Koreans

I guess that last post didn’t have a title. Oops. I’m going to fix that after I write this. Anyway, the most exciting things happen on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, so I don’t post as often during the week. Except for when I miss posting on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. In the business, posting regularly is a form of “professionality,” which I guess I lack. Sorry. I’m going to try to post more because my buddy has been updating his comic with startling regularity and it makes me feel guilty.

Anyway, I’ve been trying to get a job teaching English here, because that’s pretty much the only way for me to stay in the country. Also, English was the only subject I was good at in school and teaching English in the US is lackluster. So, I’ve been filling out resumes nonstop trying to get a job. Okay, so I’ve been procrastinating a little.

On Sunday, I had a second date with Lilia that didn’t go super well. It was fun and there was a lot of chemistry, but her friend got out of the hospital and she had to leave. Or she’s the sort of person that thinks that inventing a crazy excuse is a better plan than just being like, “Yeah, hey, I’m not having fun.”

Last night was actually fairly interesting, though. I went to CC Cafe, which is a bar run by a pair of English teachers trying to get their students to mingle with foreigners. It’s also a really good place to go to get advice from people who teach English.

CC Cafe was super dead and the people I went to get advice from weren’t there, so I ended up ducking out. I had like $10 in my pocket and was trying to debate whether I wanted to go to a club, or just eat something and go to sleep. In America, I don’t like clubs. They’re too loud, the people aren’t interesting, and the girls either aren’t interested, or aren’t interested but still want you to buy them drinks.

In Japan, the music is usually quiet enough you can hold a conversation, everyone is interesting because they’re speaking a foreign language, and pretty much all the girls are interested enough to buy me drinks. I was about to flip a coin when I heard the name of the club I was thinking about going to in a conversation.

“Oh, I was just headed there, are there many people in right now?” I asked a bewildered looking group of three guys and three girls. They didn’t know, they were just discussing exactly that, but if I was going, they were going. Except only one dude tagged along, and he went back to check on his friends. He said he’d go grab them and meet me inside.

This ended up being the untruth, but there were plenty of people inside, so I didn’t actually care. I walked to the back and threw my coat over a chair. This GREATLY excited a group of Korean girls next to me. One girl kind of screamed a little bit. It wasn’t like a cool flourish or anything, either, I was just hanging my coat on my chair. Almost immediately, this Korean dude comes over to me and starts talking to me in perfect, unaccented English. He ushers me over to a different table, where his friend is sitting.

Apparently, they both attended international school growing up, so their English is perfect. I wish I attended international school. Anyway, they’re here for three days and speak no Japanese, so I take on kind of a de facto tour guide role. They’ve been staring at the Korean girls pretty hard, so I suggest maybe I should go talk to another table first to kind of break up the tension.

So I go over to a table of pretty Japanese girls and say hi, how are you? I think pickup lines are stupid and disingenuous normally, and there’s no way in hell I’m going to trick a girl into letting me into her pants in a language I don’t understand, so I’m just polite and friendly. In this particular case, polite and friendly doesn’t even warrant a hello. Straight-on cold shoulder.

I go back to the table with the Korean dudes and we talk about Japan and what they want to do while they’re here. I am not super helpful. I don’t actually really know what touristy things there are in Fukuoka. They tell me I’m incredibly handsome. This is where my ego comes from, because everyone here talks like I’m the only son of fuckin’ Aphrodite.

After the little mental counter I’ve had passes a certain number, I go talk to the Korean girls. They are very happy I came over to see them. They’re giggling and dancing like I’m a circus grizzly on a ball. They don’t actually tell me they’re happy to see me, because they don’t speak any Japanese, and bearly any English. I’m sorry I did that.

So, I wave at my buddies who are absolutely happy to come over and help translate and I start talking to the girl that screamed earlier. She was both absolutely ecstatic I was talking to her, and completely terrified that I would leave as soon as we ran out of things to say. It was adorable, and so long as she was willing to struggle with me, it was fine with me. My buddies were completely and utterly shot down within seconds. I was like, “Oh, right, Koreans don’t like Japanese people” before I realized that they, too were Korean. I’m not going to pretend I understand women. Or Korean language, for that matter.

Her friends very deliberately made room for us to talk and went over by the bar to drink. This, by itself, was awfully considerate. The part where they leered at us and suggestively wriggled their eyebrows was…less so. It was like I picked the shyest cheerleader at a house party and they were all jealous. In all honesty, though, I have never actually picked up a cheerleader, house party or otherwise.

Eventually, she decided that she had to give me her number, even though her phone didn’t work. She gave me her Korean number, on a receipt, in mascara. I managed to give her my Kakaotalk ID.

I went back to my Korean friends who had, somehow gotten the IDs of two Japanese girls. I was super proud of them. I thought about stepping in to help, but honestly, I’m a terrible wingman. With the silly hat and everything, I’m a distraction at best and competition at worst. My code of ethics prevents me from actually taking a girl from a guy, even if I don’t really know or like the guy, but there’s nothing worse than when you sidle over to help a dude out and his ladyfriend starts staring at you.

After the girls they were talking to left, we headed out. They’re staying really close to where I live, so we grabbed some beers and walked back together. We have plans to hang out tomorrow, so hopefully that turns out awesome.

Today, I tried to make out the receipt. It is absolutely illegible. Also, I don’t have a phone that can call a Korean number in Japan. She hasn’t texted me, so either her friends talked her out of it, she lost my number, or she can’t call me in Japan. Oh well.

