chris vs. the arctic

chris: 72 // the arctic: 47


December 17
The Rules of Drinking
I flew from Tokyo to Chicago, leaving at 17:00 and arriving at 08:30 the same day. The dateline is a magical and confusing thing. Upon entering the arrivals area of O'Hare, I was greeted by two drunk(ish) ex-Toyamites -- Jamie and Sarah. (Classy, ladies.) We met up with Shelly, Amanda, Holly, David, Steve and Todd (Sarah's partner) at Sarah's place for a delicious western brunch. So good! Afterwards, we explored the frozen downtown of Chicago, including the famous L-train. That night, we partied like it was our job. I was quickly reminded of the real rules for drinking, smashing my skewed Japanese practices. I.D.? What's that? We first had real Chicago pizza, which should actually be called lasagna. That was followed by an adventure in Boystown, which involved a old man's pub called "Bucks." After at least four other places, we ended the night at a reggae dance bar. I forgot how much fun Americans can be! Everyone is outgoing, which after living in Japan, made me feel like the most timid person in the world.

BrunchBucktownThe L-Train
MirroredThe City In The BeanIntersectional Group Shot
Cement CityReal Chicago PizzaDavid Playing Pool At Bucks
Let Me Tell You SomethingCoppingDrunk

December 18
Happy Birthday Jesus
Woke up hungover. Everyone, save Shelly, Jamie, Todd, and Sarah, left for their respective homes. Shelly and I attempted to watch "Brokeback Mountain" in Boystown... Retrospectively, finding a seat in that theatre would have been like winning the lottery, except without the money. We ended up watching "Capote." Not a bad alternative. That night, Sarah held her annual "Happy Birthday Jesus" party, including the infamous white elephant gift exchange. I gave away fishy self-heating sake, and I got a smoker's kit. Jamie gave away surprise inflatable breasts, available at your local 100 yen shop!

Surprise Balloon BoobsBalloon Madness

December 19
Drinks at the 95th Floor
Shopping in the city, followed by cocktails at the top of the Hancock Building. The night was finished off with some super cheap and real Mexican food in the Pilsen district.

The John Hancock CentreChristmas Tree at the Hancock CentreThe Hancock Centre
Sunset from the Hancock

December 20
From the Windy City to Canada's Ocean Playground
Spent the day with Todd as everyone else had to work. We had an "impressive" time exploring the Art Institute of Chicago. (Sorry, that was a lame joke, especially if you didn't get it...) I then flew from Chicago to Halifax, with a brief layover in Montreal. I saw my family for the first time in 1.5 years!

The Art Institute of Chicago
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On January 10, 2006, Blogger Brad said:

I was surprised when I was ID'd too. I almost gave them my gaijin card, which would probably have been laughed at.    

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