Posts Tagged last train
I had to work today. The guys went to a sword museum in Tokyo, and then met up with me outside Kawasaki station at the end of my shift. They all requested another night out in Shibuya. We spent our time in game centers and then went back to Don Quijote, this time sober enough to fully enjoy the experience. Green and I both bought small beer chilling machines which claim to cool a beer from room temperature to drinking temperature in 90 seconds. For the price of 2000 yen this seemed like a reasonable gamble.
We got to Shibuya station a bit early to avoid any chance of missing the last train. Our route home was the always crowded Keio line to Shimokitazawa, and then Odakyu line to Noborito. When we got to the platform we saw the second last train loading up. It was literally wall to wall people. This gave us a chance to see Japan’s famous train pushers for the first time. They are railway staff that push all of the arms and legs into a crowded train car so the doors can close. If you want a true Japan cultural experience, you have to see the train pushers in action.
We went to the front of the line and waited for the last train of the evening to arrive. We were in the last train car standing against the back wall of the car in a row. I regretted my purchase of the beer cooling cube as I had to awkwardly straddle it while the train car filled up. By the time the train was ready to leave, the train car was packed like sardines and we were pressed up against the back wall. Due to my awkward straddling position, a nearby drunk man tried to use me as a seat.
As we got moving, a drunk woman crawled between Flounder’s legs and started looking like she was going to be sick. Flounder described the situation to me as “It’s like a game of leapfrog, but nobody’s jumping!”. Everyone in the area who could understand language was laughing at the situation.
When we got closer to Shimokitazawa station, I instructed the guys that we had to get off the train quickly and run to Odakyu line. I let them know that we only had a few minutes to make our connection before the Odakyu line left. I made very clear to them that if they didn’t get off the train before the doors closed, that they would have no way of getting back to Hello House.
At Shimokitazawa the doors opened and a crowd of people started flowing out of the train. Japan is a usually very polite and orderly country, except on crowded trains. When the train is crowded, anything goes. Hippie, Code Red, Green and I all forced our way off the train, but Flounder was trapped behind a man who stood directly in the doorway with his arms crossed.
Flounder yelled out “I can’t get off the train!”. I replied “you HAVE to get off the train NOW”.
Flounder, hearing the urgency in my voice, decided that desperate times called for desperate measures. He tried to go left – not enough space. He tried to go right – too crowded. He then grabbed the door blocker by his elbows, picked him up, and carried him off the train.
The door blocking man was furious at being picked up like a toy and moved out of the way. He turned around angrily and found himself staring directly into the middle of Flounder’s chest. As he slowly looked up at the giant smiling gaijin, he decided that he wasn’t all that angry anymore and quickly got on the train without a word. The nearby people on the platform thought this was hilarious. Flounder simply shrugged and told me “you said I had to get off the train now”. We all continued laughing as we ran for the Odakyu line to catch the last train back to Hello House.
Description on the beer cooling machine:
Drinking a glass of beer helps yourself release fatigue and mental stress after you come back home. Just pull down the lever and get a chilled canned beer for your relaxing time. COOLING CUBE creates a healing time and space beyond reality for you. Since 2002.
We met up with Rivers and Jem at Yokohama station. They were fresh out of NOVA kids training and looking for some beer. After some phone calls and texting we were able to meet up with the rest of the usual Thursday night karaoke group. All together we took a group of 15 thirsty people into Big Echo for some all you can drink karaoke.
The pitchers started flowing fast and furiously, as everyone filled the karaoke queue with an eclectic range of songs ranging from Ring of Fire to Anarchy in the UK. Code Red had his video camera out and decided to start filming our experience. After a while, Code Red took a page out of my book and started visiting other karaoke rooms. He would open the door and tell the surprised people inside “smile for American TV!”. This got a lot of smiles and cheers.
We had a busy, beer soaked two hours of karaoke. Since it took so long to get our group together, we had only 10 minutes to catch the last train after we paid. Half way back to Yokohama station, Code Red suddenly announced that he didn’t have his video camera and then ran back to Big Echo. I quickly gave Jem some (incorrect) instructions to get Flounder, Hippie and Green on the last train and then I took off after Code Red. In the worst case I assumed that Flounder, Hippie and Green could find their way back to Hello House, and Code Red and I would find alternate transportation or a place to crash.
I waited outside Big Echo for a few minutes, and then decided to go into the building to look for Code Red. I took the only elevator up to the floor where our room was, just as Code Red was coming down the stairs. He got outside and saw that all of his friends were gone. He was on his own, drunk, in a city far from home. After a brief moment of panic, he cleverly walked up to the first gaijins he saw and asked where the station was, explaining that he needed to get to Noborito. The two Australians looked at their watch and told him, probably in an awesome Aussie accent, that he was f**ked.
After looking around for Code Red in Big Echo, I went outside to see nobody that I recognized. Just then my phone started ringing – it was Jem and she couldn’t remember which train to put the other guys on. By this point the last train back to Kawasaki had already left. On the way to the platform I received another call that Code Red had just showed up on the platform. I met up with the group and we found out that the video camera wasn’t actually missing, it was in his backpack the entire time. As a group we voted that Code Red was not allowed to talk for the next 30 minutes.
Jem and her roommates came to our rescue, offering to put us up at their NOVA apartments. We took a quick train ride to Hodogaya station and started walking. And then we walked more. And then we kept walking.
I like to complain about Hello House at times, but it is only a five minute walk from the station. Jem’s apartment was a full 15 minute walk, mostly uphill. The apartment building itself was literally built on the side of a hill with a steep 50 degree staircase. Flounder, Green and Code Red slept at Jem’s place, while Hippie and I got a spare room at the other NOVA apartment that was about half way down the steep hill.
Travel lesson for the day: before you sprint off on your own in a strange country, check your freaking backpack for your lost item. It will save some excitement.