Tuesday, March 21, 2006

The true story of how I came to be in Japan, or 'LOOK OUT YOU SLANT-EYED BASTARDS!! THE NEGROS IS COMIN!'

Ahh, don't you just love political correctness?

So, I guess, like any other story, I should start at the beginning.  Without further ado...

Is that everything?  Did I forget anything?  Umbrella?  Nah, I don't need that!
The fateful words issued from my mouth at about 5:15am the morning I leave.  After some frantic searching for raquita's credit card (in case they asked me to show the card I purchased the tickets with) we were off.  We stood in line at the airport for about 30 minutes before a lady pulled us out of the line (so my plane to Houston would not leave without me)  As I waited in line for the metal detector (which I set off because I forgot to take the damn change out of my pocket and got to be felt up by some guy named bob...he was gentle) we made our passionate kiss goodbye and I was off to find my plane.  I later found out my wife went to the car and cried.  I thought she would have had a bottle of the bubbly on ice waiting for her in the back seat, to celebrate but...Even as I walked away, I'll admit, I was a little misty eyed.  I just didn't want to show it so that she wouldn't get misty eyed either.  If she had started crying it would have been impossible for me to leave her.  That's not just my wife, there buddy, that's my GIRL.  yeah its like THAT.

Two planes, 17 hours, same tiny ass seat
Okay so I need to loose some weight.  Seriously.  I know this.  But riding on airplanes, in those smallish seats really sort of jams that right into the gut, so to speak.  I mean, I'm a man of large appetites and healthy posterior.  These seats were not made for me.  The flight to Houston was okay.  I had a window seat and sat next to some wife and her husband who went out of her way to Not touch me in any fashion, how sweet of her.  Behind me was one of the dogs that we saw in the airport, just sitting on his owners lap, as quiet as can be, just chilling.


The flight to Tokyo?  That was a different sort of plane.  I was in the second to last row, by the galley and the bathroom, in similar cramped seats.  I would have laid down but the arm rests don't actually retract all the way back so they jab me in my side,s in my back.  I made due, watching Nation Treasure several times, writing in my journal that I also need to update, and listening to classical music while I took catnaps and dined on the fine American Airlines Gourmet Fair.  The food was actually not that bad.  I'm glad I had my headphones though cause the plane was loud as FUCK.  With the head phones it sounded like a gentle roar, never ending.  Without, it literally was loud enough to set my teeth on edge.

So I land in Japan, go through immigration easily (they asked me for Adams address and phone number, neither or which I could provide, and the guy still let me through with a 'Next time you must have that information.'  I'm like, holy shit, I could be a fucking psycho killer or something...they didn't even really check my shit!  And then customs.  Remember Jamaican customs, Raquita, where we had to wait for like 4 hours just to get up there, the customs officials pretty much lolly gagging the whole time?.  This was the exact opposite.  I came through to the gate where there was no line, showed my passport, the guy asked me if this was all my luggage to which I said yes, then he just waved me through.  He didn't even bother to OPEN my bags to take a look!!  Talk about Homeland security.  So, I walked into the Narita airport, looked around and tried to find, as Chris and Becca told me, the Ohmiya bus station thingy so I could activate my JR pass and get on my way to meet Adam.  They told me that I had to go downstairs to activate the pass.  So I gathered my 125lbs of luggage (that's literally what I was fucking carrying.  So painful...so heavy!) and headed further into the bowels of the airport, Japanese people swirling around me with curious non-looks that were almost as obvious as stares.  I'm a big black dude with two huge black bags.  I take up a LOT of space.  I knocked into a few people when I stopped to readjust and they didn't expect it, but...well...as Adam is often wont to say about the delicacies of the random Japanese person walking by, 'Fuck em!'

After a few confusing trips to the JR Pass people (If I activate now, it ends on the 26th but if I activate tomorrow neither of my trips to or from the airport will be covered!) I was finally on the platform waiting for my train to Tokyo.  Oh, a Note to Chris and Becca;  Because I had the JR Pass, instead of taking that two hour bus to Omiya, which was not covered.  I got to take a train into Tokyo Central Station and then take another train to Omiya.  The whole trip took 45 minutes and was pretty easy cause the girl told me exactly what train to take and where to take it.  And it didn't cost me a dime.  NEENER-Neener-NEENER!! =0)  But that also leads me to the next subtropic;

