Posts Tagged drinking too much
Somehow I had another special topic voice at Keikyu Kawasaki school. After work I was supposed to have my official office farewell party. Unfortunately due to lack of communication and the evil cold that is going around, only three people (including me) showed up. To make up for it, there will be an extra large crowd at karaoke on Thursday.
I went home, still in a party mood, so I Okonomi and I set out for food, drinks, and karaoke. Karaoke is better in larger groups, and can be awkward with just two people. However, after making liberal use of the all you can drink service, we didn’t seem to mind.
In the middle of one of Okonomi’s songs, a drunk Japanese guy walked into our room by accident. He looked around and realized that he was in the wrong place. He instantly started apologizing. We told him that it was no problem, and that he was our new tomodachi (friend). This made him happy, so he started dancing while we were singing. Suddenly, without any warning, he reached over, grabbed Okonomi’s chest with both hands and said “opai!” (boobs!). Normally getting groped by a drunk stranger would start a fight. Okonomi was surprised, but then started laughing at the absurdity of the situation. Our new friend and I started laughing too. He then apologized once more and left to find his original karaoke room.
Okonomi and I kept singing and drinking until our time expired, and then went to settle the bill. Before we left, one of us got the idea that we should see if our breast grabbing friends was still around. We peeked in the windows of the other rooms until we found him and his friends. We opened the door to say hi, and he quickly welcomed us in and gave us drinks.
Somehow we were part of their group now. The group picked songs for each of us. I can’t remember what Okonomi sang, but she did a great job at it. For my turn I had to sing “Changes” by Tupac Shakur. I had never heard the song before, but managed to follow along and got a standing ovation at the end.
On the way home we stopped at Family Mart for some food to absorb some of the excess alcohol in our systems. There is nothing quite like convenience store pastries after way too much fun at karaoke. Okonomi was in worse shape than I was, so I had to walk back with her arm around my neck to keep her stable. When we returned to Hello House I tried to take her to her room, but she declined and said that her room was too lonely. Uh-oh. We returned to my room, where I graciously offered her my futon while I crashed out on my foldy floor couch.
At some point during the night I woke up sweating with a large weight on me. No, it’s not what you think! Okonomi had woken up and decided to return to her room to sleep. In her intoxicated state, she mistook my futon for a blanket and put it on top of me before she left. Judging by how hot I was, I must have been sleeping under my heavy, warm futon for a while.
It was another fun and crazy night drinking in Japan, and one that I was going to pay for the next day.
Yesterday I thought I had a bit too much fun at karaoke. This morning I realized how badly I had overdone it. I was sick in the morning in between birthday phone calls from home. I ended up having to call in sick to work, which is terrible considering that I was out for beer with many of my coworkers the night before. I expect to hear about this later.
(2014 Update) Don’t miss work because of drinking. Also, never miss work because of drinking with your coworkers. That’s just irresponsible.
This will be a substantial rewrite of my original post, as I left out a lot of detail the first time. (For reasons that will become obvious)
Today was a day off thanks to a shift swap so another teacher could see the Super Bowl. Since Marshall and I enjoyed our last night out in Tokyo, so we decided to plan for a night out in Roppongi. We had a beer or two before leaving Hello House, then took the Odakyu line to Shinjuku and switched to the Oedo subway line to Roppongi.
By day Roppongi is an upscale part of Tokyo, home to foreign embassies and company headquarters. At night Roppongi changes into a busy night life area, with most of the establishments catering to foreigners. There is a good mix of classy upscale pubs, dance bars, meat market hookup bars, and expensive hostess and strip clubs. One of the most remarkable features is the touts. Walking down the street you will encounter a row of large African men who get paid to bring people into their bar. The pitch usually starts with a handshake and “my good friends”, and then you get a hard sell on why this particular bar or restaurant is the best in the neighbourhood. Saying no will usually result in a promise of a special price “just for you”. Some of the touts will give up easily, others will continue talking and negotiating until you agree to go in, or keep walking. If you have a particular destination in mind, just say no thanks and keep walking.
Our first stop was Hobgoblin, a pub style bar. After a few drinks we went to GasPanic, which is bigger and better than the Shibuya location. Thursday night is Gaspanic night, featuring 300 yen beers. There is a sign up on the wall informing everyone that “everybody must be drinking to stay in GasPanic”. On this particular night I took the advice too literally, and proceeded to get very, very drunk.
When you are going out for all night drinking, it is important to treat the evening as a marathon, not a sprint. Pacing yourself is the key to staying upright until morning. Also, if you happen to be stressed out or in a bad mood, going out for an all nighter is probably not a good idea. At the time we went out, I was homesick, stressed about work, trying to get my visa switched, and aware that February 12 would have been a 6 year anniversary with the ex. All of the ingredients were ready in the recipe for disaster.
My memories of GasPanic got a little fuzzy as the evening went on. Marshall and I were hanging out with another group of people and pounding beer. At one point I asked the bartender (who was blond) what night of the week would be good to bring a group of Canadian University students for a good time. He told me in broken English that he didn’t know because he had only been working there for 3 weeks, and that he was from Russia.
