I woke up on the early-ish side to a bright, sunny, glorious day. I was momentarily taken aback to open my eyes to a room that was not my own, and then it suddenly hit me: I’m in Japan. Reed was still asleep; I let him be because I wanted him to rest and I really didn’t know what his routine was. Besides, I wanted to get the chance to primp and look my best without him being privy to all my beauty secrets. It’s a girl thing. I showered and dressed and made myself up and then kind of just waltzed around the house on my own, exploring some.
When Reed eventually awakened and got his morning hygiene routine going, I took the opportunity to venture outside and check out the neighborhood some in the daylight. His house was about 30 feet away from some train tracks that brought a train rumbling through a couple of times or so an hour, but it wasn’t particularly loud or disturbing, thank goodness. Seemed to be a pretty decent neighborhood. Clean and quiet and scenic.
I only had a vague idea of what the plan for the day was. I knew we were going to Osaka, but I wasn’t really clear on how far away it was or how long we were staying. I learned last minute that it was several hours away by train ride and we’d be staying overnight, so I had to hurriedly pack. Part of me was not so keen on having to do any heavy traveling again being barely half a day removed from a 12-hour flight, but I set my feelings aside in the spirit of going with the flow.
My spirits lifted exponentially once I saw that Reed came out of the house holding a beer for himself and a chu-hi for me, properly equipped with koozies. A chu-hi is a Japanese flavored malt beverage drink very similar to the American Four Loko. That told me he was in the mood to relax and chill out and make a whimsical adventure of our journey at least, so that put me in a better mood. One great thing about Japan, among the plethora of great things, is that public alcohol consumption is not illegal, and thus we were free to comfortably partake in our respective beverages along our half-mile journey to the train station.
Reed was delightful in showing me the ropes in navigating the Japanese metro system. I suppose it’s pretty standard issue despite being in a foreign country, but I’ve not taken public transportation much since my high school and college days so I’m pretty much a novice at it. We had to take a couple of metro trains until we finally arrived at the station which housed the bullet train, or shinkansen. There, Reed secured us 2 tickets for the train that would take us to Osaka. I later found out they were a plenty hefty price – I think they were a little over $100 U.S. dollars a piece, which he graciously paid for without mention. I told him I’d pay for them on the return trip.
The bullet train was a pleasant experience. It was a 3+ hour trip, so that gave Reed and I chance to connect some and I got to see some beautiful Japan scenery. The seats were comfy and a cart came around every so often filled to the brim with snacks and chu-his. We had our fill of alcohol along the way, but it wasn’t to the point of drunkenness…just a giddy tipsiness.
Once we arrived to our destination station and disembarked, I think we had to take one more normal metro to get us within walking distance of the hotel. Or perhaps we were already within walking distance of the hotel as it is. I can’t remember.
In any case, we arrived and checked in to the lovely Cross Hotel Osaka. I had absolutely no input into the hotel selection process, which didn’t bother me a bit as I’m not astoundingly picky when it comes to accommodations, but Reed made a good call. I always especially enjoy boutique hotels as opposed to the ubiquitous chain. Boutique hotels have character. And Cross Hotel Osaka was all about character – it wasn’t particularly bright and smiley and inviting…it was dark and moody and atmospheric. It was almost a little scary, with its black walls and blood red striping on the doors in the hallways. Something different though, at least.
It was mid- to late-afternoon at this point. Reed and I got to our room and settled and then chilled out a bit while we decided what to do for the evening. Dinner was definitely markered in on our agenda for some time later in the night, but to whet our appetites beforehand we decided to head to a bar or something to continue getting our drink on and maybe a snack. In the meantime we were just lying together on the bed talking and having not a problem in the world. Great day so far.
Until I jokingly made reference to an incident involving a Chinese fighter jet toying with a U.S. plane. And yeah, I made it in an impish sort of way to pick at Reed the Navy pilot, i.e. in a manner as to suggest that the U.S. military got punked by the Chinese military, but in a completely light-hearted way.
