Beer Garden and the Okinawan Party

The other Friday, I went out with my work colleagues for a party.

We went to a beer garden in Osaka. I’ve blogged about beer gardens before, but just to recap, they’re not like English beer gardens (where the garden part is kind of important, trees, grass, etc.), here, due to lack of space, they tend to be on the roof of department stores or hotels, so the beer is more important.

Basically, you pay 3000Yen and it’s nomihodai and tabehodai (all you can eat and drink!).

I didn’t know at the time, but it turned out to be my “oiwai” party (wedding celebration party). Which was great 🙂 They made me drink a lot, and gave me a beautifully wrapped envelope with money in for my

Aki and I are going to a newly opened sushi restaurant in Ashiya with the money – they do amazing sushi!

As it’s not really summer here yet, the beer garden shut early (8:30) so we went to a very cool Okinawan restaurant afterwards.
I don’t know how engineered it was, but I ended up right at the front of the small stage they had for live music.

Okinawan Singer

Okinawan Singer

So when this fella came on…(the Japanese Omar Sharif)…

(apologies for the poor quality of the photo, but it was taken with a mobile phone, and I was drunk 🙂 ) he spotted me straightaway and started talking to me (where are you from, etc. ). Then said he was going to sing some songs in English. He sang “I love you, I need you, I want you…” kinda embarassing.

After a few songs, he asked if a “James” was in the audience…I raised my hand, and he told me to stand up.

He told eveyone in the restaurant I was getting married, and they all cheered and said congratulations. Again, pretty embarassing, but really nice. He then tried to play the wedding march on his shamisen!

It didn’t end there. Okinawan music is great for dancing to, and this restaurant gets everyone dancing round the tables. So one of the waiters got some drunk salaryman up and dancing and they shuffled round to me and lifted me off the floor (I wasn’t that drunk! – we were sitting on the floor, this is Japan remember), and we started a conga like dance around the restaurant.
Everyone was so friendly, I got lots of hugs from sweaty salarymen, and high fives and hand shakes from everyone. Great fun!

I’ll try to scan some pictures of the dancing in (I didn’t take any obviously, a friend gave me some).

All in all, a fantastic night, and the food was great too. I recommend Okinawan pork, very soft and juicy.

Taiko Drumming

Taiko Drumming

Okinawan Singers

Okinawan Singers

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