Hitting the izakaya

Down't izakayaThese days drinking is painful. Admittedly, for me it’s always been painful, and my morning-after hangover became something of a legend in my uni days. But now it takes me, on average, three million years to fully recover.

Last night then, I met up with some of my students here in Kichijoji for a drinking “party”. I’m not sure if calling it a party is really justified, but my students all seemed to think so, so I’ll let it stand. We had a two hour all-you-can-drink reservation at one of my local izakayas. Can you imagine a pub back home doing the same kind of thing? Nope, didn’t think so; there’d be no booze left after the first hour. I’ve been party to an all-you-can-drink session with my fellow Brits on several occasions since I’ve been here, and I am proud to say the system was well and truly abused. Nice!

Japanese people - the salaryman hardcore excluded - are pretty light drinkers on the whole, so one beer left half of my students looking somewhat… radient, about the face. My Japanese has suffered a relapse since coming back, but a few drinks seemed to help loads, and we had no awkward silences (which happens a LOT here. If awkward silences turn you on, then this is the place for you). I always feel responsible for them, seeing as they’re my students, but thankfully no one spewed over the table or collapsed in the toilet (that’s usually my job anyway). After we got chucked out of the izakaya we went for a wander down to the park - suprisingly busy considering it was 10pm, I suspect there were a lot more “couplings” going behind the trees an’ all - they all went off to do karaoke, but as I didn’t want to incur the wrath of my wife I sauntered home through the back streets.

Today I’ve not been feeling to great, for obvious reasons, but had some stuff to do around the shops and hauled my carcass out of bed and into town. I happened to be walking behind a seemingly ordinary, middle-aged man on my way towards the station. He was carrying two large carriers from an expensive import foods supermarket. “Maybe he’s going to cook sommat special for his wife tonight?”, I thought. But then, without any word of warning, he makes a sideways glance at an innocent, unsuspecting vending machine and… kicks the living shit out of it! It was the kind of sudden, unexpected outburst of rage that leaves your brain saying to itself “err… I have no prior information on how to handle this situation, so you’ll just have to stand there and look gormless”. Which is exactly what I did.

Luckily, the lunatic didn’t spot me, or maybe he did but couldn’t give a toss. Anyway, rather than finding another, less dangerous route to the station, I thought I’d keep following and see if anything else happened. No less than two more vending machines got the kicking treatment before I lost sight of him. God knows how many electrcial appliances will die by his hands tonight.

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