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The end of an era October 1, 2006

Posted by ayasawada in Personal.

About a month ago EIC moved the Friday Nihongo Salon conversation classes to Wednesdays and Saturdays as part of an organisation overhaul. It’s the end of an era because, for close to two years an hour of Japanese conversation and a few beers at Hugo’s was my regular Friday night.

It’s at salon that most of my EIC friendships were really cemented. Jake, Hae-Jeong, Eric, Andrea, Brian, Zulfi, Fabrizio, Jose, Ashlin, Marianna, Tom, Lloyd – they would have been strangers in the corridoors and classrooms if it weren’t for a regular meet-up and the occasional EIC party. They also proved useful for (secretly) socialising with the sensei against EIC policy – but one of the few ways for the them to make friends in an all too brief stay in the UK. So for the longest time we had a comforting weekly tradition and a place we always knew our friends would be on a Friday night.

Alas, all good things… They started to change a few months ago when Hugo’s (an unremarkable hotel bar close, but far enough away from the prying eyes of the EIC administration) was relocated to the other side of the St Giles hotel and became The Lazy Dog. It’s more of a trendy bar now – the prices have shot up and it’s certainly not the same run-down establishment where we could always get a table (but we still go). In all honesty, our group of friends has shrunk quickly over the last year, as people move on in their lives. And now, in an effort to make EIC more professional (and more profitable), salon has moved and EIC Friday’s are no more. Andrea thinks it may be a ploy to stop the new teachers socialising with us (and coming in to work on Saturday with hangovers). He may be right and it certainly makes sense from a professional point of view. Certainly many of the last few teachers were rather lazy with their conversation and I think some regulars sought more challenging topics. But the change has wiped out our little group, with Wednesdays not a good evening for drinking and Saturday afternoons rather inconvenient for many. Nevertheless, each of us still attend. But participating in a Wednesday salon for the first time, the sense of camaraderie was certainly missing. It will take much more effort to keep this group together, but I’m certain it’s worth doing.



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