Eventually Marshall and I realized that I was in no shape for an all nighter and we decided to call it a night before last train. We walked to the Oedo line subway station and went to the platform. Like a good train passenger in Japan, I lined up at the front of the platform behind the yellow line. The subway station was spinning around me, and at some point I lost my balance, spun around, and fell backwards off the platform onto the train tracks. Through luck or some instinct I managed to fall on my back instead of on my head. I instantly jumped up to my feet and there were several people reaching down to pull me back up on the platform. Marshall was not one of them – he looked on shocked at my sudden fall.
After falling, Marshall and I decided to wait for the train sitting on the benches safely away from the tracks. A few minutes later the train came and we started the 10 minute ride to Shinjuku. Near the end of the ride I got sick in the subway car, causing everyone around to quickly move away. Marshall snapped pictures with his cell phone.
At Shinjuku we stopped in the men’s washroom so I could clean myself up. Assuring Marshall that I was okay to continue, we waited for the Odakyu line express towards Noborito. The train ride from Shinjuku to Noborito is about 20 minutes long. I made it until the second last stop before I started to feel sick again. My drunk brain decided that barfing on the train once was enough for the evening, so without any warning I bolted off the train as the doors were closing. Marshall didn’t have enough time to react so he couldn’t get off the train in time to stay with me.
I believe I got sick in a garbage can on the platform, and a friendly train line employee showed me to a nearby sink to clean up. My brain, in survival mode, managed to send enough Japanese to my mouth so that I could ask if I had missed the last train to Noborito. He assured me that there was another train, and made sure that I got on it. I don’t remember anything from that point until I was in the toilet stall in Hello House. Somehow I manged to get off the train at the correct station, used the ticket gate, and then navigated the zigzagging path back to Hello House.
Marshall found me in the stall and expressed relief that I was okay. I thanked him for trying, and apologized for being a mess. After drinking as much water as I could handle, I went to sleep in my slowly rotating room. As you are reading this, please be aware that I am not proud of this story. Getting drunk and falling on train tracks should not be a badge of honour for anybody. Getting that drunk is NOT cool, it is NOT a good time, and if you feel differently you should probably stay away from alcohol. It still scares me to this day to think of how things could have ended up much worse, and I am thankful that I am here writing the story now.
Usually when someone drinks too much and acts stupid, they make the empty promise “I will never drink again”. My resolution to myself as I drifted off to sleep in my spinning room was “I am taking a break from drinking, and I will never drink that much again”. Since February 12, 2004 I have been drunk many times, but never blackout falling down drunk, and I never will be again.
(rewrite of original post)
After a busy day at work I went out for some beer with coworkers. I had a few more than I should, and on the train home I inadvertently acted like an ass to my American coworkers. My supervisor was also on the train, and suggested that I work on my tact. Not one of my finest moments, but also one that I didn’t repeat.
I woke up on July 15 feeling like death. Or at least how death would feel if he (or she) drank too much the night before. Like many other mornings after an overindulgence, I started to wonder why, exactly, I was feeling so terrible. The thought of “I didn’t drink all that much, did I?” bounced around in my swollen, throbbing brain. At that point I started doing the drink inventory from the night before. Beer before leaving the house, 3 very large beers at the bar, peach fizz, another beer, 2 gin tonics of undetermined strength and then one, or was it two scotches on the rocks. Upon reflection I realized that it truly was a well deserved hangover.
Despite my condition, there was no time to sleep and recover. Checkout time was 10:00am sharp. Before leaving I would need to shower, get dressed and ensure I wasn’t forgetting anything. This involved some horrible situations where I would need to put my head down to look for things which caused my tiny hotel room to spin wildly. I was not having a good time.
I managed to check out, which then brought the next challenge; my next plans were in Atami at 6:00pm, and it would only take me 2 hours to get there. The thought of taking slow, gently rocking trains or wandering around Tokyo in my condition were not very appealing. The thought of finding a nice cool cave to hide in for the next few days was appealing, but the only real option I had was to call up Azeroth and hope he was free for some low intensity hangouts. Fortunately for me he was available and was going to meet me at the station after calling his parents at home.
While waiting, I had time to get some food into my system. Usually when I am in Japan, I try to eat Japanese food as much as possible. However there was one sign calling out to me. One bastion of hope for my unhappy stomach. One glowing beacon of familiar grease that could quiet my unease. The sexy yellow curves on the red background were literally calling out to me in my moment of need. I decided to go for it, and shakily walked into McDonalds and ordered an Egg McMuffin combo, and it was glorious.
Azeroth and I met at the nearby 7-11 and stocked up on hangout food. I grabbed sports drinks and a product called “Morning Banana” (insert penis joke here). In the past I have read that bananas are good for hangovers, so this seemed like a good time to test the theory. After a slow walk to Azeroth’s tiny apartment, I sad down and opened the top of the morning banana and took a – drink? Imagine, if you will, banana flavoured gelatin. Now imagine that someone chewed it up into tiny pieces and spit it into banana flavoured yogurt. Now imagine slurping the result out of a straw attached to a foil bag. Yes, it was that good.
Following a few hours of Call of Duty, YouTube videos and general hanging out, the hangover started to finally wear off. I was able to get to the station and start my journey towards Atami. In my younger days I would have made a solemn oath to my liver that I would never drink again. The best I will do these days is swear to my stomach and taste buds that they will never again, as long as I live, know the horror of Morning Banana a second time.