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Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Monday: Nightlife

So John, Casey and Steph and I had shared a giant pear at the parade, but we were all very hungry when we made it back to Sunshine City. Dave had taken the day to do work at the hotel, and was very excited to hear all our stories about the day.

We left the hotel and found a kaitenzushi where the sushi comes on a conveyor belt. We are way more confident with our Japanese and ordered four bottles of sake, and were able to ask important questions like: What is this? Even though we didn't always understand the answer. We all tried things we had never tried before. I ate fish eggs that popped in my mouth, and some octopus. I also ate a bunch of these translucent white - ish worm type things until I saw they had eyes. I know, it's dumb, but suddenly I just couldn't. Steph finished them for me. And... I'm searching the internet for what they were. Maybe Shira-uo? but can't find any pictures. So if anyone out there knows... please tell me. Later. Dinner was so cheap. Each plate cost about the equivalent of $1.40. Split five ways we paid $8.00 each and we were all full and pleasantly warmed by the sake. Well, except Steph had no sake and I had too much sake, but that evened itself out.

Then we took the JR line to Shibuya.
On the way there a man who was quite entertained by our banter handed Steph a bag with a band new bottle of Chinese Tequila in it. He indicated that he wanted her to have it. Everyone was amazed, and we were about to get off the train, so Steph, desperate for a gift to give back, whisked off her bracelet and handed it to him. He laughed a lot, and as we left the train he waved the jangly bracelet/hair tie at us. WHAT?

It was like being in Times Square, there were so many screens and lights, and even some of the buildings fronts flashed on and off with crazy lights. Crossing the street was an adventure. No one here jay walks. Everyone waits. And then a FLOOD of people enter the streets. It's amazing. We went to the largest Starbucks I have ever seen so we could get some caffeine and maybe at least I would stop being so dizzy. Sake is really really great. So is chai. I have found a winning combination. We sat in a window on the second or third story of the Starbucks, overlooking the intersection where the Hachiko subway exit is. As we relaxed we discussed how so many people ride bikes, and no one wears a helmet, and no one seems to ever be in any danger. The streets are so clean, there is no litter anywhere. We talked about cultural implications of things like.. handing someone a full bottle of alcohol on a train. Meanwhile we were all regretting that the NPR audio device as well as both mine and John's cameras had stayed back at the hotel to charge up for tomorrow.

After we felt more awake we walked across the intersection to LOHB.
It was a very classy and chic establishment overlooking the intersection from the other side. We tired to order drinks... but no one quite got what they ordered. I ordered a chamomile, for example... figured it was a nice way to relax. Instead I got a Kahlua and Milk and ended up back where the sake had left me. We made fast friends with the people at the next table, Japanese university students studying english who were there to celebrate a friend's birthday. We sang Happy Birthday in English, and toasted "Kampai!" with everyone as we drank our ridiculous drinks. John ordered sake, but they had none so the waitress chose his drink and gave him strawberry champagne with liquor and a purple flower in it. Casey has photos, so don't worry, you'll see that flower behind John's ear yet.

The staff and other patrons at LOHB did not appreciate the jokes we were all telling in Japanese and English. I bet they didn't like the boob towel that the birthday girl received that we then all had to take photos with. And they especially didn't like when we were all standing up and coordinating whether or not they'd be able to come to the Impro (yes, no "v" for comedians here) Festival. They were so relieved when I asked for the bill that it was comical.

No one tips here. We left without asking for change (it was only 20 yen, which is nothing), and our waitress chased us out the door to hand it to us.

Next we walked around Shibuya taking in all the sights. We went to GasPanic.
Which Dave said was a hopping place to be last year, but it was all empty. In Shibuya we saw a car club, just like in America. It was a line of souped up older cars, Cadillacs mostly, with young Asian men driving and blasting gansta rap music. We danced a bit on the corner.

We left Shibuya to go back to Sunshine City, and we were all kind of tired but I for one was reluctant to turn in yet, so the plan was to find one more thing to do before we went back to the hotel.

In order to get our energy back up John began chasing Steph around at the station, so we all started running around the columns and then some Japanese people our age joined in and when we stopped we all hugged and laughed and they were chanting "Japan is number one" "Japan ichiban." And we all took photos of each other and hugged more and said how much fun it was.

We laughed the entire way out of the station and decided to make a rule for the rest of the trip that if anyone begins to run we all must also run.

When we left the station we turned the wrong way but I needed a toilet, so I went to an American place called Jonathan's. When I came out I saw my friends talking to a man.

As it turns out, this man was from Nepal, and claimed to be in direct contact with God. John identified him right away as a cold reader. I walked up just as he was trying to tell John's fortune. He claimed John was cheating on his wife. Which was not true, but then guessed that John's wife was his college sweetheart. His english was not very good, and he contradicted himself a lot, but it was absolutely mesmerizing and we could not look away. He couldn't read Steph. He told Dave he has " a good business but many problems in everything else." He told Dave his mother is very angry, and will talk to him in his dreams tonight. Ok, mind you... this was not all in one sentence. He was like... "your mother. Your mother," and we had to keep prodding him, and guessing (which is of course what a cold reader does). He handed Dave some object and instructed him to not show anyone until after he wakes up, having had this dream about his mother. He told me that I will not ever get married or have children, but that I will have a happy future. He kept saying how lucky I am, and touching my hands and bowing, he touched my feet. He said my next boyfriend will be rich. He says I have problems, many problems, in every area of my life, but not to worry my job will be ok.

Meanwhile, really?? I get a fortune at the temple that says my life is going to be awful and then some street performer tells me I'll never have a family? Awesome.

He was very physical, he smacked my cheek once when I made a joke about not being John's wife, and he punched John for something else.

Then he made Steph go buy some water. Which she couldn't find. So she had to go into Jonathan's and bring a glass of water outside. "I told them I'd bring it back." He made Casey drink the water and told her that her grandfather is dead. And while that is not true to our knowledge Casey said that if she contacts home and finds out something happened she'll flip. He also said Dave's dad was dead, but that's not even close to true.

He made everyone drink the water but me and John. He did however grab my hands again and look sad and shake his head at my dismal future.

We escaped after John essentially turned the tables on him and told the man his daytime occupation and place of work. John said later he had seen into the guy's wallet when he paid Steph for the water (money which he never wanted back).

We then walked a while in the wrong direction and found ourselves in the seedy underbelly of Sunshine City. I still felt completely safe. I haven't felt uncomfortable once here. In fact, I love it here. And it is way too late to still be up but now I feel better having written down so much. Tomorrow I'll have my camera again, and hopefully we are going to the Imperial Temple before our rehearsal.


liz said...

This is hilarious. Luckily, your job will be okay. I hope that's a decent consolation prize for NOT HAVING A FAMILY.

Misch said...

Hahaha. Yeah. But don't worry. Casey's grandfather is fine, and Dave did not dream of his mother.

So we're ok.