Thursday, February 3, 2011

Lonely Japan: Fish

This is part 3 of Lonely Japan, an ongoing series written by a friend of mine. If you haven't, check out part 1 and part 2.

Wasn’t much to do where I got off. I went to a conbini (think it was an AMPM-not as good as Lawson), bought a drink and decided I should go to a bar. Japanese bars are nice in that they tell you their beer prices before you go in, usually on a little blackboard folding sign outside the bar. Draft beer for 500 yen was the price point I was looking for. Found one nestled in between what looked like a house and a restaurant that specialized in shiny hambagu and cabbage (if the plastic food in the window was any indication). Had to go down some narrow stairs to get to the bar. Slipped once, but managed to catch myself before falling too far.

There were 5 people in the bar - the bartender, a guy in his 20’s (maybe 30’s?) with a girl of around the same age, a salary man, and me. I sat at the bar, leaving a stool in between myself and the salary man, and started drinking a medium mug of whatever happened to be on tap. The bar tender put a little dish of what looked like tuna and maybe some daikon in front of me. I ate it—wasn’t bad. On my second mug the salary man turned to me (he was drunk too) and started speaking to me in Japanese. I think he was talking about nuclear bombs. He didn’t leave much room for me to add anything to the conversation so it didn't matter that I couldn’t really understand him. I didn’t notice him getting annoyed either, so I continued to nod along with whatever he was saying and ordered a third mug. I spilled the last half of my third beer all over the bar and the floor. Some of it got on the girl’s shoes. She looked unhappy. I decided to leave.

Managed to arrive at the train station close to my dorm and set about retrieving my bicycle from the underground parking garage. There weren’t many bicycles left at that hour so it was easy to find. I remember someone telling me once that riding a bicycle while intoxicated was illegal in Japan. I’m not sure why it is (if it is), the only person you are going to hurt is yourself. I was an expert at drunk riding and there were no koban on the way to my dorm so I rode on down the street. Stopped at the Lawson on the way and picked up some chips, a plate of pepperoncini pasta, a box-cutter, some Black Nikka, coke, and a little cup of ice.

Near the dorm was a bridge crossing a little creek. Moon was bright enough to see the water and the blue tarps and cardboard set up underneath, maybe it was just the light from the surrounding houses. I remember some people used to fish in the creek during the day. Don’t remember ever seeing any fish, though I’m not sure you should eat them even if there were. I stopped on the bridge and stared down at the light reflecting off the water. Reminded me of stars. Looked up at the sky and saw only the moon and darkness.

The dorm I lived in was home to mostly unmarried salary men and a handful of foreigners. I rarely saw any of the salary men. There was one time when I first arrived at the dorm that one of them invited me to hang out. We sat in his room drinking awful tasting Korean alcohol that came in some kind of juice box while he showed me his computer and his manga collection I brought him to my room and showed him my computer, he said the fan on it sounded like a hair dryer. We finished our alcohol boxes and I never saw him again. If not for the blue light that sometimes came out from underneath their doors at night you’d think no one lived there at all.

When I got home the hallway was completely dark. I went into my room, stepped over the piles of clothes and empty boxes, made myself a drink and sat down in front of the computer. After a while I couldn’t read the words on the screen anymore and figured it was probably a good time to go to sleep. I had exams the next day.

1 comment:

  1. I can definitely see why your friend doesn't want his name attached to this series. Yeesh.