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Note: This post is going to be sexually explicit. I’m not going to super gross or anything, but yeah, there’s going to be talk of like, dicks and blowjobs and fingering and stuff. If you don’t want to read that, you can skip this whole thing. If you really want to read part of it, it’s pretty obvious what part not to read, I think, but if you fuck up, I’m not gonna be liable.

 

Well. It’s been a while since I posted the last thing that I posted, but I can make it up to you in other ways. I’m wriggling my eyebrows right now. You can’t see it because I’m not one of those youtube videoblog types. Anyway, it’s Friday afternoon and I have a story. A pretty good story. I’ll tell you in a minute, but first I have to make progress in the overarching story arc, the one about me not starving to death in Japan.

I am very, very lucky. I will, at a later date, speculate on why I am so lucky, but for now, you’re going to just have to bear with me. About twice a day, something very good happens to me. I call these “gifts” or “miracles” depending on how crazy they end up being. Once, I was playing my favorite arcade game and a dude came up to me, gave me some very rare cards because I was just starting and left. Shit just happens.

One of the things that happened was that I ran into a guy at a bar who knew some English teachers. Moreover, he knew an English teacher that had just quit her job and therefore, knew of an opening. I met with that English teacher and she promised to introduce me to her boss, because I want to teach English.

So, the first part of yesterday was waking up very early (11am, oh no!) and talking to some very, very nice people about how corporate handles hiring but if they send me here it’d be super great because I seem really great. Also, corporate happened to be in the building, so I got to awkwardly introduce myself. Hopefully that helps somewhere.

The second part involved me shopping (shampoo and aftershave), going home and taking a nap. I woke up really late, so I walked into Tenjin to get some food. I go to this little place called the Kurobuta Brothers (literally black pig brothers). They have a vending machine that you pay to get these paper tickets, then you hand the tickets to the chef. Basically, it’s a restaurant without any servers. Also, the machine has pictures, so it’s nice when I don’t feel like trying to order in Japanese. They serve ramen and fried rice and are open 24 hours. The dudes who work there know me by name.

It was still kind of early, so I went to the arcade for a bit. I’m kind of a giant fucking nerd, so I really like this card game-arcade machine thing. It’s a monstrosity, is what it is. If I weren’t such a lazy dick lately, I’d have gotten some pictures and done a write-up of it on Wednesday, when I wasn’t busy. Anyway, I play that for like two hours and walk out with a slightly better idea of how to play the game without losing so fast.

It’s almost-but-not-quite 11pm when I walk into the Cloughb. I just want those of you reading at home to know that all eyes were, in fact, on me. Mostly because it was just like six dudes sitting around. I got a whisky on the rocks (with my free drink ticket that comes with the $10 cover). The dudes were all glaring at me, too. Let’s be real here: Dudes take courtship way too seriously. I’m just out to hang out, practice Japanese, and maybe make some lady-friends.

Luckily, things on that front didn’t develop. I ran into my pal Shogo. I had met Shogo at the same club (Infinity) last Saturday. His English is really good and he’s just generally fun to be around. He introduces me to his friend and we sit around chatting while the club slowly starts to fill up. His friend doesn’t speak English and is, for some reason, to scared to speak Japanese with me. I think he was pretty hammed.

A note on Japanese clubs: They open at 10, they don’t have people until midnight, they’re pretty quiet until 2am, and they don’t close until 6am. This is true of all clubs in Fukuoka that I know of.

So, Shogo’s buddy insists we do a Tequila shot, for which I thank him. I actually tried to buy the next round, but he wandered away. Honestly, he didn’t need another drink. There were a few pairs of girls at that point, but there was really no energy flowing at all, so I made it a point to talk to each of them. The first table I walked up to blew me out really fast, but in retrospect, one of the girls was really drunk, so her friend probably just thought I was creepy and trying to take a semi-conscious body home.

I switched hats with another girl. Honestly, I’m not sure that I’d condone it in terms of like, “pick-up advice.” It’s probably not even a good idea. What it IS, is fun. I am a proponent of fun. I switched hats with her so efficiently, that she didn’t even notice until she saw me with her hat on. Oh, I’m so clever. She wasn’t as amused as I was, which is fine. If she doesn’t think hat-switching is funny, then I really don’t want to be wasting my time with her.

Shogo’s friend bought a bottle of Champagne for like $60 and handed drinks to everyone. Man, that’s two really nice ties, and it was down in minutes. Worse, he didn’t actually follow up with the girls that he was buying drinks for. Maybe he just honestly thought they needed a drink. I hope so. Soon after that, they excused themselves to leave. They both had work at 5am and it was a little after midnight.

I retreated back to the corner where I had my coat. Then, I decided that it was too dark and moved to the center of the floor. For a long time, dancing was technically illegal in Fukuoka. I think that law has been overturned, but none of the clubs have actual dance floors. It’s just tables. Interestingly, the girls all grab the tables and the guys stand awkwardly by the door. I’m pretty sure that if I properly understood Japanese dating culture, I wouldn’t be able to be part of it.

Anyway, I’m just sitting there, maxing, relaxing all cool when a couple of girls start talking about me. People aren’t really subtle about it when they like/dislike/notice me; they spend a lot of time pointing and looking in my direction. I make eye contact with one of them and crook my finger at her. She didn’t come over, instead opting to wave me over to their table. Still, in terms of like…moves, I like that one. I’ll have to use it again sometime.

