chris vs. the arctic

chris: 72 // the arctic: 47

Bonzai!

29.11.04
Friday night I went to an onsen [hot springs] with the teachers at my school. The onsen itself was really, really ghetto-looking outside, but really nice inside. An English teacher took me. The first thing we did when we got there was check in, put on yukatas [summer-style kimonos], and go to the onsen. They have a natural one that is both indoors and outside. I think there were sento-style bathes [public bathes] somewhere else. Anyway, it was my first time in an onsen, and it was pretty good. Not weird at all. When everyone else is naked, it's hard to be embarrassed. [You have to be naked the entire time. You wash before you go into the bathes.]

Anyway, when we left the onsen, we went straight to the dinner. Yeah, embarrassment #1. We were late. We walked in to a large tatami room full of evil death stares. Heh heh.... ugh. But pretty soon though, the party was under way. We did the kompai [cheers]... and then embarrassment #2. The teacher who has a crush on me yells to me, "Chris! I love you! Do you love me??" Oh my god. All the English teachers started to laugh, and the teacher between the two of us tried not to laugh. She knew it was embarrassing. So I say, "I think you are a good friend." Very diplomatic. Then, she says, "Chris. Who do you like better -- me or Ms. Terada?? (An English teacher.)" Oh man. I say, "I like both of you equally." Smooth operator.

By the end of the meal, everyone in the circle was completely red-faced with alcohol! I loved it! We did Bingo, and I won a box of disposable, stick-on heating pads. [This is a huge score, because it's freezing indoors during the winter in Japan.] And then the fun started. The teachers randomly decided to start doing beer shots in the center of the tables. My kyoto-senseis [vice-principals - my bosses] were doing them, and a couple of female teachers! One of my English teachers (she's maybe 25) did a shot, and spit half of it back onto the tatami mat!! Hahahaha! I left after that.

We then moved on to the official "second party" on the second floor. I walk into this loungey karaoke bar, and my completely wasted teachers call me over to their table. (BTW, you have to remember that this is all happening while wearing a yukata -- basically pajamas!) They are drinking whisky and water (gah!) and make me choose a karaoke song. They yell at me, "Elton John! Elton John! Your Song!" I don't know this song! In the end, the "cool" teacher and I belt out "Smells Like Teen Spirit." But for some reason, I decide to go for another... embarrassment #3. I sing "Billie Jean" by myself. I don't think a description is necessary. Uuuugh. But that tragedy was soon forgotten with my teachers getting fanatic over a some Japanese song. They literally jumped out of their seats, and ran and danced all over the stage!! I couldn't believe this random burst of energy!!

After all was said and drunk, we went across the hall to the ramen shop. Man, this hotel knows the deal! I should just go there Saturday nights, instead of wasting time and actually moving around downtown! I don't think I have ever eaten so much in Japan! Even after my HUGE meal, I had snacks and ramen, and then more snacks at the third party. Oh, that's right. A third party on the third floor. This time, it's in our rooms, with people going back and forth. (Just like rez!) But here's embarrassment #4... Whilst lounging with some teachers, one of my English teachers starts bawling! Absolute, sobbing, snorting, whining bawling! I ignore it at first, because the other teachers were. And someone was there with her. But then it got uncomfortable, so I left with the math teacher. I asked him about it outside, and he said she was in trouble because she forgot the snacks for one of the rooms (it was her job). Are you kidding me?? That's Japan man. No failure allowed.

So, I stumble to my room, and pass out on my futon. Two minutes later (it seemed like), a random lady walks into our room and yells, "OHAYO GOZAIMASU!!" [good morning] and turns the lights on. Mother f*ck. It's 7:30, and breakfast was ready. My teacher drags me down (in the same yukata that I slept in) to the huge breakfast. Completely hungover. It was way too early for Japanese, yet alone a Japanese breakfast. All I wanted was rice and water, but of course it was pickled vegetables, random seafood and hot tea. Afterwards, I headed straight for the onsen. Oh yeeeah. I honestly almost fell asleep in the water. Sooo good. After I left the bathes, I was informed that we were leaving. What?? It was only 8:30!! I thought for sure there were activities during the day on Saturday. Whatever. My teacher drove me to the school and proceeded into the building when we arrived. Because, of course, he had to work on a Saturday morning after drinking. [All Japanese teachers work waaaaay too much.]

I can't wait for my next enkai!

The Shopping Bag

1.11.04
Amber and I went to Kanazawa for some shopping on Sunday... At the Uniqlo in a mall, I found a shopping bag just sitting on the ground in the front. So I pick it up, and show it to Amber. We check out what's inside: a pair of sunglasses, a big receipt, and a box. Being a curious person, I take out the box and check it out. On the top it says "Rolex."

Are you kidding me?? Someone forgets a brand new Rolex in the middle of the hallway in a mall?! I figure it's probably worth $3000.

Amber and I start freaking -- we know we should return it, but there's this HUGE temptation to keep it. Really, it would have been some spoiled Japanese girl with a LV bag in tow. So we pace inside the store, heading to the cash, and then walking back outside.

In the end, our consciences kick in and we bring the bag to the Uniqlo checkout. As the clerk was getting someone to figure out what we wanted, I (being curious again) decided to pull out the box to see what's inside. It's a brand new lady's Rolex watch, made of platinum and studded with several diamonds! I'm like, oh my god, how much is this worth?? Check out the A4 sized receipt... yeah, it was ¥900,000!!! That's $10,500 CAN! F*ck. As we stood there waiting for the clerk, a friend of the owner runs up, completely panic-stricken, and keeps repeating "sumimasen! sumimasen!" The owner then runs up, practically crying (yeah, she better be!!), and proceeds to bow and cry "sumimasen!" a billion times.

Then Amber and I watch helplessly as they saunter away with our dreams of tropical beaches... and their f*cking LV bags!!