For the slow weekend I thought this would be, I am quite exhausted after today! Simon had invited me to join a football game between SBU and NEC (a technology company), and it turned out to be more than a friendly kick - they were actually quite competitive about the whole thing! So I didn't get to play myself, but that was probably a good thing, as it was blazingly hot outside and they were playing at high noon!
So I took on the job as fotographer:
Quite impressive at what velocities Japanese women can run over any kind of substance - e.g. grass - on high heels!
The kids were really cute, standing by the side of the field and screaming "otoosan, ganbatte!!" - Daddy, good luck, you can do it!!
Only downside of the match was that, as we didn't have very many players, almost all of SBU had to play the entire game - and NEC exchanged more than half of their players during half time. The result wasn't all that surprising: 4:1 for NEC...
In the afternoon, I finally got to know Carsten. Axel, our neighbor in Germany, had prepared people in Japan for my imminent arrival on his trip to Osaka a week before I went to Japan - and he had introduced me to Carsten, who is working for Bayer Business Services in Osaka.
So today, we finally managed to meet for the first time - on the phone, he had sounded a lot like Wolfgang from Thailand, which already made him very symphathetic! He had the brilliant idea of driving up Rokko Mountain (a trip that I had wanted to do as well), and although the sight was pretty crappy, it was nice to be outside and to hear - nothing! (ok, I'll have to be realistic here - the noise of the occasional car going by didn't exactly fit perfectly into the mountain atmosphere) Up there, I noticed for the first time, how noisy it is down in the cities! And you could hear real birds up here! (In Japan you get deafened by fake bird noises - in the subway, at intersections (to indicate that the traffic lights are green), in commercials - Japanese seem to love fake birds...
Hankyuu Railway, one of the various train companies that coexist in Japan
And the aforementioned fog...
Carsten has been in Japan for about 9 weeks now and has to endure 3 or 4 more weeks, until his family will finally come to Japan. So, to be prepared for that, he had proposed to try out some restaurants to know where to take his family wehn they finally arrive! You can probably guess that I didn't have to think too hard about whether to take him up on the offer or not ;o)
We went to a wonderful Italien place in an Asian garden (mixed styles of Japanese, Chinese, a bit of Thai), very fancy, with amazing food and a great atmosphere. We could even watch a Japanese wedding take place in the garden, which was interesting all by itself. Carsten is very easy-going which made it absolutely effortless to talk to him! So our conversation jumped from Japan in general to wine to travelling, to family to food, to wanting to work in Barcelona.
I seriously had a great evening with loads of new info that I am sure will help me in the future ;o)