My friend by Rie had invited me to a performance this afternoon, but all I knew about it was that it was somewhere in Central Tokyo and probably involved Taiko (traditional Japanese) drums. When I got to the event, it turned out to be a kind of farmer’s market, and after paying my ¥1000 entrance fee I was shown into a large hall where there appeared to be some sort of variety show going on. The bloke on the piano was very good, but there were no drums in sight, and I was just beginning to question (yet again) my translation of Rie’s explanation when the drumming started, and it was incredible! The five drummers must have been as fit as Olympic athletes, and the noise that they managed to create was astounding. After the show I found out that I’d randomly won a Kobacha (Japanese pumpkin) in a raffle that I didn’t even know I’d entered, what a day this was turning out to be!
Japan is nothing if not inconsistent. So whilst paying this month’s rent involved me having to write out my form three (!) times before it was finally accepted for processing, I was able to buy my plane tickets to Hokkaido (for next month’s homestay) online, in English, and then go and pay for them at the 7/11 convenience store. I managed to get return flights for a surprisingly cheap ¥22,000 (~£175), and the fact that I could do this with absolute minimum human contact, thereby not having to rely upon my increasingly woeful Japanese, was simply the icing on the cherry on the pumpkin.