A fun thing about Tokyo in summer is that even if you didn't drink the night before, sleeping in an un-air-conditioned room with no fan can sometimes cause you to wake up feeling like you have a hangover. That was the case whenever I stayed at house of TAKMIZ, and that was the case after staying at Akazou's. After waking up drenched in sweat, taking a shower doesn't seem to help because the second you step out of the shower and start drying off, you're covered with sweat again. Or at least, I'm covered with sweat again. Gross. After packing up my things, I headed out for Musashiseki to see the new TAKMIZ house and to hang out with Mizue. She still hadn't fully recovered from the stroke, so I nearly headed out really far from where they actually live until Takkun called me and gave me proper directions. When I saw her in winter, we didn't really have all that much time to talk, so it was fun catching up. Her Japanese is about at the same level as mine, which was kind of funny, but also a little comforting. She showed me her various study materials, and although her reading and writing are probably a little better than mine was when I lived in Otaru and still tried to read and write, she felt the need to apologize for how difficult of a language it can be to learn, since she can now sympathize with every student of Japanese ever. So we hung out and had lunch, played with Tsukuru, and I got to spend some quality time with my old friend, TanTan the cat. GiGi, whom I helped rescue three years earlier when he was an abandoned kitten, didn't seem to remember me, but I guess being an abandoned kitten makes you scared of everything.
Eventually I made my way to Ueno so I could [barely] get on a bus headed towards Shizuoka. I can't go to Japan in summer without going to visit Kengo! This was my 6th summer adventure to Japan, and the 6th time I'd gone to Shizuoka (and the 5th time I forgot how to get to where Kengo lives). Traffic on the highways was super crazy due to whatever holiday was going on, so the bus took an extra hour to get to Shizuoka. Finally I arrived, and Kengo and I went and gorged ourselves on some pretty fantastic yakiniku. The food in Shizuoka never disappoints. It was disappointing, however, that ever since the police started cracking down on drinking and driving, people play it way too safe. So while I enjoyed delicious beer, Kengo had a non-alcoholic beer.
After eating, we met up with Chiaki and headed out to the ocean to play with fireworks. Just like last year, she was the designated driver so that Kengo and I could drink (including inside the car, which happened twice during this trip... another weird Japanese drinking cultural thing to add to my list). Good times. After that, it was back to Kengo's house to drink and/or relax, because Shizuoka is good for those sorts of things.