Good Day, Weird Night

Today was a very fine day with a very bizarre and slightly disturbing ending. -Took the day off to go on solo walkabout in Osaka.

-Got a beef burrito and coconut juice at my favorite Mexican joint, El Pancho in Shinsaibashi

-After wandering around aimlessly for awhile, I booked two hours at Karaoke in Namba. Sang a metric ton of Billy Joel, 森山直太朗, and Judas Priest.

-Bought two 「NO MORE 映画泥棒」keychains (http://youtu.be/9HdCXYia-Yw) at a gatcha machine, but got two of the same ones (photo below).

-Read a few chapters of my Warhammer 40k Space Marines Horus Heresy novel in an underground cafe while sipping a coffee which I ordered but couldn't pronounce the name of.

-Met up with Hans, Olivier, Vincent, and co. and went to a Reggae bar in America-mura called "Good Times" to celebrate the first of Hans' going-away parties. Though the comings and goings of friends is something that is common when you live abroad and especially at school, it is something I shall never truly get used to. Best of luck to you, Hans.

-When we got there, the bar was open, fully-lit, and completely empty. There was literally no one. Not even the bartender. We made ourselves comfortable while starting the first of several awesome conversations of the night. We pondered why the bar was open yet empty and our theories ranged from "It's a reality TV show", to "It's the Twilight Zone." The barmaster eventually showed up and I had a Drambuie on the rocks. We spent the rest of the night having a great time.

-It turns out that Olivier was completely moved by our rendition of the Scorpions song "Wind of Change" at the International Students Festival back in January. Ori Png, this shout out is for you. We couldn't have done it without your guitar virtuosity.

-Caught the last train back to NAIST. This is the weird and disturbing portion of what was otherwise a fantastic night. As we are getting off at 学研北生駒駅, an older Japanese man in a full suit with a briefcase starts staring at me very intently from his seat not far from where I am standing with everyone. As the doors open, he stands up in front of me, blocking my path, and just straight up stares me in the face, expressionless. If I didn't know any better, I almost thought he wanted to fight me. I ask him in plain English, "Are you OK?" and he does not answer but continues to block my way and stare at me dead in the eyes. I walk around him off the train and he follows closely. We lose him at the station exit, where he has apparently stopped to adjust his train fee and is standing in a long line waiting to use the fair adjustment machine. In all my 9 years in Japan, nothing like that has ever happened to me. My guess: he was drunk and/or upset that I was conversing out loud in English on the train. We made it back to NAIST safely. Glad I was in a group.

-When we got back to NAIST, there were two police vehicles at the front gate and the local police were taking someone's statement. No idea what happened there, but it's highly unusual for this tiny community. IN ANY EVENT, with that confusing silliness of the mysterious staring man behind me, I am very grateful to have met some very awesome people tonight and also to spend some time with some friends who I often see around campus but barely have the time to visit with.

#gradschoollife

About the Author

PhD Candidate in Japan, researching Narrative in Games. Responds favorably to Thrash Metal, Karaoke, and Dungeons & Dragons.

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