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Two Weeks in Japan

After spending two weeks in Japan, I was reminded why it is one of my absolute favorite countries on Earth. I partied with tons of friends, I chilled out in beautiful parks, I ate loads of yakitori, drank a little beer, lots of red bull and vodka, tried shabu shabu, celebrated wedding nuptials, tested the English of my old students, and had an all around awesome time.

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My last day in Japan I hung with three of my favorite people. After partying until six in the morning Andrea and I had lunch at one of our favorite restaurants in Shinsaibashi, Planet 3rd. We shared sweet and spicy potato wedges, topped with sour cream and Mexican Taco Rice, and of course because its Japan, the taco rice was topped with a semi-raw egg, corn, and mayonnaise. I will definitely miss the random cuisine you find only in Japan. After lunch we stopped at Starbucks and then headed to Ben’s house, all the while sharing our dreams and aspirations for the future. We totally planned out me opening a boutique in NYC!!

We sat on Ben’s patio and as he drank Asahi, we drank the “cocktail partners” that he grabbed for us on his way home. After some drinks and amazing conversation between friends we headed out to the Doghouse, an English style pub, run by Ben’s friend Osugi, that he works at from time to time. At the Doghouse, Andrea had cider, I had a Chandyguff (beer and ginger ale) and we shared fish and chips, which was comp’d by the owner’s wife. They are too good to us. After I tried to grab some shut eye in the corner of the restaurant and Andrea kept interrupting my attempts, we played a couple card games. Makoto finally joined in the fun and after a couple more games and beers, we headed out.

At my request, we headed to do purikura, which is basically Japanese photobooths. After all of my anticipation, we actually had one of the worst purikura sessions ever. :-(. But all of the laughs involved more than made up for it. Following purikura we stopped by Life Bar, so that I could say goodbye to the owner and friend, Chuks.

To my surprise he decided to pop a bottle of champagne for me and top that off with a round of shots. Fun times. After Life we headed to karaoke. We sang Pink, Michael Jackson, Keri Hilson, Oasis, Bon Jovi, and Makoto even dedicated an awesome rendition of a Japanese pop song to me. Please see his amazing karaoke performance in the video below. For the last song I did a solo of the Jackson 5’s “Never Can Say Goodbye.” After choosing it, I realized I had no clue how the melody even went. But Andrea, Ben, and Makoto clapped for my awful rendition nonetheless.

After an hour of karaoke, we headed to Triangle Park with a couple of cans from Family Mart. I became super nostalgic as we walked around Amerika-mura at 2:30am. As the guys walked us back to the house and Makoto and I talked about my next steps and my future, I was so thankful for the lifelong friends I made in Japan and for the awesome two weeks. Japan will always hold a special place in my heart and hopefully I will be able to visit at least once a year.

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Dear Nippon,

かんぱい (cheers)

j.

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