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Japan 8

Last night was not a good night. Chad hadn’t been taking one of his meds like he should and had been off it for a week or so.   He started taking it again, and just like always, it upset his stomach. I spent most of the night listening to him vomit or dealing with him flopping around on the bed like a fish out of water. All in all I think I got about 4 hours of very interrupted sleep. I was so relieved when he finally got up for work as I was able to get an hour and a half or so of good sleep.

It’s Friday, and I haven’t spoken to my mom in almost a week. With the time difference I want to make sure I get a hold of her. Skype is a great, only costing us $0.021/minute. It’s 10 pm here time so I call forgetting that it’s still Thursday for her. She’s happy to hear from me but asks if I can call back because the final episode of ER has just started and she really wants to see it. I hang up and decide I should do my laundry since I’m running out of clean shirts.

The hotel does Chad’s laundry for free as part of the arrangement the shipyard has with the hotel, along with the drink tickets and free breakfast. The laundry perk is great, except when I’m here they charge us for my laundry as well as his. Thankfully they provide free washers and dryers on the second floor. I gather up all our laundry and head down. Luck is on my side and three of the four washers are empty. I start my loads and head back upstairs to check my email. The maids have just begun to clean the room when I get back. Not wanting to get in their way I grab my bag and head out in the search for something to eat.

I wander aimlessly down Blue Street not knowing what I want and just trying to waste time. I stop by Vie De France and pick up a few rolls before deciding to go in search for the illusive underground market I’ve heard talked about. I know there’s a market under the ‘swan mall’ (I don’t know the name of it, but they have a swan in their logo) so I head there. The market is big, but I’m not sure if it’s the one that the guys from the shipyard were telling me about. I meander through, never the less, as the sights and smells of so much good food lure me on. The cakes, pastries and candies are so tempting, so perfect they’re all most too nice to eat. A few stalls down the smell of loose green teas is almost overwhelming. In the middle, the meat stands offer almost any cut of beef, pork, chicken and a few other meats you could imagine. I stay away from the sea food stands. Just the smell of fish is enough to turn my stomach. 

Eventually I realize that it’s been over an hour since I left and I need to get our clothes in the dryer. I find my way back to the street and enjoy the sun on my face as I walk the block or so back to the hotel. Before going up to the room I switch the laundry and pick up my shirts that will be hung in the bathroom to dry. It’s almost midnight at home but Mom won’t mind if I call. 

I’m mainly calling to check on Hans. I’ve never been away from him for this long and I’m kinda stressed out about it.  Mom reassures me that he’s doing fine. They’re playing ball with him almost every day and giving him plenty of attention. She also mentions that she’s picked up two more dogs for rescue. One of the dogs was left in an apartment by his owners when they moved out. It took the owner of the building two days to catch him. The dog, Dieter, is wary of men and Mom has told Dad several times to give him room and not get too close. Dad, being Dad, didn’t listen and Dieter nipped at him as a result. Serves Dad right if you ask me.

   Last night I hung out with some of the guys from Norfolk that are here working on the project. One of them invited me to a party they’re having tonight. Chad’s been telling me to get out of the room and meet people so I decided to go. Let me tell you, interesting doesn’t even begin to describe the night. 

When I went downstairs this evening the party hadn’t started yet. Some of the shipyard guys saw me and called me over to join in their dice game. Since I had lost money last time I played I figured why not play this time, perhaps I could win some of it back. And I did, about ¥1,000. 

Eventually the game broke up and people started going their separate ways. I headed over to a side room to join the Norfolk party. I didn’t know many of the guys, but hung out anyway. One of the Japanese workers was fascinated with tattoos and was collecting photos of everyone. Being the proud owner of two tattoos myself, I contributed mine to the mix. Thankfully I don’t understand Japanese because one of the guys was making some crude remarks about my chest. You don’t need to understand the words when the gestures speak for themselves. There was one other woman there, the mom of one of the Norfolk guys, and we were the highlight of the party for the Japanese gentlemen. I think all of them had their picture taken with one or the both of us.

Someone brought a bottle of Absinthe and the shots started getting poured. I’ve heard things about Absinthe and the Green Fairy in the past (it’s featured quite heavily in Moulin Rouge) and decided to give it a try. It’s like drinking liquid licorice. It’s strong. I’m the only one who did the shot without a chaser because I’m hard core. I think the guys were impressed with me. After the Absinthe I did two shots of sake (rice wine). The sake didn’t really have a taste to it, much like vodka. Since on one brought any vodka I went out to the hotel bar to get one to mix with some orange juice that was on the table. We all stood around talking and taking pictures and just having a good time.

I followed some of the guys outside while they had a smoke and noticed that there was a large crowd gathered around something across the street. As the guys wandered back they began telling the rest of us that one of the massagie girls had gotten beaten up by two others. She was still lying on the street when the shore patrol showed up. The shore patrol must have called the MPs because they arrived next. Someone called an ambulance and the girl still hadn’t moved by the time they showed up. Her friend was with her, holding her head as they waited. Finally the police arrived to take statements and the girl was taken away in the ambulance. We think it may have been a turf dispute because before the police left the girls who work that corner were back.

As the party wound down we headed up to the guy’s boss’ room to hang out for a bit before heading out on a pub crawl. Some of the guys continued to drink, but I had switched to water earlier as to not get too drunk too soon. We sat listening to music and eating the fresh lumpia one of the guys was making. Just like the shipyard guys, the Norfolk guys gave me shit about my age, saying that I was only 15 (yea! I’ve aged 3 years).  The guys were getting rowdy, and two of them crashed through the divider on the patio separating the two rooms. With that we decided that the best thing would be to get going.

Our first stop on our pub crawl was a tiny bar called Tom & Jack’s. I don’t think the bar was much bigger than two or three of our hotel rooms put other. As we stood there shoulder to shoulder some navy guy tried to give us shit about being on the dance floor, as if we had somewhere else we could stand. After one round we headed to our next destination, Country George. I liked this bar much more that the other one. It felt comfortable, like being at home. Perhaps it was just the fact that it was bigger and was playing country music. Justin, one of the Norfolk guys, was starting to get into it with a guy who we had seen briefly at the hotel. I pulled him outside and calmed him down explaining that Japan isn’t the place to get into a fight and get arrested. Once back inside we finished our drinks before heading to the next bar. Since I don’t walk as fast as everyone else Jason hung back with me, allowing me to walk at my own pace. On our way, Justin and his cousin, Mikie, left us, returing to the hotel. 

We ended up at a place called Wanna Bees, but the guys simply call it the dart bar because they can play darts there. This was our last stop for the evening. The more drunk I got the more things became fuzzy. I do remember Jason teasing me about using the bathroom so much, but when you gotta go you gotta go and drinking makes me go. After hearing some really bad karaoke I’ve come to the conclusion that it should be outlawed around the world. I know the Japanese are the ones who came up with it, but seriously, it should be used as a torture device. It’s downright painful to listen to.

I was out later than what I planned on, but the guys were impressed. I was able to pretty much go drink for drink with them, often finishing mine before they finished theirs. I left the bar around 4 am, escorted by Jason who made sure I got back to my room safely. Chad was surprised that I was out so late, but happy that I had left him a note. I found out later that some of the guys were out until 7 am.

Hanging out with the guys is great, but comments are better!



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