No no, I have a JR Pass Gents!  Drinks and Massage on the house!!! (HOORAY!!!)
So lets talk about the wonder that is the JR pass, which I purchased before I left the states, had sent to me and had activated the day I touched down.  The minute I touched down, actually.  In Japan, the rail system is quite elaborate and goes everywhere.  But unlike in the States, you cant buy a weekly or monthly pass, like they do in NYC or Chitown or STL.  You don't buy one ticket and then ride-sally ride.  You pay to get INTO the station, get on the train, and then PAY to get out. they charge you by the distance you travel, and that is determined by where you put in your ticket and where you pull it out at.  So some trips are a 160 yen (for ease of conversion, 100 yen = 1 dollar)  while some lengthy ones may be 1000 yen or more, depending on where you go.  That's just one way.  And if you fuck up and go into the wrong place at the station or the wrong station, you gotta pay to get out and then go into the different station.  After while, that shit can add up.  Well, with my handy dandy JR Pass, I just walk up to the booth guy that overlooks all the turn style terminals, flash the JR Pass and he waves me through with a hearty smile.  No fuss, no muss and no money exchanged.  I did a few experiments my first full day here, which was yesterday for me, where I started out, opening the pass and showing it to them but ended up not even opening the pass at all.  The people, so busy looking for fare jumpers and what not (and some of these stations are crazy packed) don't even glance at the pass.  Once they so those wonderful JR PASS letters, they just let me on through.  Except Adams home station, which he asked me to open up to show him the huge date printed on the inside of the pass.  My pass ends on the 26th but if I'm careful and go through major places, I might be able to extend it a bit.  We shall see.  For now, I'm going to be planning some day trips while Adam is at work tomorrow and the day after that will take me far from his house and would normally be prohibitively expensive for those without.  But I am with, and Imma pimp that shit for all its worth.  Now, back to the story at hand.

Staring at J-girls, waiting for Adam, jesus my ass hurts...
So I'm sitting in Omiya station, waiting for Adam in the Starbucks above the DNA statue (I don't have a picture of it because I hadn't taken the camera out of the bag but Chris and Becca do) and I'm surrounded by giggling Japanese girls who refuse to look at me or acknowledge my presence.  I'm on a sort of balcony overlooking this huge plaza where hundreds of Japanese people pass through, going to different trains, or going shopping as the train station doubles as the mall.  For girls, the fashion rules seem fairly strict, with not as much variation as you might see in the states.  Pretty much every girl or woman I saw (and it is very hard to judge ages here) wore short black skirts, cowboy boots and short jackets.  Kinda cute but they aint got NO ASS, and they got skinny legs.  Super skinny legs.  Which makes the lack of ass even more pronounced.  So Im sitting on this stool and various girls wind up sitting next to me for various lengths of time, checking their phone for messages, reading books, and what not.  Not a single one said hi, or hello, or anything, and none of them would so much as look at me, including the girl I damn near turned to openly stare at to see if she would break or freak.  Did I try to start a conversation?  Nah....I was in observation mode and I was too tired.  That plane ride isnt too bad but it is wearying...especially lugging 125 lbs of Luggage!  Finally, four hours later, I see Adam and his roommate Josh show up.  THANK GOD.  So we say our hellos, he hoists one of my massive bags and we're off.

Adams Bachelor pad, Embocca, Shinji and Jun and a Birthday Cake.
So we get to Adams place, drop of my bags, and after meeting his other roommate Dan (who seems nice but way way too uptight...not as intense as Super Joe, but who is?) an d head straight to Embocca to meet Shinji and Jun and have some drinks.  And drinks we did have.  I didn't take many pictures there, just a few, but we were there for awhile, drinking and talking it up.  I had Shinji's Taste Challenge, which consisted of me eating Squid in INK sauce.  Yes, INK Sauce.  It wasn't as bad as all that, but its not something I would go out of my way to have.  Then we got to the drinking.  I hade some champagne, because the table next to us were celebrating a birthday.  They brought out a tiny guitar, maybe a mandolin or ukele, and a were singing and halving fun...they also had a tiny cake which they shared a small slice with us, and I taught one of the girls how to give dap...which I should have gotten a picture of but I didn't...I also had some Sake, a big glass of Shoju which is like vodka, some beer, and a nice fat tequila shot.  Now, they think Adam is big, because in this country, almost NOBODY is overweight.  But they saw me and they were like HOLY SHIT HES SO BIG!  And you know when I drink, I get a little rowdy and friendly so I was laughing and shaking the stomach, saying it was the fuel tank for the sex machine, which got laughs and cheers and what not.  So when I asked for a tequila shot, which Adam boldly took with me, Shinji didn't just pour us a regular shot, he poured us a mega shot which we both decided (Or rather, I decided, Adam agreed to it) to hit it in one swallow.  Lets call it a triple shot.  Now, Japanese people love to drink but most of their drinks aren't too strong.  Not many could have taken that shot to the head and lived to tell about it the next morning.  SO when I slammed it back no problem, they were very impressed.

After the locals left, we sat and chatted with Shinji and Jun and presented them with the Wine that Chris and Becca bought them, which they were very pleased and surprised to receive.  Jun is an excellent cook and they are just a wonderful couple.  I cant wait to spend more time with them later.  We closed the bar down, leaving at like 4am to try and be quiet coming home so as to not wake up Dan.  Of course we failed (he sleeps lightly as he is almost constantly hopped up on Coke, the soda, not the drug.)  And I also snored like a chain saw which woke everybody but me up, but kept Dan up the rest of the morning till  he had to work.  Sorry Dan!

