Japan – Day 4

Day 3

It might be about time I finish the story of this disastrous trip. It’s only been over 3 years at this point. So, Day 4…

I woke up on what looked to be an auspicious, sunny day to find Reed in his flight suit and getting ready for work. This was the one day he couldn’t get out of working because he had to go in to train.

Now, before my visit when we had discussed this particular day, he told me I was free to hang around the house, or he could instruct me on how to get around on the train so I could get out of the house while he was gone…whatever I wanted to do.

As we were discussing it that morning, he was telling me about some shopping center that he thought I might like that was one train stop away from the train station nearest his house.

I followed him downstairs while he fixed his coffee or whatever to get more detailed instructions about how to get to it, as I was a little intimidated trying to take on a solo adventure. My previous international adventures involved English-speaking or Spanish-speaking countries where even though I might not be fluent (in the case of Spanish), I can still read and speak it a little bit. Or pretty much decipher any unknowns more accurately in any Latin-based language as opposed to Japanese.

As I asked him questions to make sure I understood everything he was telling me accurately, I could sense some irritation on his end. He was clearly annoyed with me. I asked him what was wrong and he snapped that I was asking him too many questions.

Oooookay…here we go with this shit again.

Having grown increasingly tired of his moodiness and snark over the past several days – these random bouts of attitude for seemingly no reason – I finally just had it up to *here* and asked him what the fuck his problem is.

The conversation that ensued was not a good one. He basically told me that he didn’t see this going anywhere because even when he got back to the US, he would still be 2,000 miles away from me. (Okay, we knew this beforehand.)

Oh! And apparently I looked “bigger” in person than in my pictures. Ummm…what?

One thing I do not do, and have never done, is catfish, kitten-fish, fat-fish, or what have you. I sent Reed selfies, videos, sugar, spice, and everything nice showing exactly what I looked like. So I was very taken aback by that comment. Granted, I was about 15 pounds heavier then than I am now, but now I’m thinner thanks to the subsequent complex that that very comment gave me. So maybe some good came out of it.

Soon enough though, after a bit of back and forth, we got down to the real crux of the issue: Reed’s ex.

As it turned out (and maybe I should’ve ascertained this before going halfway around the world – will be good to know for next time), Reed had broken up with some Marine Corps girl in May of that year. He hadn’t really been home a lot in the time since then and my visit, and in preparing for me to come, it was the first time he had the chance to clean out the remnants of her belongings from his house. That apparently brought up some residual feelings.

Ah…so that explains his apparent aggravation with my very presence that had been rearing its ugly head intermittently throughout our time together: he still has feelings for his ex and I’m not her. And in learning later what she looked like, his “big” comment made a little more sense too. She was very lanky. But frankly, not pretty at all. An awkward looking redhead with a big nose. But hey, if that’s what you’re into, then who am I to judge?

Soon after this conversation with all of its horrid revelations, Reed had to go to work. Suddenly, funnily enough, I didn’t feel like going anywhere so I resigned myself to a day of lounging on the couch, drinking Chu-His, and thinking about where exactly things went awry in my life to find myself in a foreign country in the house of a man who apparently didn’t want me there.

Though Reed had departed on tense terms, he eventually started texting me on Line throughout the day to check on me and see what I was doing.

He came home that evening with a bottle of wine for me, seemingly in the spirit of being conciliatory. I thought that was sweet of him.

That night, the plan was to go to his favorite neighborhood sushi spot where he was tight with the owner. Reed grabbed a bottle of Tullamore D.E.W. to present to the owner and we set off for the place, which was a 10-minute walk from his house. Despite the events of that morning, the atmosphere between us was normal and pleasant. No tension, no arguing. Neither of us brought anything up.

We got to the spot and were sat by the owner, who then proceeded to regale us with plate after plate of the most exquisite sushi I’ve ever had in my life, to include squid and whale varieties, which I had never had before.

Reed had made plans with one of his squadron mates to meet him there, and he did after a little bit. This appeared to be a place that his squadron frequented, as the owner had up various illustrations and pictures of jets that were signed by what I’m assuming are some of the pilots. The owner was very pleasant and his sushi was fantastic. Reed’s colleague was nice and I had a good time.

