06.12.2019 - 06.12.2019
Day four already! Starting to get into it now. Checked out of the hostel a bit past 9 (and by checked out, I mean I left the key and just walked out with my things), grabbed breakfast, and headed to the tournament hotel. Check in was easy, and it was nice to see the organizers again. Managed to ask the Germans where they were from twice, after I forgot what they looked like.
Some interesting countries in this year. Croatia, Madagascar, Mongolia and Guatemala are the standouts for me. In the students tournament, the Czech pair from last year are back which is nice, and the man from Canada is back in the main tournament. It always makes me feel uncomfortable how they call Taiwan Chinese Taipei in the program... Guess we've got to keep China happy? My photo in the program is terrible, my nose is huge and I look like a mess/high. Worse things to be? Think we miiight have a shot at best dressed this year? Apparently Fergus bought All Black branded shorts, so we might look vaguely decent. My hopes are low.
Waited for the free lunch at 11:30, then rolled out of the restaurant and headed for the Studio Ghibli museum! Pretty excited. Real talk for a minute though - your phone charging brick is useless if you put the cable in your suitcase. My pocket Japanese dictionary, Holly and Bella, told me what "dozo" means (here you go), and upon presenting my ticket with a casual "dozo", the lady behind the desk assumed I was fluent enough to understand her instructions. Dozo is a dangerous weapon.
The museum was pretty nice. Very nice architecture! The building really adds to it all. We weren't allowed to take photos inside, only outside. Not sure if it was worth all the time and effort? But I'm glad to have gone once. They played a very cute film about a dough man and an egg, and it was very sweet in the classic Ghibli way.
Mitaka, the city it's in, seems reasonably sized, but nothing other than the museum seems really advertised. Still can't get over how cute the kids walking home from school are. I headed back to the hotel to officially check in, unpack, and take a bit of a breather. My next expedition is to an art gallery at 4, so I didn't have much time to relax! Took my time relaxing so was a bit late getting there. The art gallery was... weeeeeeeird. Yayoi Kusama is and was a very troubled woman. Lots of art I couldn't photograph and some I could. Definitely worth it though. On the fifth (and final) floor there was a little reading room, and I found an English autobiography and enjoyed that until it closed.
After I took the train back to the hotel, it was dinner time! The buffet at the hotel was so good. Wouldn't pay $100 for it though! Tried a few new foods (gingered pork, carbonara, and some other beef-based dish) but the lasagna was the real smash hit. I made friends with the bartender, Donald, who was from Nigeria but had worked in this hotel most of his life. He convinced me to try a weird drink called calpis. It was white, pronounced like "cow piss", and was mixed with water, so my hopes we very low. I thought someone had just ordered a milk and water for a minute. It was actually quite good! I had it with soda water, and it tasted just like Sprite. Very sweet! Took a few minutes to call Harry and then it was off to dancing!
Fergus, my pair, wanted to meet in an hour when he got to the hotel but I really wanted to go dancing. I got a little lost trying to find it, and asked at a nearby bar for directions. So weird that they smoke inside. They were really helpful though and showed me to the right building (should have just walked down the street a bit further). It was lovely! Quite expensive for what it was though (¥1500). The teacher was very English, Justin. There were initially two other students but a third arrived later. It was in an old bar which had been converted into a dance studio. Apparently the salsa teachers were working their way through the whiskey supply! The other students were lovely - a German lady called Mike-a, a Japanese lady whose name I forgot, and an Australian man called Murray who arrived right near the end. The expats spoke perfect English and presumably perfect Japanese, while the Japanese lady only spoke a little English. Justin taught me a fairly complicated leading sequence, we had lots of free dance, then I taught them steals (two leads dancing with one follow) and hijacks (where the follow hijacks a move midway through). They were all quite good dancers, although they all danced in Justin's style as everyone in Tokyo was taught by only him. I step twice as much as they did, but I calmed down a little more for leading. I stayed quite late, and got back to the hotel a little after 11. Perhaps a bad omen for the first day of games tomorrow.