Hangovers and water, late start to the day, and day trippin
The next morning, I awoke with a slight hangover, but a couple of glasses of water and a few handy Advil and I was right as rain.  Got dressed after I sent a few emails, and we left out towards our next great adventure.  We decided to go Tokyo to a sort of huge open Bazaar to grab lunch, then walk to the park in hope that the plum trees were blossoming, which they were beginning to, then on to Asatska temple (I know I butchered it but that's what the word SOUNDS like) and finally a boat tour of Downtown Tokyo and then to Shinjuku, which is a sort of club district I guess.  I got lots of pictures and what not but I suddenly grow weary.  Lets just say that Tokyo is very interesting and has lots of different districts that change the flavor of the place immensely.  The park was cool.  The shopping district we went to was very cool, looking at all sorts of overpriced goods and what not.  We also watch Japan win the World Baseball Classic, which elicited huge roars from crowds gathered around TVs.  I ate a Dona Kabob, which is like a Gyro but beef instead of lamb and Hot Chili Sauce instead of tsiki cream sauce.  Very spicy but oh so good.  I also had various crackers and what not, and a sort of gooey rice cake wrapped in seaweed.  It was pounded rice, so don't think of a rice crispy treat.  Think of a mozzarella stick.  It had that kind of cheesy consistency but it had a lite potato flavor.  It was very very tasty and like nothing Id ever had.

Oh yes, and I have to mention the fact that Adam, as we were wandering the Temple at Asatska, decided that it was imperative that we go to the most ghetto, the most Gee-Hetto theme park in all of Tokyo.  It cost 1000 yen to get in and THEN they charge you extra for the janky ass rides!!  What a rip off.  But it was fun, because it was so dismal and ugly.  The first thing we saw when we walked in was a Merry-Go-Round, with a sad little girl riding by herself, her fatter off to the side, completely ignoring her.  As Adam said, the place smelled of broken homes and shattered dreams.  He even invented a song, 'Daddy smells of Bourbon and mommy's never home....why cant I leave this place so on the streets I'll roam...'  Fun Times.  After the super whack haunted house, we went up on the BEE Tour which is a sort of high ride, where you get in a car, and it raises up a hundred feet or so and you spin around slowly, looking down over the dingy city of Tokyo.  I got some pictures of that up there.  We kept cracking up because all the kids in the park looked vaguely disappointed, as if to say, 'Its my birthday and you brought me to THIS shit hole?  Love you too, dad!'  Priceless.

So we bounced from the temple and grabbed a ride on the Boat tour of Downtown Tokyo.  It was very pretty but because it was so dark and there was glass everywhere but the back of the boat, the pictures didn't turn out to well.  But I got to see the general layout of the land and the man made island (I cant remember the name...lots o high-rises though).  After that we headed to Shinjuku where we were accosted by Nigerian guys trying to get us to go to various super expensive Gentleman's Clubs.  No Thank you!  Good Day sir!  Adam was telling me about how the girl s there have all kinds of tricks to get you to pay more...like drink minimums and what not, AFTER you pay the cover charge.  Those are the pics of all the neon lights and what not.  After that we headed back to Miyahara to meet Josh for some Yaki Tori (Chicken on a stick) and beer, and sort of relax.  Came home and got online to chat with my wife and call my job to get my check situation straightened.  Got to bed at around 3am and woke up at 7:30 and started writing.  WELCOME TO JAPAN!

So that's it for now.  I'm going to Kamakura today, I believe.  I don't know whats there though.  I'll also be planning my day trips for tomorrow and the next day so that should be lots of fun.  Scary but fun.  But I'm ready.  I like Japan...I love the ease of travel though without the JR Pass I think it would be annoying as fuck.  Anyways, check http://www.flickr.com/photos/raquita/ for the pictures if you haven't.  And I'll post tonite, no doubt with stories to tell.

Holla atcha boy!

Benticore
Out
(I promise to do the blog thing a lot more than Adam does.  He's a lazy wanker, ain't he?)

6 comments:

Raquita said...

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Spoken said...

-Hey husband. Glad you made it to Japan safely. No worries, I'll look after the 1st wife while you're gone. She'll be okay.
-Dude, we BOTH looked for those card & I'm soooo mad they were in the car the whole time. Stupid cards.
-See I told you you would need an umbrella, but did you listen to the 2nd wife, NO.
-Miss you somethin terrible, Poppa Bear. You make my week-ends entertaining. Can't wait for you to get back. Have fun, be safe, you guys don't get into too much trouble. At least nothing you could get deported for *wink, wink*.... 2nd wife

Copasetics Soul said...

Glad you made it ok my brother...i would love to have been there to hear you scare the people with the snoring. but at least you made it through the night..a triple shot of the "T" and i would be done!

i cant believe you were expecting ass on the women. have
you not watched all those Godzilla movies? the women NEVER have ass!

be safe over there..and send me the links for the phone stuff!

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