No moments wasted here. As the end of this trip draws nearer, I've been jam-packing my weekends to make sure I'm making the most of my precious time here (only 34 more days). The week literally offers me no opportunity to explore Tokyo, or the places around it-- so this weekend involved very little sleep.
On Friday, I was treated to all-you-can-eat Korean BBQ by a 31-year-old woman I met at Hub 2 weeks ago (I'll explain later). I went to Yokohama with my friends yesterday-- all day. Then I went to Trump Room and stayed out all night. Sunday morning, I went to Shimokitazawa and interviewed 2 complete strangers and Sunday night I spent drinking with my German and English friends while we watched the Germany vs. England match of the world cup.
And now I'll break it down for you.
Two weeks ago, I was at Hub, a British pub in Shibuya with my friend Kana. We had just come from all-you-can-eat Indian food in Shimokitazawa and wanted to have a little night cap before parting ways. Since Hub had very limited seating because everyone was watching the World Cup, we sat at a table with a bunch of strangers-- real bar-like and all that.
I ended up talking to this Japanese guy next to me because he heard Kana and me speaking English. He asked if we were from America, told me his favorite band was Green Day, and how he always wanted to live abroad, blah, blah, blah. It was all a very feeble pick up attempt. I was getting a little uncomfortable when he mentioned that he was 30. He definitely didn't look 30.
Just as I was wondering what I could say to escape the conversation, 2 women sitting across from me and this 30-year-old man saved me. He had asked me what kind of Japanese bands I liked, and I told him I liked Arashi, Japan's biggest boy band knowing that most 30-year-olds hanging out at Hub wouldn't like them. The 2 women across from me heard Arashi and immediately interjected, "Sorry to eavesdrop-- but we heard you like Arashi?"
"Why yes, I do. Thank you for providing me with an exit from this Green Day-loving manchild." I thought. Then we started talking, and the 30-year-old guy felt ignored and rejected (so I thought) and he left. These women were so nice, they asked us questions about where we were from, where we were going to school, really sweet. Then they started talking to us about how guys like Mr. 30 don't eat meat anymore, they're sissies. Then they invited us out to eat pork with them (and that's why we went out on Friday)!
Then the 30-year-old guy came back, placed a new lighter in front of me and said, "Here, this is for you." O_____o
Odd. I actually meant to blog about this 2 weeks ago when it happened... but wasn't sure it would lead to anything so... that's why it's so late.
Anyway, when I met Junko, the woman with the cool bun for dinner and NOT ONLY did she treat me, she brought me a gift.
ADORABLE. I felt like such a jackass for not bringing anything. God, Kate. Didn't you read Lisa's post about gift-giving in Japan? >_<
Believe it or not-- the night gets weirder. Junko had brought her friend Aya, a tomboy coworker of hers who I really liked. After we had finished eating, Aya's friend Misato had just finished work and wanted to join us, but our dinner was already past it's time limit (yes, the dream of tabe-houdai usually only lasts for 90 minutes). So what did we do? WE ATE AGAIN. At a nicer restaurant too!
After a 10 minute walk, we stopped at some washoku place (still in Shibuya) and met up with Junko's 60-year-old friend, Kin-chan, the owner of Ton-chan (the restaurant where we had just finished eating). Kin-chan was really sweet-hearted old man; and a little mumbly chain smoker with 1-year-old triplets. YEAH. He told the restaurant to hold a table for us and had a 99% empty bottle of sweet potato soju with his name on it waiting for us when we arrived.
I was really full from our FIRST dinner and was worrying everyone else because I was physically incapable of eating a second time. I forced down the most delicious eggplant I had ever eaten in my life, while trying to keep down the side of pork I had feasted on earlier, plus 4 or 5 mugs of beer (hey-- those Japanese OL's can DRINK). Then Kin-chan offered me some of the soju. IT WAS MIND-BLOWING. Because I'm only 20 and don't really have a sophisticated palette, I only got a little taste, diluted with water, but THOROUGHLY enjoyed it... wow.
This time, Kin-chan treated. He made sure to drop me his meishi (business card) to contact him if I ever wanted to come over to his house to have his daughter do my nails.
Who knew strangers could be so cool??