I often cannot understand how people living here can complain so much about the country on the various gaijin blogs and message boards. Why don’t I complain like that? Why am I immune to the problems that bother many other fellow foreigners here? A lot of it has to do with mindset and language ability I can imagine, but, very important, is having a sense of community in the place you live. And this, I must add, is independent of Japan but a worldwide phenomenon. Community is important. I’ve lived in an apartment building where I never knew my neighbors. It’s not that appealing and somewhat dangerous.
So where do I find that Community? My local bar: The Wexford Tavern or The Wex as it’s known. Ever since moving to Japan I’ve been going there. The first location was a small 10 seat counter on the first floor of the owner’s house. It was there that I first met Yuko who would later become my wife and the mother to our daughter Mia. Just that fact would should put The Wex as my most important place in Japan. When we got married a few years after that first meeting we also had our wedding party at the bar. It seemed appropriate as most of the people we invited were also regulars or at least sometime customers.
|Our Wedding Party|
The community at the Wex has beginning language learners to masters of English, Japanese, and a few more languages. It’s a place where you can try out your foreign language ability--a place many of my college students are looking for, but I’m not at liberty to tell them. You’ll often hear someone yelling across the bar how do you say this or that since at least one person there would know. One of the regulars really began speaking English at the Wex and now he comes in and is blabbering on in English to the point that new customers think he’s Filipino! I’ve learned by watching him that the ample usage of the F word is the key to sounding like a native speaker.
|Back when I had a beard.|
The Wexford Tavern has played an important part of my life here in Japan and Nishinomiya. Without The Wex my neighborhood would be a totally different place. I’d really, actually consider moving to Shimane or Kagoshima rather than just blow hot air about it. If you’re in the neighborhood, by all means come up and have a drink. I’m sure you’ll have a good time.
Open from 6PM, 7 days a week.