Tag Archives: beer

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.


Anxious Heart

At the end of another hectic day I find myself at the very place where my first Japanese adventure began in 2008, Hotel Chuo in Shin-Imamiya, Osaka. I have to emphasize how much I appreciate being in a place completely devoid of panic, and as a physical manifestation of that appreciation I just marched to the nearby combini to buy a real beer and some snacks. Although a celebrating would be inconceivable due to the general situation in the country, I truly believe I’ve earned some safety and comfort. My next move is to hit the public bath as soon as it opens.

Last night marked the first time I’ve ever been woken up by an earthquake. It very much resembled waking up from a nightmare. During the 15 seconds that I was sentient, I had the time to consider running out and also measure my heart rate, which was substantial. As soon as it was over, I fell asleep faster than an Engrish-speaking guard in the original Metal Gear.

Late in the morning my boss called me and suggested taking refuge in the West, as apparently I had no family or friends tying me to Tokyo to suffer with the rest. That rhymed. It didn’t rhyme on the phone, though. I’m awesome. Looking at the situation back in Tokyo with people getting increasingly anxious I finally decided to take a shinkansen towards Osaka on the very same day. Clear movement out of Tokyo was perceived all along the way with large numbers of people moving towards the Shinagawa and Tokyo stations with a reasonable amount of luggage that should not be present on any normal day.

The shinkansen ticket buying system was retarded, but I won’t go into details as it did already waste half an hour of my life. I also made the mistake of entering the first shinkansen I saw, which was already full. Considering I had a non-reserved seat (cheaper), I ended up having no seat at all until Nagoya. Despite all this, the journey was relatively painless. Tomorrow I’ll be applying for the alien registration card and re-entry permit, just in case. Update: this is not possible, as I do not really live in Osaka.