Of course, I was a host at the first two. Guests paid around $100 each (11,000 yen) to attend. 120+ students attended each one. They were every bit as big of events as last year's, which were held at Blue Note Osaka. Somehow I had thought the atmosphere would be more laid-back.
For the kids, it was fantastic. English games they know and love, a clown, balloon animals, a massive dessert buffet, and their favorite teachers juggling and breakdancing. I was placed at a table of infants, and had fun dancing with them and making them laugh (not hard to do). Everyone looked drunkenly content when they were filed out of the restaurant with their arms full of helium balloons, prizes, balloon animals, and presents from the restaurant, only to have us shove presents from the school into their hands.
We weren't allowed to eat or drink at the children's party, so we were really looking forward to the adults party. This time I was seated with 8 people, four of whom are some of my favorite (some former) students. There were more English games, more breakdancing (between that and all the leg warmers and the fake fur, I found it hard to believe we were toasting the year 2003)and a buffet of hamburgers, nachos, onion rings, jumbo shrimp, and other greasy American fare. Hard Rock gifts for everyone (stationary supplies monogrammed "HRCKids") then we were pushing everyone out the door with gift-wrapped cakes.
Now, these were the guests who understood how much money they'd paid, and who had been drinking everything they could to narrow the deficit, so they were less reluctant to leave. So we stood outside the restaurant, chatting it up for an hour or so, before stealing away with some of the students to get wasted on our own time.
Some of the Japanese staff came along, and we met up with other friends, too. Don met us out in Motomachi. By this time, my fellow teachers and I had each consumed at least 4 drinks apiece during the 2-hour party, and our group numbered about 30.
We raped and pillaged a couple of pubs, playing drinking games and driving away the locals. Ended up at a karaoke place called The Licky Tomato, singing the worst songs there ever were, in the worst voices we could muster. Now, "What a wonderful world" is a good song, but imagine the whole drunken room with microphones, putting on their best Louis voices. Words can't express.
The coolest part was spending time with Akiko and Kazuki, a couple who were both my students until 5 months ago (but they weren't in the same class, so I rarely talk to them together). As couples go, they are as different from each other as it gets.
Now, we couldn't talk very well over the sound of 80 Louis Armstrongs, so we wrote notes on little pieces of paper. I was pretty surprised by how well Kazuki can sing -- we sang "Banzai," "Ii onna," and "Ashita Ga Aru Sa" together. Akiko wouldn't sing, but Kazuki says she was his first favorite singer. We've made plans to go to karaoke next month, but I don't want to wait! Machitakunaaaaaaiiii! I don't want to wait!
Other memories: At 10:00 yesterday morning, when I arrived at the Hard Rock, Mick (who was to MC both events) grabbed me around the shoulders and started talking into my forehead, the way he only does after half-a-dozen lagers. I knew that smell wasn't aftershave, by the obvious fact that he hadn't shaved.
And before that, I walked out of my house in my party dress, my party hair, and my party shoes, and fell down the stairs. Thought I'd broken a few toes, lying in front of my neighbor's door going, ooowwww... ooooooowwww... itaaaaaaaaaaaaii... ooooooooooooooowww....
But I'm ok.
I'm off now to photograph my friend's school for a magazine, and to try to figure out which bar I left my cell phone at. Proof of ownership shouldn't be hard; there are photos of myself all over it.