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Japan 6

This morning I wake feeling like someone smacked me in the shins with a bat and discover two small blisters on the bottom of my foot near my big toe. Damn socks! They just wouldn’t stay up for some reason and I had to stop several times yesterday to pull them up.

Chad wants to go to the Chief’s Club for lunch. Before heading to the base we make our daily pit stop at 7-11 across the street from the hotel so he can grab a Coke and something for dinner. As I trudge towards the base I feel every shift of my weight against my painful shins and puffy blister. Why, oh why, didn’t I just stay in the room and make myself a PB & J? My head is still clouded from sleep and I try to put the pain out of my mind and think about what I’m going to have for lunch.

The club reminds me of a high school cafeteria that’s been painted, decorated and dressed up with four-top tables and nicer chairs. The food is decent, but nothing to really write about. Just as I’m finishing Chad asks why I have a red stripe on my face. I pull out my mirror and sure enough there’s a strip going from the corner of my mouth up my cheek like the Joker’s scar from Batman. I take a peek at my upper chest and see a hit of a flush. Did they make my lumpia with the same oil as their fish? Hum… No headache, yet…

I want to stop by the NEX to pick up some snacks to eat in the room before heading back to the hotel. We time our leave just right and manage to grab the base bus in the nick of time. Chad leaves me at the Rec Center, his stop for the boat. I forgot to grab my headphones for my iPod so I listen to the conversations of the sailors around me. Two officers are talking about enlisted men who’ve gotten in trouble for various things: one passed out drunk on the admiral’s lawn, another who had been found in the CO’s house trashing the place, and yet another who was discovered asleep on the CO’s couch.

My trip to the NEX is a bust. Chad was wrong and I can’t get in without him sponsoring me. I settle for doughnut holes from Dunkin’ Doughnuts. As I pay a woman approaches me and offers to sponsor me into the NEX. I thank her for her generosity but assure her it won’t be necessary since I’m getting the doughnuts. Truth is, I’ve got a bit of a headache and want to get back so I can lay down for a bit.

When I reach the bus stop I check the schedule only to find out that I’ve just missed the bus and have to wait 20 minutes for the next one. I decide to pass part of the time by wandering down to Subway and grabbing a sandwich to eat for dinner later.

I get back to the room and I’m not even here for more than five minutes when the maid knocks on the door and asks if she can clean the room. I hate being in the way (so easy to do when the room is so small) so I find my notepad and head to the lobby to write. I’m one of the few people down here but it doesn’t last long. People are slowly trickling in on their way home from work. My quiet refuge keeps getting louder and lauder as the shipyard guys don’t bother to drop their stuff off at their rooms before getting a drink. The party has begun and everyone has decided to sit near me as if I have a neon light above my head reading, “I speak English, come bother me.”

One of the guys is showing off his shiny new toy; an iPod touch and everyone’s gathered around to admire it. Someone else pulls out the dice and before I know it I’m being talked into playing. Its ¥100 a game and the object is to get a 6, a 5, and a 4 in that order and the last two dice added together is your score. You only have 3 rolls and the highest score wins the pot. I begin the game with the ¥600 that I have in my pocket and by the time we’re done I’ve won ¥2,500 off them. I’m not sure if it’s beginner’s luck or the fact that the other players are drunk. Either way I’m walking away with their money and a huge smile on my face.  

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