Quarter of a Century

As Monday was one of Ryan’s few days off, I had decided to tag along and join his merry group of friends in Kobe instead of spending one more repetitive day in Osaka. After meeting Ryan at the Sannomiya station around noon, several NPCs joined our party. In order of appearance:

Nick – Kiwi English teacher

Kaya – Japanese travel agent

Atsushi – Japanese post office worker

Keiko – Japanese nurse

Later on, Ryan’s fiancée Sayumi also teamed up with us us for what ended up being a day worth remembering. In the early afternoon Atsushi and Keiko took us to the café of hotel Piena, which was renowned for its homemade jam, a specialty used in outrageously innovative ways: adding jam in coffee to create… *drumroll* jam coffee. The place was viciously overpriced, with jam coffee costing ¥680 and the pastries hovering around ¥500. Coffee and apricot jam did not mix particularly well, either. However, the cozy café proved to be a very efficient chatting venue for the couple of hours we spent there.

No jam!

Meeting Japanese people without Basti also resulted in a cleansing and confidence-building experience. Suddenly, I was no longer the retard that could not speak Japanese properly but instead became a respected part of the community. In fact, the Japanese might have gotten slightly too excited at my projected level of Japanese considering 75% of it is bluff and the rest is made of anime quotes. Atsushi in particular provided me with a couple of generous references I’m eager to include in my future résumés:

-Your humor… very high level.

-I respect

-Smart cool guy.

I was also suggested a career as a manzai comedian.


Although Atsushi doesn’t drink and Ryan had warned me that he will most likely not be joining us later for the izakaya, we eventually managed to persuade him anyway. The local Torikizoku had been located earlier just in case the situation later needed it, which it did. Thus, the evening soon carried on with the standard prescription of tanrei, edamame, cabbage, chicken heart, nankotsu, kara-age, pickled eggplant, toriheiyaki, torikamameshi, chikin nanban and camembert korokke. I am not going to explain any of those terms, except cabbage. It’s cabbage.

Atsushi and I talked lengthily about topics like Finnish summer, midnight sun, auroras, Fukushima, Japanese politics as well as English and Japanese studies. The discussion was executed with a peculiar combination of English and Japanese, with each of us speaking the language we were able to least communicate with. 勉強になるな.

We left Toriki around 8, earlier than ever before. On the way to the station we passed through a narrow street with an uncanny resemblance to Sector 7 slums. I failed to take any pictures worth publishing, though. With the exception of Sayumi, the Japanese coalition headed home at this point while the rest of us resumed drinking at Ryan’s place, emptying bottles of shochu that his radiophobic ex-colleague had left behind before escaping the country a week prior. Eventually, we accompanied Nick and Sayumi to the station so they could catch the last train back to Osaka before attempting to watch an episode of Dennou Coil and passing out on the floor.


  1. “each of us speaking the language we were able to least communicate with”

    That’s the perfect way. I always insisted on speaking only Udmurt to Udmurt students willing to practice their English with me.

    Onnee, muuten (tai vordskem nunalenyd)!

  2. Did you see any suspicious looking Turks trying to blow up the sector’s pillar?
    I’m up for a round of Toriki & Ring, hopefully in June.

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