火曜日, 4月 26, 2005

Weekend, Golden Week, etc

    Last Saturday, N. and I took a drive in his car, a tiny Honda convertible, with the top open. We went to Rinkuu town, an American shopping plaza near Kansai airport. We did a little shopping and had lunch at a delicious Chinese restaurant there called 紅虎餃子房. After we returned to Osaka, I took the train back to Kobe alone and went straight to Akashi for Homodachi's takoyaki party.
    At the party we made takoyaki and then played "takoyaki roulette," which means that one or more of the takoyaki are filled with wasabi or karashi (hot mustard), and everyone stands in a circle and takes one each by turns, and you have to eat the one that you take. Mine was safe. The people who got the wasabi ones actually seemed to kind of like them, but the karashi was a different matter entirely. The ones who got those won a takoyaki-ki (a takoyaki maker, kind of like a waffle iron). It was a fun party.
    On Sunday, N. and I went to Osaka again. A few weeks ago, I joined a board game community on mixi, which meets at a family restaurant in Osaka about once every two months. It was my first time, so I had never met any of the people before. The group founder's favorite game is Clue, so we played Clue twice and Yatzhee once, both very natsukashii for me since I played those games a lot as a child. Then we played two games that another group member brought. The first was "Tom and Jerry," a Japanese board game by Bandai based on the cartoon of the same name. Each person gets two "Tom" counters and two "Jerry" counters. Jerry moves twice as fast as Tom, and it's a race to get all your pieces to the finish first. It seemed like a simple "sugoroku" or race game at first, but then it got more complicated and fun because of the way you can jump on other people's pieces for extra turns, so there was actually a fair amount of strategy. Then we played another game he brought, Einfach Tierisch, which is called 珍獣動物園 (Zoo of Rare Animals) in Japanese, or High Society in English. It's an auction-type German card game by Reiner Knizia, and it was very enjoyable and simple to play.
    I don't remember rock-paper-scissors being a feature of Clue when I played it as a kid, but here somehow janken has become part of the game dynamic. If two or more players have cards that are part of a player's guess, they raise their hands, and they have to janken to see who has to show their card to the player who guessed it. As for playing Yahtzee in Japanese, 3 of a kind is called スリーダイス (three dice), 4 of a kind is フォーダイス (four dice), and the rest of the rolls are pretty much the same as English.
    It's a good thing I didn't make any plans to travel during Golden Week (next week), because a lot is going on here in Kobe. My school's Bunkasai (Cultural Festival) is on Friday and Saturday. It sucks because N. has Fri and Sat off and I had originally made plans with him before I remembered I had to go to school. But my school's Bunkasai was really good last year, and I can't miss it, so we changed our plans. N's going back to visit his hometown on Monday, but my friend Sophia is coming to visit me on Tuesday. She's staying one night, and then I'm going to a Cinco de Mayo party Thursday. So I don't think I'll be bored at all.
    There was an awful train accident in Amagasaki yesterday morning around 9:20 a.m. They turned the TV on in the teachers' room so we could watch the coverage. We all knew people who COULD have been on that train had it been just a little earlier, since it's not far from here, on the route from here to Kyoto or Osaka. They haven't found the driver yet. It's the worst train accident in a long time, a terrible tragedy.