In which everything was concluded to the satisfaction of everybody

I refer, of course, to a week of farewell parties – soubetsukai (送別会). It is rather late in the year for a shinnenkai, and much too early for a bonnenkai, but it was a fine time for soubetsukai in Ishigaki, Fukuoka, and Tokyo.


It was a splendid evening in Sakieda for the first soubetsukai. As the sun set over fields of sugar cane, and as typhoon #7 approached from the East, we had chicken feet and gyoza, curry and breads, ginger awamori liqueur, and shima zake. 

Then it was off to Fukuoka, just beating the typhoon, where we made extensive use of the grill while watching baseball and the sunset over Fukuoka Dome and Hakata Bay. 

There wasn’t just one soubetsukai at Fukuoka. Rather, it was three nights of soubetsukai. There was beer, with and without alcohol. There was chu-hi, with and without alcohol. There were yakitori, hamburgers, guacamole, Ishigaki steak, and lots of baseball.

We concluded with a visit to a children’s festival. I scrambled up the slope of this little mountain innumerable times, then ran down again.

From Fukuoka I went to Tokyo, where, from a quick review of the photographs, it seems there was rather a lot of ice cream.

First there was soft cream from Hokkaido – milk flavor. Then, interspersed between award-winning ramen, vegetable shabu-shabu, a memorable tonkatsu, tapas, and sangria, I somehow managed to find time for a Yubari melon soft cream (extraordinary!) and a coconut special + mint marshmallow creation (also, extraordinary!).

And then it was off to the airport again. Although I haven’t been flying much, I’ve still managed to fly on an astonishing assortment of Boeing aircraft. In the past month I’ve flown on a 737, 747, 767, 777, and 787.


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