This week in Nagasaki, typhoon and monsoon warnings came and went. Although there was terrible flooding taking place in many parts of Japan, Nagasaki was luckily safe from the storm. To get through the anxiety of the flood warnings, my friends and I gathered each day this week to spend time together. During a time that would usually be quite stressful, we were able to find enjoyment and peace in the company of each other.
Monday: Hip hop dance studio
On Monday night, we set out to dance away our anxieties at Ribbon Dance School. This upbeat hip hop dance studio boasts over four locations in Nagasaki city, tons of classes, and even performs internationally in California. My friend and I joined in on the dancing, although we were beginners at best. Still, it was great to meet the friendly owners of the studio and see them teaching the students amazing choreography. Toko-san is one of the owners and is very interested in American culture. We had a great time talking with him, sharing candies, and learning more about the history of the dance studio. This was an excellent way to shake off the stress of the storm, and I can’t wait to go back again next week.
For more information about Ribbon Dance School, please check out their website: https://www.ribbon-danceschool.jp/
Tuesday: Delicious Vietnamese food & karaoke
On Tuesday night, we set out once again – this time on a mission for some delicious Vietnamese food. We ended up going to Kiki-Maimai, a casual but upscale Vietnamese restaurant near the Hamamachi district. Along with great conversation and delicious Banh Mi sandwiches, I enjoyed one of the best Vietnamese drip iced coffees I’ve ever had. It takes a while for the coffee to drip down into the cup, making it ideal for dessert time. One pro-tip: make sure you mix the sugar and cream with the coffee, as it is traditionally placed at the bottom of the cup. I was able to figure this out, but my friends weren’t so lucky.
To find some delicious Vietnamese food in Japan, go to: https://kikimaimai.business.site/
Not ready for the night to end, we decided to keep the party going with karaoke. Right down the street in Hamamachi, we found Karaoke Manekineko – a cat-themed karaoke bar. Along with all the cute cats, this karaoke club boasts an expansive drink bar including soft serve ice cream and giant rooms for singing. There are also plenty of English songs to choose from. We had a great time singing American classics, ranging from Journey to the Backstreet Boys. A few of us tried out our language skills by singing Japanese songs.
For more information on Karaoke Manekineko, check out: http://www.karaokemanekineko.jp/en/
Wednesday: Socializing at eikaiwa club
On Wednesday night, we went out once more to beat the summer rain blues. Our weekly tradition on Wednesdays is to attend eikaiwa – English conversation club! This little group meets in a hospital right near Cocowalk in Nagasaki. Attended by a colorful mix of doctors, language teachers, and foreigners, this little group meets to practice English over chips, wine, and tea. Being a part of this group has been a highlight of my time in Japan, and it’s a great way to get to know locals in the community.
The colorful eikaiwa English conversation club meets at hospital on Wednesday nights at 7pm. Look out for the group on the hospital’s sixth floor.
Address: 6-12 Takaramachi, Nagasaki, Nagasaki Prefecture 850-0045
Thursday: Throwing a takoyaki party
Our week of stormy fun ended on Thursday night, when our group met for drinks and takoyaki. For those who haven’t tried takoyaki, I recommend trying it as soon as you finish reading it. A classic Japanese street food, takoyaki are fried balls of various delicious things on sticks. Ranging from cheese fill to octopus, these delicious snacks are hard to find in America, but they’re everywhere in Japan. This little spot in Nagasaki makes delicious takoyaki – and that’s the opinions of Japan natives!
Our group had a great time in the private room of this small takoyaki bar. When we ran out of conversation, there were plenty of card games, manga, and even video game consoles to keep the conversation going.
To find out the ‘world’s best takoyaki’, click here: https://m.facebook.com/takeyabarlamina/
Between monsoons, typhoons, and high humidity, summer in Japan is notoriously difficult. For this reason, international folks might feel deterred from visiting Japan during the rainy months. I have found it to be a great experience, where I can learn from locals about how best to endure the weather and find joy in being together. Food, karaoke, and dance are just a few of the ways to beat the summer rainy blues. Wherever you are in Japan, I hope you find some of your own ways to come together!