They’re cute, but they’re both wearing a lot of makeup. One of them has like, inch-long acrylic nails and the other has her hair in that bizarre mating plumage hostesses do. Still, I start talking to them. They’re actually on a trip up from Osaka, where they live. They’re both hostesses, actually, and they seem relieved when I tell them I used to host. Probably because they don’t need to try to explain Hostess Clubs that in broken Japanese.

Anyway, the one with the Freddy Kruger nails is Yuho, the one with the hair is Miho. I am not making this shit up, but Yuho’s name might actually be different. I’m sorry! The club was really loud and her name is in my phone in Kanji. Yuho is super interested in me and super forward. I’m always worried around hostesses (since their job is basically to string men along for money), so I’m really cautious.

Oh, looks like I changed to present tense like…three paragraphs back. This is why I’m not a real writer. I’m not fixing it. I have an application to fill out and a comedy show to go to in the next two hours. And I should probably shower. I was actually having a lot of fun. They might be a touch slutty, but they knew how to party. Miho’s Japanese was really easy to understand and Yuho kept going up to the same boring girls I’d been talking to earlier and trying to get them to dance. She eventually managed to succeed, which I really didn’t think was possible.

They started getting kind of competitive on me. Yuho kept pulling me in to dance and feeding me her redbull-vodka, whereas Miho would sort of push Yuho out onto the dance floor and then ditch her, then come back and talk to me. Yuho’s opinion was that Miho was no fun and Miho’s opinion was that Yuho was a drunken lunatic. I eventually decided that I preferred Miho, simply because I worried that Yuho was too drunk to make adult decisions. That’s not quite true, she never gave indication that she was already drunk, or even was more inebriated than the two of us. She simply had the attitude that she’d be okay if the night ended with her facedown in a toilet. After the way last Friday ended, I wasn’t too excited about that possibility.

Finally Ryan (Infinity’s owner) comes in and I dart over to say hi. I won’t pretend I didn’t enjoy the push-pull of two girls half-heartedly fighting over me, but it WAS kind of exhausting. Ryan pours out a line of shots and starts handing them out. Tequila, of course. I got to lick hands and apply salt, which was fun. In retrospect, I should have gone for a body shot. I mean, it’s on my bucket-list.

Miho kept getting pulled away by other guys. I’m not the jealous type and I was pretty comfortable walking home alone last night. That said, I didn’t like that she was literally being pulled away. I tried to stay close enough to where I could intervene if she was not digging it. With my friends at home, we have a signal. Here, I figured her slapping his hand away was probably about right. I only had to do it once and I was as polite as I could be while still conveying a, “listen, I’ve only known this girl like two hours, but if you rape ANYONE here, I’m going to need to remove your balls.” Also, Yuho was hitting on me pretty hard, so I kind of switched focus. And by “hitting on me” I mean, “feeding me drinks, one sip at a time, with her mouth.”

When Yuho actually climbed into my lap (which, considering the high seats at the table, was like, super dangerous), I decided to call for our check. Metaphorically. I brought up the idea of maybe going and exploring karaoke, or another bar. She liked that idea, she said, with her teeth around my collarbone, but we had to find Miho first.

Yuho promptly disappeared. Almost as soon as she did, Miho came back. I, again, proposed the idea of leaving. That was fine, and she’d really like to leave with me, but we had to find Yuho first. She wasn’t in the (relatively small) club, so I posited that she was probably in the bathroom. We waited outside the bathroom for a long time, joking that she was probably throwing up. One of my other friends (a gaijin I met earlier) came over to try to wingman for me. I honestly don’t know what he said to Miho (my Japanese class didn’t cover it), but she started kissing me. When I started kissing her back, she got shy, probably because my new buddy was still standing right there. She was….very…passionate. Passionate in this case meaning grabbing my ass, a lot.

I generally don’t make a deal of two-timing women, especially with their friends, but I think this might be a fair exception. I really didn’t have a lot of choice.

Yuho came back out looking like she didn’t throw up and got like, super cuddly on my arm. I finally managed to rally the troops and leave the club, which was a concern less because I was worried someone was going to poach my ladies and more because I really, really did not want to hold anyone’s head out of the toilet.

After we walked outside, we had to actually figure out what we were going to do. The girls were still kind of fighting over me, so I had to be the one to pick where we were going. I knew a good sushi restaurant right down the street, because I am a goddamn badass and we were in my neck of the woods. When we got there, they decided they’d rather have ramen instead. Which….put us at Kurobuta Brothers, right next door to my sushi restaurant. I really eat there way too much.

I had the Mentaiko Ramen, which is some kind of spicy cod roe ramen. It’s a Fukuoka specialty and it’s delicious. I also found out that Miho has a boyfriend. Oops. Well, I didn’t know at the time.

After dinner (or whatever meal that is) we went back to their hotel. I’d given up on Miho at this point and I wasn’t really sure how this was going to work, but with the amount of rapid-fire Japanese going on, they had some kind of plan.

Miho excused herself to take a shower. A very loud “I can’t hear anything” shower. I’m surprised she didn’t sing. As soon as the coast was clear, Yuho just fucking pounced on me. Man, that’s a good friend right there. “We’re all sharing the same bed later, but I’m going to step out so you can bang this guy.”

