Sunday is mostly a day of relaxation in Nara. We take a leisurely wander around the vicinity of Toudaiji and do Toudaiji type things, like squeezing through the pillar that's the same size as Buddha's nostril. Deranged Dave badly wants to climb the statue and clamber inside his actual nostril, and is convinced that he'll arrive in Nirvana if they'll only let him try. 8Nii lends me his girlfriend for the day, and we take some pretty great pictures together. She was born in Shizuoka so she's not as loud as Kansaijin and doesn't tsukkomu me no matter how obvious an opening I leave, but she's really nice. Doesn't talk much, but listens like a motherfucker.
Chappy proves surprisingly well-versed in Nara history and Toudaiji in particular, and I am employed largely in tour-guide style translations, which is definitely a first for me. When not interpreting, I spend most of the day chatting with Chappy. She's great. Although, when we see a steering wheel sticking out of the water and I want to pretend to drive the lake, she won't let me, because a nearby sign warns that a pervert has been sighted in the area.
Unfortunately, I realise that I have a class early the next day that I absolutely cannot miss, because while most of my teachers will let it slide once in a while, this guy simply does not accept absenteeism. Chappy and I devise a plan in which I stay the night at Plumfield's, help the Americans get set up with a hotel for their last night, and leave early in the morn'. I wake up at six and leave as discreetly as possible, though a few people stir in the living room. The journey, from Himeji all the way to my university in Kyouto, is relatively arduous considering the main activity therein is sitting in a chair, but you see, the sleep deprivation and the travel fatigue weigh heavy on my shoulders, and heavier on my eyelids. With my class complete and my sexual harassment meeting behind me, I rush back down to Oosaka.
Chappy badly, badly wants to take Bank shopping in Nanba. Bank isn't super into it, but she's not against it either, and it's certainly more interesting than sitting at the arcade watching the boys play DDR for hours upon hours. Chappy wants to bring some of the other girls, too – specifically, she recruits Plumfield's girlfriend and another guy's girlfriend, her own age. But wait! She wants there to be an interpreter on hand – in fact she specifically requests me. Trying on clothes is one thing, she says, but then there are the more detailed and specific aspects of shopping, like explaining why something is or isn't good, and what kind of thing might be closer. And, she points out, I'll get to spend the day with four girls, so there's that.
We move from store to store, fortunate to have this other girl with us because she goes to school in the area and knows it well. Bank, sadly, doesn't find a lot; she has trouble finding her size, and more than that, the current fashion in Japan is pretty baggy, which with her body type just has the effect of making her look fat rather than cute. It's not a total loss, though, and she manages to find a pin for her hair, a shirt-tank top combo, and some stretchy pants. She fails to find anything Engrishy that suits her style, though. Throughout it all, the other three girls – mainly Chappy – troop through with constant suggestions, comments, and questions, all in the name of ensuring Bank has at least one enjoyable shopping experience in Japan before she leaves.
I find out very quickly that my vocabulary has a few gaps when it comes to shopping for women's clothing, since for some reason I've never gotten around to doing that in Japan, but it was mostly stuff like talking about colours, patterns, and fit, so that was well within the bounds of my everyday abilities. I know fuck all about most of what they're saying so mostly I just pass their words straight across the board, but do interject my own reactions from time to time. Over the course of the weekend I've been pleased to find that I've actually reached another level in interpretation – I can now often translate somebody's words into one language while simultaneously listening to them, rather than needing them to pause so I can do it paragraph by paragraph. Damn does that feel cool. That's a great milestone right there.
If you think it must have been boring for me to follow four girls around while they shopped, you severely underestimate how badly I require female attention.
After this, there's not a lot of time left. After a brief visit to the Pokemon Centre, where I buy a ton more stupid shit that I don't need, we go back to the Umeda Round 1, where the guys have spent most of their day, and I unsuccessfully attempt to steal 8nee permanently. Next time! No, I'm totally kidding. I stole a girl once before, but even if I could steal 8nee I wouldn't do it. The two of them are too adorable together.
We don't have time for a proper meal, so we gather at a crepe stand, which is sold out of everything I actually want, but blueberries are ok, I guess, even if maccha and cheesecake would have been better. Not together. I wanted one maccha thing and one cheesecake thing. Not together. That wouldn't be very tasty. Actually, maybe it would be.
The Nagoya group has already gone, but I'm sure I'll see them again, someday, since I have friends over there anyway. 8Nee, 8nii, and Bolognese all live in Oosaka, so really I can go see them anytime I want. Plumfield is a little farther a...field, but he's collected the best photos from the conference and is putting together albums for some of the people involved, and he's promised to hand over mine “the next time we meet,” so that'll happen.
It's Deranged Dave and Bank that I'm sad to see go, since I may never see them again. Maybe if they come back in a few years, or if somebody wants to pay my ticket to America for when the Kansai players go to see their home. That would be cool. But having spent a very short time rarely more than 20 metres away from either one of them, I feel like we've become friends, after a fashion. We walk to Oosaka Eki and the group slowly drops members until only Bolognese, Plumfield, and their respective girlfriends are sitting on the train with them while 8nee and I wave goodbye. Then they're gone.
What a great weekend.