The recent tangents
Date: May 8th, 2008 8:17:58 pm - Subscribe
Mood: flu like

I cant actually coherently remember what I was intending to write about when I sat down, and seeing as how Ive already lost interest in talking about my Tohoku trip, I think Ill dedicate this update to the recent nightlife activities that occurred in the past couple weeks.

First off, its starting to heat up now which in a tropical climate means two things; humidity and steamed heat. Why did I let my hair grow out again? Oh yeah, because hair cuts here cost from anywhere between $30 to $100. Usually about $70 though. Its ridiculous. And hair salons, like Starbucks, are on every corner; much like their dentists offices, though Japanese teeth remain disfigured for the most part. I think it’s some sort of ‘far east’ mystery like the pachyderm militia or mystic sex positions.

Also occurring right now: A level 5 earthquake which was pretty fascinating for someone who never encounters such a thing. And, the arrival of the president of China in Japan, in Tokyo, in Waseda. I really shouldn’t have been surprised since Waseda is one of the most prestigious universities in Japan, but it was still really cool to see the guards and crowds around the building with the auditorium he was speaking at. It was interesting to walk among the Tibet protestors and the nervous police guarding the line yesterday.
China also just gave us two new pandas because the one in the Ueno Zoo, the one that Ueno is FAMOUS for died recently; the day before my class went to visit it coincidentally. I finally make it to an Asian locale and am denied access to pandas, wtf.

The party I went to a couple weeks ago actually started on my way to campus on a rainy Friday evening. I bumped into my buddies Clay and Ian on their way to a gig in some bar in Shibuya. By the guitar strapped to the already buzzed Ian, I correctly assumed that he was the one playing even though he answered a different name for the bar each time I asked. They invited me to come along and seeing as how I had a few hours before my other friend’s birthday party, I agreed.
I may have already mentioned this, but Ill say it again: Tokyo is a honeycomb. Every building tall or short has an indeterminable number of shops, bars, hair salons, offices, or apartments glued together like those Popsicle stick bombs from your childhood. This bar, the name of which still escapes me, was squeezed within in one such amalgamation. There was Kurt Kobain paraphernalia on the walls, similar music playing, and an owner/bartender with long hair, dressed as a Eugene hippy, and relatively good at English. Ian’s performance was actually quite good, and since it was in all English and the audience was mostly Japanese, his self recriminations over forgetting some of the lyrics were unnecessary. He’s a fun guy though. He’s from Ireland and every time we get together to drink we end up discussing some avenue of linguistics. This time it was an anthropologically bent argument over the efficacy of Japanese Kanji as a writing system. We settled it by sharing a pint of Asahi.

Roger’s big 21 birthday party occurred at a well known Izakaya (Japanese style bar) near campus and quickly descended the path of most birthdays experienced by international students here; everyone drank far too much, everyone made Roger drink far too much, and everyone made friends with each random Japanese person they bumped into, all of which were delighted to participate. It was great fun and I was able to meet some new people as well as solidify friendships with a few others. Roger was of course hilariously drunk by the time we left and kept handing his empty beer bottles to groups of young Japanese college youths who were waiting, like us, outside the building with the Izakaya. They found Roger’s upbeat alcoholism charming I think.

All 15 or so of us decided to go back to Mikie’s apartment to hang out and drink some more, so we all fell/descended the stairs of the nearest subway. While waiting on our chosen platform Roger loudly informed us of his current bowel movement and turned to look for a bathroom. However, he happened to turn directly into three Japanese guys who surprisingly answered in English his polite inquiry of “I need to piss! Where’s the bathroom?!” Us Americans really know how to lay on the charm. Because the three satellites to our boozy universe had proved so useful we decided to hijack them. Using clever logic we convinced them to come to Mikie’s with us. Apparently the secret to getting past the shyness inherent in Japanese males is to simply ignore it completely. We found that stating over and over “come with us” and “you’re coming with us” and then ignoring any protests worked wonders. And, it may sound shocking but they were all to happy once the initial song and dance ended.

After we made big, loud gaigin messes of ourselves in various trains we arrived at Mikie’s where I got to know one of the new additions a bit better and where we were eventually all of us thrown out due to Mikie’s paranoia over being too loud. So while some decided to take taxis home, Ryou and I thought we would walk to Ueno or something to take the first train home. The results of which were I didn’t get home til about 6 in the morning, I didn’t sleep all night, and Ryou turns out to be the president of the club on campus that I decided to join this term. Additionally, one of the other of the threesome was Vice President or something. Meeting up with them again was hilarious, and Im still getting over the shock. Small world I guess.

Wow talking about this one night took longer than I thought it would. Guess Ill leave the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s night till next time. As a parting comment, I would like to state that I have now been in Japan for about 8 months, and it feels like I just got here. Where the hell did all the time go? It feels like we’re all in a dream over here and for seniors like me the inevitable return to reality is rather intimidating. Although, job interviews are going to be so much easier from now on. I have to do uncomfortable things every day from morning till night. When simply chatting with your host family requires extra thought and usually ends with you feeling like special ed, giving a speech in a language you instinctively understand is a piece of cake.

Until next time!

Ja ne!

Comments: (1)

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anonymous - May 13th, 2008
I really like the last insight you shared with us. I could not agree more, and its exciting to know that you are learning more than you expected (Japanese) from this experience.

Good luck with the rest of your studies, and I hope you enjoy your last few months in the greatest country on Earth!



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