She really wasn’t as drunk as I’d anticipated, I suppose, and she was in a hurry. I was taking my sweet time kissing her neck and she grabbed both my hands and pushed them between her legs. I actually didn’t even realize she came until the third time. We didn’t actually have sex. It wasn’t discussed or anything, just a silent agreement that that we probably shouldn’t be doing that. That said, hostesses give really good blowjobs. I mean, just saying.

Yuho went to take a shower. I’m sure if I were Hugh Hefner, I probably could have worked it into a threesome, but I’m not and I didn’t and we were all super tired. After Yuho scrubbed off all her makeup, she was actually really, really hot. I kind of wish she’d done it before we…uh…I don’t know what verb to use here. Exchanged favors.

Still, I got to sleep in a bed with two attractive ladies, so I mean, that’s definitely a success in my book.

After I said my goodbyes (they had sightseeing to see and I wanted to get more sleep), I realized that the hotel is less than two blocks from where I’m staying. I walk by it every day.

Chinese Karaoke

So, it’s Monday now. I thi- Yeah. Yeah it’s Monday. Go me. Instead of writing about last Wednesday or Thursday, I’m gonna skip straight ahead to Friday, because Wednesday and Thursday weren’t super interesting. I went out to an Izakaya with Ayami’s work friends and met some really cool people, but if we’re going to make any progress at all, we’re going to have to keep moving.

I woke up late on Friday. Like, pretty damn late. I vaguely remembered throwing up, but I was pretty sure that I just imagined it. You can usually tell. [Edit: I later found out that I totally did. Shochu is dangerous stuff] Anyway, I woke up around 5pm. I’ve been really tired and really sore lately. I guess that’s what happens when you spend half your time walking around and half your time drinking. I’m not sure.

Still, it was Friday night and I had to get into SHAPE. No joke, the best way to get into shape is to go to a bathhouse and there’s one like a block from where I’m staying. I got all dressed up in my newly cleaned clothes and grabbed my toiletry bag.

I think the bathhouse was like $16 for two hours, which was way more than I wanted to spend, but it was too late. I had fucking committed to this shit now. I was going to be a clean-ass motherfucker. I had a hard time understanding the girl at the counter and the myriad of lockers (one for shoes, a second one for clothes). There was a door marked “cloakroom.” I went to hang up my coat and found that it actually led to the backside of the counter. The girl walked me to my locker. It was sort of embarrassing. I hung up all my shit and wandered out into the bathhouse with my bag in tow.

The bathhouse wasn’t as big or nice as I’m used to. It was two hot baths, a cool tub, and a cold tub. Two saunas: One salt and one regular. I was more uncomfortable than I usually am at this sort of thing, but the hot water kind of fixed that. My bag got super wet. Next time, I’m just bringing my brush, my razor, and my shaving soap. Everything is included (soap, shaving cream), but I’m too prissy to shave with a disposable, not when I own a nice straight razor and took the trouble to get it through customs. I got my leather strop wet, which is probably bad for it.

Still, I had a nice, clean bath and a damn good shave. That’s all it takes for me to feel like a million dollars. Figuratively, of course. I put my bag back in the apartment (hanging the strop up so it could dry) and I headed out to the bar district. When I say “bar district” I mean the “gaijin bar district,” because they have the sort of standing bars where you meet new people. It’s not like there aren’t other sorts of bars everywhere.

I didn’t make it there. I ran into my old friend Ned, whom I’d seen the previous night. By “ran into” I mean he shoulder-checked me as a greeting. It was a friendly shoulder check. “Come on” he says, “Let’s go drink” and we head off in the opposite direction. We duck through a few little alleys and end up at a little hole-in-the-wall Japanese-style bar. It’s more of a dive-bar “you’re here to drink” place, but I kind of love it. He knows the bartender and there’s some soccer playing. Japan ultimately lost after an incredible gauntlet of penalty kicks. Soccer is pretty damn boring. We have a few beers.

I started playing with cards because there are cards on the table and that’s what I do. Someone makes a little joke about doing magic and I go, “No, no…well, maybe I can do something.” I am not a good magician. The nice thing about magic is if you do an okay job, people think it’s great. I pick the quiet guy next to me and do a really simple trick. And he gives me that little smile. I have a lot of magicians reading this thing, including many far, far more talented than I am. They know that smile. It’s, “Oh, your sleights aren’t bad. You should keep practicing.” He very politely sets the cards down and asks for a spoon. He then proceeds to do the best spoon-bending routine I have ever seen.

“Oh yeah, I used to be professional” he says nonchalantly as he does the best damn close-up magic. The whole time, he stays quiet, like it was something he was embarrassed about. Fucking hell, Japan. We ducked out of there soon afterward and hit up this little place with deep-fried meat skewers, which were super cheap and delicious. Ned saw some folks over in the corner he wanted to say hi to and I ducked out to go visit my buddy Sam at Echo.

Echo’s quiet still, but it was pretty early. I get talking to Sam and the owner. The owner, Anthony, says he gets people looking for English teachers all the time, so he’ll put in a good word for me. There are all these cool little underground networks here, the expatriate network, the restaurant network. I know the US is the same way, but it’s fascinating to see it from an outsider’s perspective.

Cream’s been quiet lately, so I take a chance and go to Club X. If I say “club” before the name of it (club x, club infinity), it’s going to be different than a bar, even if both of them have dancing. A club here has a cover (usually $20 for dudes and $10 for ladies), but they give you a few free drinks for your trouble. They have a primarily Japanese population. I hate the idea of covers, much less actually paying $20, but I’ve been budgeting pretty well, so I know I can drop it.

