Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Day 03 – Most interesting person you met.

Enjoying her first American-style party at my house.
It took me awhile to decide on who I wanted to feature as my "most interesting person" because I think that the lines between "most interesting" and "weirdest" have started to blur a little after being here this long. If this was a "who's the weirdest person I met" post, I could have easily come up with more than five answers. However! Since this is interesting I'm going to go with my dear friend Yukiko!

I met Yukiko in April of this year at the city office's huge "kangeikai" or welcome party. Nearly 100 of us stuffed into one of the dozens of banquet halls of the Tamai Hotel (the tallest, most penis-shaped building in Aki) to say "Howdy" to the new city office workers, and "Adios" to the ones who had served their time. The whole ritual of switching out public service workers come April 1st is an interesting and confusing ceremony that I'd like to elaborate on, but will do so in a future post.

Yukiko just happened to sit next to me at party. Just a few days earlier she had done her self introduction to our office and came to occupy the desk diagonal to mine in the island-formation I occupy in the BOE office (we have three "islands" of desks). She looked young, seemed relatively nice, and was surprisingly chatty for a new-comer to our office. I wasn't skeptical of her sincerity, but ever since a few unfortunate incidents have happened with information privacy in my office, I tend to keep to myself and wait for after-office times to get to know someone better. We finally got a chance to talk during this party and ever since she has held a place as one of my best friends.

Yukiko, master takoyaki maker
While Yukiko is 30 and coming to the time where most Japanese girls think they all need to "settle down," she was surprisingly relaxed about the whole thing and not ashamed to be single. I've met so many girls out here in the countryside that think they are doomed to be alone their whole lives at the mere age of 23! Along with that, she had majored in English in college, is one of the few adults I've met in Kochi that has gone to college out of the prefecture (in Kyoto), is widely traveled and has an extremely open mind when it comes to people, the world, and how we all fit in it together. When we hang out, together or with other people, we never run out of things to talk about. She loves hearing other people's opinions, has strong opinions of her own, and loves learning new concepts and English words (although she doesn't speak English very well, her writing capabilities are awesome so I love teaching her words like "hipster" "fratboy" and "silver fox"). She's also the most amazing "translator" for some of my heavily-tosaben-accented friends (she'll take something Nat-chan says and turn it into standardized Japanese hehe) and is just a blast to be around! I'm so glad I met her and although she is also only a one-year-contracted worker, I hope we can continue to hang out past this coming April~
We were Yosakoi "partners" this year, which meant that when we all paraded around, we stood next to each other in rows.

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