Today was John's birthday and he had a plan of all the activities he wanted to do today and wanted to keep it a surprise. Our first activity was ice skating in Kanagawa, and the coldness of the ice rink was very well received. Getting skates the right size was a bit of a mission as they only had the sizes in Japanese and US sizes, so we all tried about 5 pairs of skates on before we found ones that fitted. I tried to bottle out of going on the ice because I was worried I might fall over and hurt my back, but I was persuaded to give it a go. It wasn\t long before I fell over though so I decided to quit while I was ahead! Faz and John carried on for a while and I watched.
Afterwards we went into Yokohama to visit Donkyote, a really random department store thats sells everything and anything! It didn't take us long to find the xxx section, which was right in the middle of all the regular dvds, music and computer games (and really not out of sight of children whatsoever)! They really don't treat this stuff differently over here, you can quite happily find porn on the same shelf as the children's comics! When we had finished in Donkyote we still had some time to kill before we were meant to meet up with friends of John for dinner, so we headed off to an amusement arcade called Round 1. We found a machine with some unclaimed tokens so John gambled. and doubled, them. We managed to sit and play in the arcade for about 45 minutes without having to buy a single token before we went to meet John's friends, Tash, Tomo and his wife Junko. Tash works for the same company as John, while Tomo is an English student of theirs and a Shinto Priest.
We went for dinner at an all you can eat restaurant called Yakiniku. They have barbeques set into the table and you order raw meat and vegetables to cook yourself. After that we went to Big Echo in Kanazawa Hakkei for karaoke. It is a really big thing here - you pay to go into a private booth with 'all you can drink' drinks and can completely make a plonker of yourself with just your friends there to laugh at you. The system will then score you against everyone in Japan singing that song at the same time! We came first singing Ruby by the Kaiser Chiefs, but somehow I don't think that was because of our superior singing! Tomo sabg a very popular song in Japan - the train song. It is a song/rap made up of all the things that are said on the train systems (like 'mind the doors and watch the gap'!) and plays the different tunes of the different lines! The only words we could make out were '120 kilometers' but it was so funny! We paid the equivalent of 10 pounds for 4 hours in the booth and all you can drink for the first 90 minutes. It was so much fun I could do it again and again!