Well, Reed took serious offense to my comment to the extent where he snapped at me very abrasively. I don’t remember exactly what his initial comment was, but he went off on a rant about how I don’t know what I’m talking about and I don’t know anything about the U.S. military.
Well that caught me off guard because that was the first time that he had ever been mean to me. Scathingly, willfully mean. It hurt my feelings and it’s not my normal style, but it was within hours of being my time of the month and he was being a first-class prick, so I got a little teary-eyed. I didn’t, like, start boo-hooing or anything, but that did sting me a little.
I apologized, turned away from him, and then we sat in awkward silence for a little while as he looked up local bars. He kind of thought out loud at some points as if he wanted feedback, and I would give him short answers that I’m sure made it clear that I wasn’t really in the mood to talk with him. At one point he DID actually make a half-ass apology, but I didn’t really wanna hear it at that point and I made it known. Which never helps matters because at this point I’m just tossing the volley back at him when he was trying to make amends, but again, IT WAS ALMOST MY TIME OF THE MONTH AND I AM ALLOWED TO BE SALTY FOR AS LONG AS I WANT!
But I would never let a sour attitude get in the way of drinking, so once he found a place he was satisfied with and figured out how to get there and was ready to go, I dutifully followed him out of the hotel and we embarked on probably the quietest, most awkward 10-minute walk that has ever taken place in the world. Very physically together; very mentally distant. And it showed, as he walked slightly ahead of me most of the way and I lagged behind. But again, to his credit, he would make intermittent efforts to communicate on the way – like pointing things out to me about our surroundings.
It wasn’t long before the bar was in sight and I felt a sense of relief at the opportunity to be around the energy of other people that would help to dilute the tension between Reed and I. Success!
Or not. The bar wasn’t open yet. We were like 12 minutes too early. Round 2 of forced-company awkwardness as we stood on the street looking dumb waiting for the bar to open. Not speaking, not making eye contact – like strangers.
This episode lasted until Reed made some comment on something or other and I replied back that I’m actually not stupid, which he never actually said to me, but I guess that’s just how his mini-tirade made me feel for some reason. He came over to me, stood right in front of me and explained that he never said I was stupid and then apologized again and gave me a kiss. Aw.
We debriefed each other right after on why this became a “thing” – the moral of that story was that Reed takes it severely personally when he thinks anyone is trash-talking the American military. Duly noted. Very Type-A, prima donna-ish characteristics that I guess I should’ve expected from a Navy pilot and been careful about.
After that, all was well. We let bygones be bygones and by that time the bar had opened and so lots of ingestion of alcohol ensued. I can’t remember if we ate anything there or not, but we had several rounds of drinks and did a shot or two. I got pretty inebriated, so exactly when we left is a mystery to me, but I know that Reed had selected a restaurant within walking distance that he wanted to go to and we were headed there. Only…he had trouble finding it. Most likely because was drunk. And maybe a little bit too that it was his first time in Osaka, but probably more so because he was drunk.
But we had not a care in the world because we were drunkenly meandering around the neon-lit streets of Osaka together, giggling away when each successive person we tried to have direct us to this restaurant didn’t really seem to know what we were talking about or where this place was. We pressed on for a little while despite the odds, but then eventually hunger got the best of us and we decided to head into another random restaurant we happened past.
It turned out to be a yakiniku restaurant. There was a small grill pit in the center of the table, and the servers brought out bite-sized portions of raw meats of our choosing, along with various chopped vegetables and rice, and we grilled them right there at the table. Reed took care of all the grilling, and the result was absolute delectable-ness.
After that we made our way to another bar…God knows where because I was intoxicated and know nothing about Osaka but it was all within walking distance. We weren’t there for too long though because eventually I started feeling worn down and suggested we head back to the hotel. There, we secured ourselves a couple more chu-his from the lobby area or wherever and then returned to the room for a little more drinking and a little more sex. And passed out. The end.