I was lucky enough to go on the yearly LDW company tour! This was by far my biggest insight into Japanese Culture.
We trained south 2hrs to Atami. After lunch we braved the crap weather to check out the town, and I stepped foot onto a real beach in Japan!
Dinner was in a large Tatami room and soon I noticed Chiyama San was standing at the front, very still, in a pink leotard with a wig and horns. OK.
Then the host of the night walked onto the stage, Sakana San! Aouki San was wearing a big fish suit all night as host, with Red Devil Chiyama San as his minion. I was pissing myself!
Then the food started, meal after meal was brought out, with special vego options for me!
Then It wasn’t long before the company drunk/comedian became obvious (no, not me!)
During dinner, Sakana and Devil explained “Anyoga Jozu”. Basically 2 people guide their blindfolded team leader towards paper on the floor by clapping and chanting “anyoga jozu”. The paper to indicate which prizes the team received. After spilled beer, bumped heads and other hysterics, Sakana revealed the prizes, ranging from Monster Hunter wrist bands (which I got) to mp3 players and electric tooth brushes! And we continued playing ninjas all night =P (think Spaced Ep/Xbox360 commercial )
The dinner officially ended with a standing clap and a full staff photo. Then relaxing in the Rotenburo (outside onsen) at the hotel!
When it all seemed to be dying down I thought surely the night goes on?
And it did
Walking back to our room the comedian grabbed everyone, fitting about 25 people into 1 of the traditional style rooms meant for 4, and I began hitting the Chu-Hi.
The first rule of Chu-hi is: Don’t mix flavours!! But by the end of the night I’d seen lemon, lime, pineapple and more, while my Japanese seemed to IMPROVE with alcohol! I attempted explaining the “heres to Pete he’s true blue” skulling song and then heard the Japanese equivalent (all on tape).
About 3.30am the room was spinning with only half the people left so I went to bed. Less than 5hrs later I “woke up for breakfast”.
But I wasn’t awake, and I couldn’t stomach anything.
After “breakfast” we used the rope way (gondola) to check out a (fake) castle which was closed, and Hajime’s favourite museum.
I felt slightly better until lunch: a Seafood BBQ. Cooking seafood 2 inches from me was too much! I couldn’t eat any of it anyways so I walked around outside to escaped the smell.
Later I finally ate some food before heading on the train back to Tokyo.
It was an great trip and probably the most Japanese thing I’ll do here. Apparently it was a very typical Japanese Company Tour.
But it actually reminded me of Contiki the whole time! Group travel, meals, entertainment, and sore heads at breakfast. Bon-Jor-No! =)
But I need sleep, Velfarre was 4hours away!