The owner delighted in the bottle of Tullamore D.E.W. that Reed brought and partook in a bit of it, but the majority was actually polished off by Reed himself. After we were done with sushi, the three of us headed over to a bar around the corner where we were supposed to meet up with his squadron mate’s girlfriend, but she ended up not coming.

Reed was drunk by then and only got drunker at the bar. But at least he was being nice. The only time he kind of snapped at me was when I could not stop being fascinated with a jar in the style of a Japanese cat sitting on the bar. He told me if I liked it all that much he would just buy it for me, but in a tone that suggested that he was tired of me being googly-eyed over it. But he made up for that by making me laugh by miming the pose of the cat repeatedly.

Reed was pissy drunk by the time we left and the walk back to his house was quite harrowing, especially with him stumbling and almost falling on the train tracks across from his house. Which a train travels along every 10 minutes or so. I was scared I would have to drag him across the tracks if he fell. But he managed to make it back to his house in all his drunken glory and we both passed out.

All-in-all, despite the events of that morning, it was a decent night and I had a good time.

Japan – Day 3

Day 2.5

So where we last left off, I had just come back from my impromptu late night jaunt with a complete stranger while Reed slept peacefully and probably never even knew I was gone. It was approaching daylight by the time I was back and I wasn’t tired so I figured I’d just get ready for the day so the bathroom would be free for him whenever he woke up.

When he did, I think I mentioned that I went out for a little bit but I don’t recall telling him the extent of my adventure.

Our plans for the day were to first get some breakfast and then to take a tour of some old castle he wanted to go to before we left Osaka.

We went downstairs to in the hotel to eat and while things were quiet I tried to make a joke of the night before, how we were really drunk and wandering around trying to find the restaurant that we never did. It was supposed to be in a “ha ha, wasn’t that hilarious?” kind of way. He completely failed to acknowledge me when I said it though, and it was in such a way that I knew that he was pointedly ignoring me. So I said it again.

He responded with, “WHAT, ARE YOU TRYING TO MAKE FUN OF ME BECAUSE I DIDN’T KNOW WHERE I WAS GOING?!”

Oh, good Lord.

No, Reed, I explained, I was not making fun of you…we were both drunk and had no idea where we were. I just thought it was funny. That’s all. Excuse me for breathing.

The rest of the breakfast was eaten in pretty much an awkward silence akin to the walk to the bar the day before.

When we were done eating we went to check out and to have the front desk hold our bags until we got back from the castle.

I truly forget if we had to take a train one stop or two, or if it was walking distance, but we got there successfully and by the time we were on the path in, he had apologized for being a dick at breakfast. But it was already becoming apparent by these sensitive outbursts of his that something was seriously awry here.

Anyway, pics from the castle…

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What’s a castle without a moat?

It was pretty much like a museum inside, with cool artifacts and what not.

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Osaka Castle history, for anyone interested.
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Mr. Sensitive

We stopped at a restaurant to have lunch afterward and then when we were done we retrieved our bags from the hotel and got back to the bullet train for the 2 or 3 hour or whatever it was journey back to Tokyo. I fell asleep for most of it.

We got back to his house without incident and he fixed us a frozen pizza for dinner. We were both beat and he had to work the next day, so sleep came pretty easily for both of us.

And thus concludes Day 3.

Day 4

Japan – Day 2.5

Day 2

I woke up in the middle of the night at the Cross Hotel Osaka and quickly found, to my chagrin, that going back to sleep was not in my immediate future. This is where the drastic time difference started to wreak havoc. Though it was 2 a.m. in Japan, my body was obviously still significantly attached to the time zone it knew and loved at home, where it was 1 p.m.

Hmm…what to do, what to do…

My first inclination was that Reed might like some play time, but when I tried to wake him up he grumpily pushed me away and said he was trying to sleep. Well okay then, jackass.

Screw that. Intent on not doing anything further to annoy Reed as well as not squandering one solitary moment of my trip, I opted to venture out to do some exploring on my own. I wasn’t quite sure what the scene was like outside, or what time everything closed down or whatever, but I could sense that the Osaka night wasn’t quite finished through the limited information I could take in from the hotel window. So I figured what the hey…I’m only wandering alone out in the middle of the night in a foreign country – what could go wrong? I hurriedly put on some clothes and freshened myself up to get this party started. I’m not even sure if Reed registered that I was on my way out or not, and wasn’t really interested in letting him know.

