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Story Collection March 22, 2004

Posted by LHK in Japan.
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Sunday nights with Dorothy are becoming a tradition. Last week was the all-you-can-eat buffet at Sizzler (!) in Kameido. This week we were very directed. “What are you guys doing after work?” Vesta asked on Sunday morning. “We’re getting wasted,” I replied, very matter-of-factly. There’s always a goal, always a destination, but the real focus of the Sundays is the process of telling stories. We collect them over the week and then start spilling them all on Sunday afternoon, almost as soon as we can get out the doors of Nova and pass the Ukranian prostitutes always lurking by the hostess bars. Usually there isn’t time for all the stories, especially if one of us has made a resolution (flimsy or not) to catch the last train. We have to prioritize: stories about ourselves first, and then we’ll delve into the third-person tales we collect slyly, mostly about our male co-workers who don’t realize what good listeners we are. Last week was pretty epic. We were catching up on two international vacations, and so the massive food intake was justified by the energy we expended to talk about such huge topics. This week didn’t need to be so grandiose. We started before 6, with small pizzas and coffee at Cafe Tomato Jr., then headed across the street to Wara Wara, where we kept the bottles of wine coming until I forgot all my Japanese except “Hashira naito ikenai” (“I have to go running”) and our eyes were so bleary that they kept us from being able to see the menu and order any greasy izakaya food.

Stories (somewhat prioritized):
— how on Earth I ended up spending three hours talking philosophy with Jason and Ben on Friday night. How Jason demonstrated the creation of black holes with raw squid tentacles, soy sauce bottles, and dirty napkins. How I gleefully stumped Ben with my non-linear time theory, whereas Ben as a person usually stumps me. How Jason’s ultimate goal is to own a mall in Japan.

— how on Earth Dorothy and her ridiculously good-looking roommate ended up karaokeing with two Japanese businessmen they met at the Shin-Koiwa train station. How the roommate ended up making out with the older, married businessman, and how Dorothy is still waiting for the younger, cuter, unmarried one to call her.

— how Dorothy had a well-intended coffee outing with our co-worker Anna, but how they two of them discovered they had nothing in common and sat literally staring at each other for thirty minutes.

— how Dorothy had another well-intended coffee outing with our co-worker Grant, but how it turned into an excursion into the realm of Too Much Information when Grant told her all about “discovering the body” of one of the Japanese girls who used to work in the front office.

— my retelling of Craig’s disastrous third date with Sachiko. (“I just couldn’t talk to her at all. All I could think about was baseball.” — vintage Craig)

— my retelling of Ben and so-called boss Adam’s sordid night in Roppongi, when they ended up trapped in a Ukranian strip club while trying to “score some coke.”

We paid the bill after three hours and took the train to Shin-Koiwa, Dorothy’s station, where we did karaoke for an undetermined number of hours. There’s something oddly fun about doing karaoke with just one other person. It’s quirky. It’s unnatural — standing in a little dark room with a friend and screaming songs at each other for hours. We were stuck on singing Wham!’s “Careless Whisper” last night (“I’m never gonna dance again / guilty feet have got no rhythm”). We were queueing it up over and over, such that in the last hour, our queue on the screen read something like this:

1.) “Careless Whisper” — Wham!
2.) “Allentown” — Billy Joel
3.) “Careless Whisper” — Wham!
4.) “My Life” — Billy Joel
5.) “Careless Whisper” — Wham!
6.) “We Built This City” — Starship

We concluded with a little more “Careless Whisper” and then dragged ourselves back to Dorothy’s place to sleep. The ridiculously good-looking roommate met us at the door and laughed at our glassy eyes and hoarse voices. Like an annoyingly humorous recurring character in a sitcom, the sorority girl from Alabama happened to have been hanging out with the ridiculously good-looking roommate that night and was also spending the night at their place. There’s only one large bedroom in the apartment, and we had to push all the futons together and sleep in a row of two bleached-blondes, one dark brunette, and me. I woke up warm and bundled up, with a pounding headache and the back of a date night t-shirt staring me in the face.

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