then finally there are the two reclining chili plants. Basically, when I put the chili plants outside, all their leaves fell off, but new ones started growing from the top. This led them to become very top-heavy, and ultimately unable to support their own weight. I had one spare stake, so I staked up the healthiest looking of my chili plants, but these two were not so lucky. Instead, I decided that if they were too top-heavy to stand up straight, I'll just grow them lying down! Seems like a perfect solution, right? So I've pegged them down into a second pot of earth, in the vague and unlikely hope that they will put down root from where the stem touches the soil.

Finally there are the two empty pots. These, along with the pots my chili plants are reclining into, stand as a solemn monument to those brave plants which did not survive this far. Rest in peace, brothers, and god bless.

I also bought a T-Shirt!

Isn't that tasteful? Yay! Hitler!

Much love,
Genghis xXx

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