Japan, I dig you.

HighballsJapan.jpg

The last few days have been rather busy. Several months ago my wife put out an invitation to all of our friends to be a host if they wanted to check out Japan. Her old high school friend decided to take her up on it and flew out here with her long time friend for some fun and adventure in the far East.

I was long overdue for some vacation time so I took two weeks off from work. A win-win situation. The first week is fully devoted to being a host and tour guide and next week will be my mini stay-cation dedicated to reading and writing.

Our guests have been great. We spent the last few days exploring Kamakura, drinking in the Honch, and hitting all the local Japanese malls. Tonight they decided to take it easy and recharge for our upcoming adventures in Tokyo and Yokohama. While they relaxed downstairs watching bad horror movies on Netflix, I retired to my office with some Whiskey Highballs and caught up on blogs and short stories.

Of course by 9pm I ran out of Highballs but still had plenty of posts to read. I decided to take a quick trip to the local neighborhood convenience store, Lawsons, for an alcohol supply refresher.

Here I am, two tall cans of booze buzzed, standing in line holding more booze. I started to feel self-conscious. I’m being the stereotypical drunken foreigner. It’s freeking Thursday! Making matters worse behind me in line are two 40 something Japanese, man and woman, dressed in crisp business attire.

I quickly paid for my illicit booze and decided to indulge my smoking vice outside the store. All I could think about was how they must be judging me. Wobbly drunk American degenerate. My built in puritan sensibilities kicked into high gear.

After several minutes they walked out of the store and came up to the smoking area. Both of them proceeded to light cigarettes and crack open freshly bought cans of Whiskey Highballs. We nodded good evening to each other and I smiled to myself re-affirmed in my ever increasing love for Japan.

Unfortunately coming home, my good mood was somewhat dampened by reading that the Nobel Prize in Literature was awarded to Bob Dylan over Murakami. Downright nonsense. Murakami is hands down one of the most fantastic writers I have ever read. Dylan is an overrated mumble-mouthed hippie burnout that I never found inspiring or interesting. Japan, you got robbed and my belief that awards are mostly nonsense got another solid affirmation.

Kanpai!!

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3 thoughts on “Japan, I dig you.

  1. Japan really does have the best cheap alcoholic beverages. My friend and I really dug those tall boys of Kirin Chu-hi (or I think that was what it was); I’m not sure if they fruit beers, alcopops or what, but they, by and large, help fuel our two study abroad weeks and keep our spirits up.

    Eventually, even our professor relented when it came to our perpetual bar-hopping, because despite our hard partying, we were the only students on the trip who weren’t constantly whining about being dragged to the umpteenth castle, Shinto shrine or Buddhist temple.

    I did manage to nag her into letting us go to Dan no Ura. “You know there’s nothing there, right? They built the city over the battlefield; there’s just one statue…” “I have to see where the emperor drowned and the sacred treasures were lost!” There was one of those story-teller guys with the little illustration cards hanging out there; it was awesome.

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    • Yeah, the sacred Chu-Hi. Sochu mixed with some fruit soda stuff and usually 9%. Cans of it go for about a dollar. They also have Chu-Hi stands where they mix it fresh in a mug for about 400 yen.

      Getting to live among so much history is my favorite aspect of being out here. I grew up in Southern California where the oldest buildings are Spanish Missions built in the 18th century. San Diego’s “old town” dates to the Wild West. Now I live 15 minutes from Kamakura and walk the same streets that Yorimoto did in the 12th century.

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      • While I don’t think I could live there, I loved it there and I miss it.

        Probably my most Gaijin moment, standing in line at the Daily Yamazaki, getting breakfast, stocking up the day’s beer supply, and an armload of Zeta Gundam figurines. It garnered me some dirty looks from salarymen, but it was one of the happiest moments of my life.

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