As mentioned in the camping update, Japanese friend and fraternal brother Kei was in town and staying with me for the better part of a week. I snuck out of the office a couple minutes early on Friday to go collect him from the airport, and then we got settled into a fine Palatine evening. Throughout most of his stay we spent our evenings at home; I was still obliged to work while he spent the days either tidying up the house or else out exploring Chicago. Of course we had our little camping trip as the highlight, but we did find a couple other opportunities to have some fun, mostly pertaining to food. This was his first American meal in a while, so I made it count.
There were a few guys unable to take part in our camping excursion but nevertheless wanted to connect with Kei for the first time in nearly four years. For this we planned a dinner outing that took us to On The Border for some Mexican eats. While the quality is only barely above that of Taco Bell, it is certainly more authentic than what’s available in Japan. We were happy with the endless taco option, and their bottomless chips and fantastic salsa assured us that we left satisfied, or at least full. They really need to include photography training for all servers, so otherwise happy customers don’t get stuck with blurry duckfaces and peace signs..
One other meal that Kei and I did was at home and involved going to the store to buy whatever fit the mood. What we settled on were massive burgers with all the fixings. It took an unhinged jaw to eat, or knife and fork in the case of Kei, but was absolutely fantastic. We had a third one that we had to offer to a happy roommate, as there was just no more room to pack another down either of our gullets. I opted for tsukimi burgers, in honor of Kei.
The six days that he spent over at mine passed quickly. Of course it was great to spend some time with a friend I don’t see all that often, but his presence was the impetus for some good times with friends that I wouldn’t likely have enjoyed otherwise. My midweeks can be a bit tame and anything that makes them even somewhat memorable is much appreciated. I’m sure some of these same faces will pile into a car and visit him a few months on down the road.