Posts Tagged Delta Upsilon Fraternity
It was a lot of fun rewriting the posts about my friends’ visit to Japan. My original blog posts ranged from two sentences to a paragraph each, which was not nearly long enough to properly describe the events. Using a combination of my original blog posts, pictures from the time, and recent conversations with some of the guys, I was able to flesh out some of the details.
There are a few small things that got missed in the daily updates:
Flounder stands out: Flounder was stared at almost everywhere we went because he was gigantic compared to most people. He actually started counting the number of people staring at him on each day. He was in the double digits but stopped counting when we walked by a few hundred elementary school kids.
So much Playstation: We played a lot of Playstation while working off our hangovers. The most popular game was WWE Smackdown: Here Comes the Pain. I only had two PS2 controllers, so two players had to use PS1 controllers that we borrowed from Lux. Since taunts were only usable on the PS2 controllers, we had to impose a house rule banning them.
Hippies like gyoza: Hippie took a serious liking to gyoza from Shop 99 – the awesome 99 yen store near Hello House. I have never seen someone so enthusiastically demolish an entire package. “I like dumplings” because his catch phrase for the trip.
Laryngitis: I had a bit of a sore throat when the guys arrived. They bombarded me with so many questions about everything around us that I actually lost my voice completely a few times in the first days of their visit.
Are we there yet: On our many train rides, the guys would annoy me by asking which station we needed to get off at. Then they would ask how many stops were left. Then they would ask me which station again. Then they asked how many stops now. It was a variation on the classic “are we there yet”. I told them to just get off the train when I did and to stop asking questions.
To stop this game, I got off the train unexpectedly at a station on Odakyu line with no explanation. All of the guys followed me off the train and then I jumped back on suddenly. They all scrambled to get back on the train before the doors closed. I though this was hilarious. They didn’t appreciate the humour.
Representing Canada: Like most Canadians, we proudly displayed the Canadian flag in our travels. However, all the flags got put away when we were drinking and acting like idiots. This was something we learned in our fraternity days – don’t act stupid while wearing fraternity letters.
Not everyone can read Japanese: On one of our Tokyo adventures, I needed to hit a bank machine. I told the guys to meet me at the coffee shop across the street. They asked which coffee shop. I told them it was the only coffee shop on the street. They still didn’t see it. At this point I realized the problem: the coffee shop sign was in Japanese and I was the only person who could read it.
Thailand: If you are standing on a train holding on to the handle and someone asks you what the capital of Thailand is, you are about to get punched in the junk.
The final word:
It has been ten years since my friends came to visit me in Japan. We don’t always see each other very often, but when we do we always have fond memories of our 17 day adventure in Japan. We have all grown up since that time and now all have real jobs. The crazy guys who had a non stop karaoke, video game and booze filled vacation are now a professional accountant, an elementary school teacher, a train conductor, a corporate account manager and something to do with military intelligence. Hippie and I were in each other’s wedding parties and I look forward to setting up play dates with my newborn son and Flounder’s soon to arrive baby.
If I hadn’t joined a fraternity in University I likely would never have met Code Red, Green, Hippie, or Flounder. There are some people who say that joining a fraternity is just a way to buy some friends. If that’s the case, I didn’t pay nearly enough.
Today my friends all returned to Canada. As mentioned in yesterday’s post, the terrible travel agent booked Flounder on a flight leaving Narita airport at 2:00pm for Chicago, while Code Red, Hippie and Green were on a 4:00pm flight to Chicago. Hippie lost his ticket, so we decided to all get to the airport early so he could fill out some paperwork at United Airlines and get a replacement.
The guys had spent nearly all of the money that they brought with them from Canada, so we decided to take the less expensive, slower route to the airport. We took the Odakyu line from Noborito to Shinjuku, Yamanote line to Nippori, then Keisei line to the airport. This route takes twice as long as the Narita Express, but only costs half as much. Taking giant suitcases on busy trains is never a fun experience.
On the Keisei line we were seated next to a father and his young son. The young boy kept staring at our group, especially Flounder. Flounder turned to him and said “hi”, which caused the boy to hide behind his father for the rest of the train ride.
When we arrived at the airport, we all went directly to the United Airlines departure area. Hippie explained his situation and paid to get a replacement for his lost ticket. When talking to the staff, they looked up the tickets for the other members of the group. It turns out that the travel agent had moved Code Red, Hippie and Green to the 2:00pm flight without telling them. If Hippie hadn’t lost his ticket then he, Code Red and Green might have all missed their flight home! I wish I knew the name of the travel agent so I could publicly shame them here.
Everyone got checked in, and I said goodbye to my friends before they went through the security gate. The past 17 days had been a lot of fun, but I was ready to get back to my regular life in Japan. Also, my liver needed to recover from the never ending deluge of inexpensive beer.
I left the airport to start the two hour trip back to Hello House and proceeded to have one of the laziest, most relaxing days I had experienced in a long time.
My day off was incredibly lazy. Other than that, the highlight was the DU Manitoba invasion of Japan is now confirmed! Four of my friends from University will be coming to visit in May. Japan beware!
To give a little context for the upcoming stories of my Japanese adventure, it would probably help to explain a little bit about myself in 2003.
In April 2003 I was finishing my final year of a business degree at the University of Manitoba. This was my second attempt at University after a failed experiment in computer science and a few years off to find some direction. The goal after graduation was to find get a professional accounting designation and find a job in the field of corporate number crunching.
The year before I had made two changes that ended up having a big impact on my life. The first was joining Delta Upsilon Fraternity. I had never considered joining a fraternity before, and honestly didn’t even know there was such a thing in Winnipeg. After turning down several invitations to come and hang out with the brothers, I finally decided to give in and check things out. The experience was great and I ended up being invited to join. Most people join a fraternity in their first or second year of university and end up with a 4 year experience. I had just under 2 before graduation, so I decided to get as much out of my fraternity experience as possible. I ended up gaining some close friends, some great life experience and more importantly got a lot of practice chugging beer.
My other big change in 2002 was to take a Japanese language class as an elective. This led to another Japanese language class, a Japanese history class and getting some Japanese pen pals. If I hadn’t decided on the Japanese language class as an elective I would have likely gotten an accounting job right out of school and never traveled anywhere.
Another important fact about 2003 me was that I was in a 5 year relationship with a woman who will henceforth be known as “the Ex”. Our relationship had started strong and been going well for a while, but at this stage we were both starting to realize that we wanted different things in our life. The Ex had graduated, found a job and was looking to put down some roots. I was about to graduate and looking for a big adventure before I settled down. In April 2003 things were pretty rocky between us.
That’s about it – the Japan adventure really starts about April 2003. Stay tuned!