People are immediately excited to see me when I walk in. In a high-energy club with a lot of Japanese people and a good guy-girl ratio, I’m very, very popular. Girls want me to talk to them and dudes want me to wing for them. I’m not a good wingman. I’m too…flamboyant and not good enough at Japanese to do anything more than break the ice.

I don’t even bother to take my coat off, I just grab a whiskey with my free drink ticket and find a comfortable table. I haven’t even lit my first cigarette when this girl comes over and says she thinks I’m so cool and she wants to meet me. She’s really pretty, but she’s definitely here with a dude and I don’t want to fuck some guy I don’t know over, so I’m very polite, but dismissive. I talked to a few other people, both guys and girls before getting up to get my second free drink. The girl starts talking to me as I’m getting my second whiskey. I’m looking at the dude, who is showing no more than a polite disinterest in our conversation. She’s Chinese, it turns out, but her Japanese is really good. Probably fluent. She’s an exchange student at a local college.

I excuse myself to go back over to my stuff, I dance a little bit, even, between the drinks and the bath I’m feeling pretty damn good. Also, a fair bit of unrequited female attention does wonders for one’s ego. So, the girl comes back to talk to me again and I ask her to sit down. Turns out (fortunately) that the guy she’s with is just a friend, here to keep dudes off of her while she’s dancing. Or something. I didn’t pry.

Yes, I’m a goddamn idiot. It took a really pretty girl figuratively throwing herself at me three times before I started talking to her. I am not a clever man. After a few minutes, I throw a hail mary (I think that’s a football thing. If you don’t know football, pretend it’s a religious thing), “Hey, it’s kind of loud in here. I know a good bar up the street that’s quiet.” I struggle in broken Japanese. Her face lit up like a lightbulb filled with glowsticks.

Up the street there’s a bar called Bar Gothic. Ned introduced me. Honestly, in the US, it’d be an old-timey, vampire-themed goth bar. Here, it’s just appropriation without any of the cultural trappings, which suits me just fine. They serve shots in tiny chalices. The girl, who goes by Lilia, loves it. Absolutely loves it. It’s empty, so we spend some time just hanging out, drinking, and talking to the bartender, who is absolutely a chill guy and a fairly good wingman to boot. He’d jump in just when the conversation died and turn it back to something I could talk about.

She insists we go to this place in Hakata, which is close to where I’m staying. It’s actually in the same building as where I used to Host, though it looks like the host club is actually gone now. The place looks like a host club, all glass and chandeliers. Drinks look expensive, but she insists that this round is on her.

She orders wine for her and whiskey for me and we fire up some Karaoke. Now, I’m not bad at singing, but I listen to fucking heavy metal. I do a little set from Judas Priest and hope it doesn’t scare her off. On the contrary, she fucking loves it. Even when I understand girls, I really just do not understand girls. She downs her wine like a champion and does a little song in Chinese. Something kind of poppy, but with the language barrier, it’s really, really cute. Girls singing in foreign languages is always pretty cute.

At this point, I’m trying to maybe suggest she needs to slow down on the wine, but she’s too nervous. Phrases to learn in Japanese: “Sweetie, I would have slept with you three drinks ago, you can stop now.” Finally, I take the hint and kiss her, which makes her stop drinking. Yeah, I’m not a clever man.

Unfortunately, it’s too late. Nothing says, “Success” quite like holding a chick’s hair out of the toilet so she can puke. Parker, you are a damn charmer. At least I wasn’t drunk, so I guess that’s a win. She insists on paying, but I have to help her actually do it. She seemed to know the bartender, so hopefully that’s not embarrassing. We take a cab back to her place in Yakuin and I walk her to her door. Such a gentleman.

Of course, the downside to this is that I have to walk BACK to Hakata without any real indication of where to go. Also, I’m pretty soggy myself. Not drunk drunk, but I’m not exactly walking straight.

All in all, a pretty good Friday night. I love this country.

Morning After

So, I actually tried to write about my sexual escapades (or, as I will be calling them from now on: Sexcapades) but it was too weird. I tried really hard. Sorry. Anyway, the short of it was that we banged, or at least we tried to. I was uh, too big, actually. I was literally cockblocked by my own dick. Just think about that for a minute.

I think, in total, we got like…five hours sleep. Maybe four. I’m not super used to cuddling, so it wasn’t even four good hours, it was four hours of trying to move around and get comfortable. Then, we had to rush to Tenjin so Ayami could go to work and I could check out of my hotel. I got there at 10am. Checkout is at 11am pretty consistently across Japan. So I wadded up everything I owned and shoved it in my suitcase. Considering everything was really, really spread out all over, I was very proud that it only took 30 minutes. Very proud. I left my key at the door and walked out with a smile on my face.

Which immediately left as soon as I realized the ordeal ahead of me. I had license to stay at Ayami’s place, but I didn’t actually have a key. Ayami had to get a new key made up, so we agreed to meet at her restaurant after she finished work. At midnight. I had 13 hours to kill until then, and also, I had to carry everything I owned.

In a flash of brilliance, I walked to Hakata station. It was five minutes from Ayami’s place and it had coin lockers. Big, suitcase-holding coin lockers. It was about an hour walk, but I didn’t have anywhere to be. I found the closest coin locker to the door and put my suitcase in that. I even fit my backpack on top of it. Six dollars a day for not needing to carry around all my shit. Yes.

