Nov 15, 2013
Lost in Translation - Japan/South Korea Tour, November 14, 2013
Patrick G. Jordan, viola
My recovery day off was a resounding success – I remained conscious and upright during the daylight hours of Thursday!
After a long, early morning walk, John Abberger (oboe), Brandon Chui (viola), and I headed into Tokyo proper. Our first stop was the neighbourhood of Ebisu, and our goal: lunch at a particular tonkatsu restaurant, famed for its many-layered pork cutlets. Wandering around in Japan until you find a place that looks interesting is one kind of adventure; locating a specific place, the precise location of which you do not know is another kind of adventure altogether. Addresses in Japan are idiosyncratic, to say the least, and usually look something like 4-5-6 Ebisu, in which the first number is the “chome”, or district, within a larger ward or “ku”. The following two numbers are the block followed by the specific number of the place (which in all likelihood was issued in the order in which the buildings on that block were built, so no real order). Confused? So are most Japanese people. That’s why they have kobans, little police substations scattered all around with an officer and LOTS of maps of the area. We found the koban for the area we were looking for, and in my humiliatingly pathetic Japanese, got directions from the officer. I had googled this address before, and had a sense of where it was; his directions, didn’t really line up with my expectations, but he had the maps. We wandered around, finding nothing and ended up back at the same intersection. We went back in (he didn’t seem too happy to see us), and tried again. Eventually, I started looking at the map, and determined that he had misread it. I found what looked more like what I remembered from the Google map, and he finally conceded that we were right, and was very apologetic. Victory! And the pork cutlet was outstanding, unlike anything I’d ever eaten in that category.
The many adventures of Patrick Jordan and John Abberger. Photo by Brandon Chui
We continued our adventure to Ikebukuro, with a stop at Tokyu Hands, a very fun store with floors of creative household and do-it-yourself things. Primarily to avoid rush hour on the subway, Brandon and I had a long walk around Ikebukuro, and found ourselves in the middle of what looked like an Ivy League university (or maybe Oxford). It turned out to be Rikkyo University, a school attached to the Episcopal Church, and another of the curious contradictions that westerners seem to experience in Japan.
We may have triumphed with the officer in the koban, but on the train ride back out to Chofu, Brandon and I made a classic goof. We were lining up on the platform, and there was still some space on one car, so we piled in. Immediately, a conductor came and told us to get off, saying something about “Owehmon only”. I had studied the train line map carefully, and didn’t recognize that station name, but he seemed adamant, so we got off, and lined up with the ladies on the platform. Just as a woman tapped my shoulder, and started to say something to me, I realized we were in the section for women only, a nice feature on the train network, especially later in the evening when lots of men have been drinking. Oops.
Our day off complete, tomorrow we head to our first rehearsal at Mitaka City Arts Center. Onwards!
To find out more about our tour, please click here!
Bobblehead Bach in Jindai Botanical Gardens. Photo by Aisslinn Nosky.