I walked out of the hotel to find the streets of Osaka still alive and kicking. I stood out front for a little bit to take in my surroundings. I had no idea what my plan was or where to even attempt to go. I just had a vague idea in my head of walking off some of my restlessness. But before I could even take a step, I noticed a guy coming over to me. He said a greeting (I guess) that I didn’t understand and then continued with other unknown utterances in Japanese while I stood there tilting my head like a confused puppy and giving him a blank look. He quickly caught on to the fact that I had no idea what the hell he was talking about and pulled out his phone to utilize Google Translate. Oh, the wonders of modern technology! He wanted to know if I wanted to go to a bar. Sure! He indicated that I follow him, and though I was mildly nervous about following some strange man to an unknown location, I did it anyway because I’m just stupid adventurous like that.

As we navigated the crowded side streets and started taking various turns, I make a point to pay strict attention to our path. The potential perils of gallivanting off somewhere with a stranger in the middle of the night are obvious enough, but on top of that I also happen to have a terrible sense of direction.  While there was always a minuscule chance that I’d end up vanishing and/or murdered, I was much more worried about just simply not being able to find my way back to the hotel. To kill several birds with one stone, I started sending texts to Reed to document my trail.

LateNightJourney
The guy who did not kidnap me.

They didn’t go through because I didn’t have cellular service, but they were at least saved into the text message for me to either refer to on my way back, assuming I am alive, or for the authorities to retrace my steps. I also took a picture of this person from behind for good measure. In hindsight, none of that would’ve helped in the least bit in the event of my demise because everything was stuck in my phone and I’m sure that would’ve disappeared along with me, but it felt proactive and intelligent at the time.

We didn’t end up too far from the hotel. It was probably 7 or so minutes before he leads me into a building and upstairs into a nearly empty bar. We commandeer a table and he gestures to me about a drink. I respond in the affirmative and soon after am presented with some random beer. Then we commence mostly staring at each other quizzically and trying to make small talk through his phone.He asks me a question about sex with a Japanese man – I think to ask me if I’ve ever been with one. I couldn’t be sure if that was his way of trying to hit on me or if he was just asking matter-of-factly. He didn’t press either way. I thought it was odd but I wasn’t majorly uncomfortable.

Several moments later a few more guys came out of the woodwork – people who work there that he knows, I surmised. I wasn’t really sure if the bar was open or closed or what its status was, but in either case it was only us there so they sat around to chill as well. Some of them knew more English than others, but communication was still tricky and stilted.

But no worries, because if there is one thing that Japanese people love, it’s karaoke. And soon enough we had a jam session in our midst. And just like that, I’m having the time of my life in a bar in Osaka, Japan, at 3 a.m., drinking and listening to Japanese men who can barely speak English sing round after round of American pop and rock songs. Absolute magnificence. A definite once-in-a-lifetime experience. Notable renditions included Whitney Houston’s I Will Always Love You and Bon Jovi’s Livin’ On a Prayer. You truly have not lived until you have heard Japanese men singing these songs.

It was probably a little after 4 a.m. by the time I started to feel like I should wrap things up. I excused myself to the restroom and then came back and indicated somehow that I ready to get my tab and roll. My tab came to 18,000 or so yen, or $160ish American dollars. YIKES! Between the drinks and the karaoke rounds I sang, those bastards got me. Take THAT, stupid American tourist! But whatevs. I had a good time and I really hadn’t spent any real money yet, so it was worth it. I paid, wished everyone a good night, and left to try to find my way back to the hotel.

Back outside it was still dark, but the sky was at the beginning stages of lightening. The streets had cleared out for the most part, but they weren’t completely desolate. I felt maybe the slightest bit more intimidated being totally alone, but I didn’t have any problems. Between my memory and my notes, I didn’t have too much trouble getting back to the hotel.

What a delightful random adventure that was.

Reed was still asleep when I got back to the room. He probably had never even known I left. I still wasn’t tired at this point, and as dawn was now upon us I figured I’d just go on ahead and start readying myself for the day, starting with the marvelous shower room.

ShowerRoom
The marvelous shower room.

Day 3