Unfortunately, my bass wasn’t going to fit in there, so I was going to need to carry that shit around all day. You ever try to kill 13 hours? It crawls. I had lunch. I went to the arcade. I wandered around for ten minutes until carrying my bass was too much. Then I went back to the arcade so I could sit down. Then I wandered around some more. Repeat ad-nauseum. My fucking legs hurt, my fucking back hurt, and I think I have callouses on my shoulders.

At around 10, bars start to open. Just think about that for a moment. They OPEN at 10. The place I work at, we close at 10. Japan is awesome. Unfortunately, I had an hour or two until 10:00, so I found more of a grillpub sort of place. I needed a place to sit and literally take a load off, have a beer, and speak some English. I wandered into this place called Two Dogs because it was owned by the same people that own Cream. I know that that’s sort of tenuous, but I didn’t have a lot to go on.

I sat at the bar and this big foreign guy asks me what my order is. I look at the menu, what they have on draft. They have real beer here. I’m so sick of Japanese beer like you wouldn’t believe. As an aside, the Japanese fucking love bland, flavorless beer. Imagine a bottled Heinekin. Now, pour some water in it. That’s Japanese beer. In Seattle, we’ve got some good beer. It’s got character, it’s got flavor, and if you’re not careful, it’ll punch you in the teeth. Now, unfortunately, they don’t have like, Odin’s Gift or Mac and Jack’s on the menu, but I’m pretty desperate. I order a Carlsberg. It’s good. It has a little more character than a Heinekin.

He’s really chatty, really charismatic. I think he could sense I really just wanted to talk to someone for a bit. He’s actually part-owner of Two Dogs. He also owns Club Infinity, which is probably the wildest club in Fukuoka. Right away he starts talking about how Red Bull is flying him out to Tokyo in the morning because Infinity puts away mad cases. Infinity is a decent sized club, but it’s not like, big. It’s not the sort of place that should be a world-leader in Red Bull sales. But, you know what? I’ve been there before, and you know what I think I ordered? A Red Bull and Vodka. We talked for a few hours before I excused myself. Really chill guy. I promised him I’d check out Infinity on Saturday and he promised me a shot.

I wandered for a bit longer, eventually walking into a bar called Uprising. My job as a writer is to use words to convey what I was feeling. I don’t know what words I would use to describe the surprise I felt walking in. I’m not the best writer. Uprising was empty except the bartender, who was just chilling at the bar, having a cigarette. He’s a giant black dude with an astounding number of dreads tucked under his hat. Some vaguely rasta music playing. I was looking to relax and that, that happened to be exactly what I needed. He introduced himself as Hector and we chatted for a bit. He’s originally from Ghana, but if you’re American, a Ghanese(?) accent sounds really, really Jamaican. Eventually, his buddy came in and they started watching the highlights from the Ghana versus Ecuatorial Guinea soccer game. Maybe not. I really don’t understand Soccer any better than Football. As a sidenote, they call it Soccer in Japan and Korea, not football. Suck it, Europe.

I cut a lot of things out of my posts. They’re already bordering on monsterous and it takes way longer to write them than read them. Case in point: It’s Friday. I’m writing about Tuesday right now. One of the things I cut out was I ran into a drummer Saturday. I was carrying around my bass. We exchanged numbers and agreed to jam sometime. Well, he walks into Uprising and I still have my bass.

He’s Canadian. He goes, “Shit, you want to go jam right now? I know a bar that has a drumkit” And honestly, I want to do nothing less. I am not a good bassist. I really don’t want to play around people. I have a rule, though, a very, very important rule: If something terrifies me, I do it. So I warn him I’m bad, but I agree.

I thank Hector and I walk out with the drummer (his name is Richard). We weave through a couple of alleys and duck into this beautiful, shitty little music pub. Everyone there instantly loves me because of the hat. It’s all Jimmi Hendrix posters and shit on the walls. We order a beer and they manage to convince me to just jam a little. Richard starts in with a nice, simple little beat.

I am a bad bassist. I play sludge and doom metal, which is not technically complicated. So I go in with a really, really slow little riff, just a few notes a measure. They fucking worked with it. This old dude comes in with an electric guitar on his lap and starts turning my shitty little riff into something beautiful. This other guy comes in on a saxaphone and harmonizes with it. Another bassist comes in and fucking rescues me. I start playing what he’s playing and he opens up on another riff. Two basses sounds really cool, no lie.

Afterward, I felt like everyone was mad at me for sucking, but they were really encouraging. It was admittedly more of a, “We’ll make you better” than a “you’re really good” but they were pleased nonetheless.

Also, technically, I just played in front of people, which is on my bucket list. So, I guess I can mark that off.

After that, I met up with Ayami and we got my shit out of the coin locker (which took a while, because I couldn’t remember which locker). Ultimately, it worked out okay.

 

Roomie

So, I wrote this a few days ago and asked my friend Yuni to contribute…something as filler. So that’s what that last thing was. I have a steady connection now (I think), so I should be able to drop science on a more regular basis.

It’s been a few days since I wrote last. I haven’t been able to get to a computer. I still can’t get wi-fi, so I’m not sure when I’ll actually be able to post this. Hopefully soon. I’ve decided on a new title for myself: Professional Vagabond. Except I don’t really make money at it, so it’s a misnomer. And I’m definitely more of a vagrant than a vagabond. Still, it sounds a hell of a lot better than Career Hobo, which is probably a more accurate name.

