• 19 . 06 . 05
  • The regular Sunday sojourn to Ogiya for beer and yakitori with Nova teachers.

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Beer On Sticks

Sunday is a bit different from the other days of work as the early shifters finish at 5:20 instead of 5:40. And, if we make the 5:25 train, we get home about 35 minutes earlier than usual. Naturally, the only thing to do in this extra time is eat and drink, so every week we head off to Ogiya, a small Yakitori place near Gifu Station for what has become known as Beer on Sticks. Yakitori, if you didn’t know, is all the bits of the chicken you would never normally eat made acceptable because it’s on a skewer. Hearts, necks, gizzards, knuckles and the rest, as well as some pork and bacon stuff are all on the menu. Because we start so early we’re usually done by 9 or 10, which is nice because it means people can go even if they have work the next day.

With the recent start of summer and temperatures in the high twenties and into the thirties, we’re able to sit outside with a few beers, order the food through the window and watch it being cooked for us. Since we started sitting outside, we’ve encountered the phenomenon of ‘Drive-By Englishing’. Ogiya is on a small side street which lots of young Japanese like to cruise in their cars. Perhaps we are an attraction because they often drive round the block repeatedly while we sit there. Last week one group of guys went past in their hydraulic powered bouncing low rider at least 8 times. As they drive past they shout out something in English like “Westside Mofo” or “Keep it real”. It’s like Grand Theft Auto but without the guns. One of them had a laser pointer once, though… The strangest was a white van that curb-crawled towards us with three people in it. As it approached, the driver wound down his window and shouted “HELLO!” then sped off down the road, while his two passengers screamed hysterically with laughter.

We are also usually accosted by at least one random person and engaged in conversation. Tonight it was by an old gay Japanese man so camp he made Quentin Crisp look like John Wayne. No, wait… Anyway, he was particularly taken with Reilly, holding his hand and asking if he was lonely! He got quite upset when we continued to talk in English, complaining that he didn’t understand and that we were being rude. We tried to explain that we couldn’t speak Japanese, but it didn’t seem to matter. After numerous back-rubbings, thigh-slappings and hand-holding we decided it was time to leave. The staff gave us a discount for the sexual harrassment!

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