When I last left you, I told you that I was meeting this girl at midnight and that she was going to let me crash on her couch. We’re going to call her Ayami. I’m pretty sure I could use her real name without any problems, because she doesn’t speak English, but maybe her friends… I’m not sure. I don’t want to risk complications for anyone who isn’t me.

Speaking of complications, I know a fair number of people read this blog. Bosses, ex-girlfriends, people who’ve had crushes on me for years and are afraid to say anything. A lot of people who probably don’t want to hear about my naked body for any reason.

On the other hand, this sort of blog requires a disturbing amount of honesty. If I start not talking about things, then I might start self-censoring to make sure people don’t worry about me. It’s like a quest for journalism thing. I’m going to put a big, red NSFW label at the top of posts where I talk about me having sex so you know to avoid it (actually, you can probably still read it at work. I’m not putting in pictures or anything).

That aside took way longer than I expected. I really need an editor. Anyway. I was supposed to meet Ayami at Mister Donut in Hakata Station at midnight. This is on the other side of Fukuoka, but at this point, I pretty much walk everywhere anyway. I really don’t mind an hour walk here or there. I waited around in Tenjin until about 9:00, then walked to Hakata.

Hakata kind of scares me. It’s not that it’s dangerous, it’s just the other side of the tracks. To get there, you have to go through Nakasu, which again, isn’t ACTUALLY dangerous, it’s just full of Kyabakura and Girl’s Bars (which are different, turns out) and little massage parlors that probably don’t just stick to the back-and-shoulders. There also aren’t any lights except neon, which gives the whole thing a dark, sinister appearance.

I ended up getting lost. Lost isn’t the right word. I’m always lost here. Really, I just walked in the wrong direction for a while before I realized it, then I walked back the other way. By the time I got to Hakata Station, it was like… 10:30 and my legs were pretty damn sore. I had a hell of a time finding Mister Donut. There are probably 100 different shops in Hakata Station, over three floors. There was a group of people closing up a coffee shop, and they were waving and trying to talk to me (because of the hat), so I asked them. That actually made it pretty easy. I found it at around 11:30. I got a donut (which was a chocolate cake donut that was somehow also cream-filled) and sat down in the smoking section. Then, I played chess on my phone for the better part of an hour. (I fucking love chess)

If I cared about looking cool, I’d say that I didn’t worry. It’s way too late for that. Yeah, I definitely thought that there was a chance that the person that offered me a couch to crash on after knowing me an hour wasn’t going to show up. But, she did. We walked from there to a little Izakaya nearby. We hung out for a little bit, had some beer and some shochu, then she invites her friend over. He’s a big golfer, and I know this because he brought his clubs to the bar (I think he’d just come from playing golf). His English was really good, so it was much easier for all of us to talk.

He’s a really interesting guy, apparently runs the Fukuoka branch of some company. He told me we have to go out drinking sometime, so I’m totally down. It’s much easier for me to make friends here. I think it’s because it’s hard for Japanese people to make friends normally and I kind of fit outside of the system. Or maybe it’s the hat.

I uh, didn’t want to walk back to Tenjin, so I crashed at Ayami’s house. This meant that I had to run and grab all my stuff from my hotel in the morning before checkout and bring it back, but that can be a story for tomorrow.

Choices

Let’s see, where did I leave off… Oh right, the kind lady offered to let me stay at her place. Well, I rolled some dice and…

  1. got a 44   →   proceed to BLOCK CAT
  2. got a 58   →   proceed to BLOCK TAPIR

CAT
I decided that she was way too young for me. I mean, no offense 20-something year-olds, I’m sure you guys are great. But anybody born post-1918 is just… creepy. So I made my way to the Furusato-kan. You know those World War II soldiers that were found decades after the war was over, hiding in the jungles from enemies that no longer exist? Imagine that, but a whole village, and it’s from 1880~1920s ish. And they weren’t hiding. They just wanted tourists. Anyways, the point is the village is in the right target zone for me, so off I went. Furusato-kan was beautiful. There were old men hand-painting bowls and miniatures, a place to try your hand at pounding mochi with a large mallet (now I know where the idea of King Dedede and Kirby came from), and… no booze. Yeah, fuck that. I pulled out the dice…

  1. and rolled a 53   →   proceed to BLOCK OCELOT
  2. and rolled a 91   →   proceed to BLOCK MACAW

TAPIR
For some reason, I told her that I wasn’t drunk enough to make a decision yet. Which was a half-lie. She hailed down a taxi and took me to what looked like one of those old Japanese houses that yakuza live in, combined with an industrial factory. As I was eyeing this building warily, my guide tugged on my sleeve and told me in broken English that we were standing in front of “The One Hundred Year Cellar”. Which sounded way too much like some place Lemongrab would send his prisoners. I started backing away from the gigantic cellar… thing when a breeze carried the most heavenly scent to me. Sake. I was standing in front of a giant sake cellar. I could have kissed the lady. …I should have kissed the lady. …Damn. The place wasn’t exactly designed to be a tourist attraction, so the managers were pleasantly surprised to see a foreigner show interest in their craft. They treated me to their best brews and… Well, I don’t really remember much after that. I vaguely remember…

  1. quacking like a duck   →   proceed to BLOCK MACAW
  2. flapping my arms, trying to imitate a moth   →   proceed to BLOCK CTHULHU

OCELOT
53… Fuck. The Fukuoka International Congress Center? I mean, I guess I’m international. Let’s say I congressed in there a lot. I congressed the fuck out of that center. Still no booze though. →   BLOCK BOOZELESS

MACAW
For those of you who have seen my cane, I’m sure you’re familiar with its selfie-stick function. For those of you who haven’t seen my cane, it can turn into a selfie-stick. I attempted to get a picture of myself to stick on this blog, but my lady friend suddenly grabbed my selfie-stick and… disappeared. I guess my cane was a Portkey. Or maybe it was a Portkey only in selfie-stick mode. We’ll never know. Tune in next time for Top Hat and… uh, Portkey!!

CTHULHU
BLOOPBLOOPBLOOPBLOOPBLOOOOPGLORPBLOOPSCHLORPPPPP

BOOZELESS
At this point I was starting to experience the staggering effects of sobriety. It had been too long since my last drink. My ears were ringing, and I could feel something warm trickle down from my left nostril. I tried to turn to my guide to ask her to take me somewhere I could down a beer, but for some reason I found myself facing a five-foot tall teddy bear. It placed a reassuring paw on my arm. “You’ve had a good run, Parker. Let’s go.” “Lead the way, Nolan.” Fin

http://www.jalan.net/kankou/400000/400100/page_1/?screenId=OUW1324

Fast friends

So, the Seahawks are going to the Superbowl again. I might not follow football, but it’s nice to see Seattle excited about anything other than a gasping hope of sunshine.

Yesterday worked out…amazingly well. I spent the morning writing and getting food, and I found that after I stopped panicking and calmed down, I actually really like it here. I love Fukuoka, I love the people, the language and the food. So that took me out of survival mode for a bit and I’m actually doing much better. I came home and took an intense power-nap, took a bath (the tub is deep enough that I could submerge more than half my body at a time! Suck it, America!), and shaved.

The amount of revitalization was astounding. I had a list of hotels that two of my friends that speak Japanese compiled for me (I love you guys) and I decided before I “went out,” I’d check three of them and maybe even get a room. The websites said that they were like $20 a night, so that would be fine until I can find an apartment.

Unfortunately, all of the websites lied. The best any of the places could do was $52, which is $7 more than I’m paying now. I had better luck walking in and hoping for the best than I did doing research.

I stopped at a little machine-cafe (you know the kind where you put your order in and it gives you a ticket? No? I’ll explain it in detail some other time) and had…more ramen. The ramen here is delicious, it’s cheap, and…some other thing, probably.

After that, I decided I’d actually hit up Cream (which was my favorite bar before), which sounds like a stupid idea, but it worked out pretty well. There were three ladies there who were just super excited that I walked in. We sat and drank and talked for a while (in a mish-mash of broken English and broken Japanese). They kept telling me how attractive I was, but confessed that I was too young for them. They were all between 27 and 32. Frankly, I didn’t think they were too old, but I could tell that the age thing freaked them out, so I didn’t flirt back very hard. They knew Sam (my New Zealander friend, if you’ve read the backlog) and said he was probably working at Echo tonight. The also actually told me where Echo was, which was really nice.

So I crossed the street and headed in. Echo was dead. I mean, like Sunday night dead. Still, Sam was indeed there behind the bar and my god did I ever need to see a friendly face. I ordered a whiskey (which he was kind enough to pour a little heavy for me) and we chatted about everything from his new wife to his stay in Seattle. It felt really good to open up to someone in person, instead of over the internet. I think the whiskey helped, too. He suggested that I check out a website that had English listings for apartments and reckoned that I could probably get one for like $300 a month. This really put me at ease. That’s six days at the place I’m staying at now. I could actually stay here for two months at that price. I bid him goodbye and promised to come see him again.

Had this been the end of my story, I would have gone home happy, gotten up and searched for apartments in the morning. I think that’s probably how life goes for normal people. I’m not 100% sure. I was walking behind an older lady and a young man trying to support a very, very drunk girl. I felt bad and I was trying to figure out if there was a way I could help without seeming super fucking creepy. God knows I know what being drunk is like. I ended up engaged in a lovely discussion with the older lady’s husband. He was pretty hammered, but he lived in the United States most of the year, so his English was great. He asked me how the Seahawks were doing and I had to admit that I didn’t know. I think technically, at the time (time change and all), they still hadn’t made it through the playoffs.

They excused themselves to a pub and a DIFFERENT group of people started talking to me. I guess once you prove you won’t bite, people are more likely to stick out an arm. This group was headed to the pub next door and they invited me to go with them. Their English was only a little better than my Japanese, but between the two languages and hand gestures, we had no problem shooting the shit.

Turns out, the three of them are in the restaurant industry, so we got along really very well. I made new friends! They even bought me a couple of drinks (which they refused to let me pay for). The woman (who I think is pretty cute) actually offered to let me stay at her house. She was pretty drunk, but they all insisted that she really, really, really meant it and that I wouldn’t be a burden at all. So, basically, I met someone on the street and they offered to let me move in. It’s definitely a little bit crazy, but I’m a pretty good judge of people and neither of them seem like they have any interest in stabbing me or taking all my stuff or keeping me in a sex dungeon for three months. So…I guess things are looking up. Besides, if it doesn’t work out, I can still get an apartment for a month.