Just forget the words and sing along – “Weird Al” Yankovic
Japan has this form of entertainment known as the hostess bar. At the outset, it seems like a regular bar, but there is something different. After you sit at your table, you are joined by an (usually) attractive young woman, who is, in reality, an employee of the bar. This is your hostess. Throughout the evening, she will entertain you with stale jokes, shower you with false compliments, and get you to spend more money at the bar by buying more drinks for yourself, and her. Once she starts getting inebriated, she’ll go to the back room to sleep it off, and you’ll be joined by a different young woman. And so the evening goes, until you are hammered and broke.
Continue reading Play the Part
My office sits on the fifth floor. There is a fire escape out back. I often go out on the fire escape to eat lunch and enjoy nice weather. Today, I stand on the fire escape. I look at the parking lot five stories down. The sky is overcast, but it’s warm. There is no wind. The parking lot down below is a darker shade of grey, and strangely inviting. I hang over the edge of the fire escape, taking in the scene. There is only one thought in my head: “I really shouldn’t.” But I’m going to.
Continue reading I Really Shouldn’t
(Author’s note: due partially to procrastination but mostly to catastrophic failure of my computer, I wasn’t able to write part III until a good five months after I had written parts I and II. I feel I should tell you so as to account for any differences between number of details, writing style, and such forth.)
I stood beneath the shadow of that great, stone statue. I reached for my camera and started taking a few pictures. The declining weather did make it somewhat difficult to discern statue from sky, but I took a few pictures. Mostly, I was overwhelmed, not by the size, but by the fact that I had made it. I started walking towards it.
Continue reading Don’t Panic II: The Female Buddha (#3 of a 3-issue mini-series)
I got up bright and early on Monday morning and promptly went back to sleep. I gently rolled out of bed at the much more reasonable hour of 10:30. I threw open my curtains to see a bright sunny day, perfect for traveling. Wanting to take advantage of the sun, I grabbed some laundry I did the day before and had hung up in the corner of my room. It wasn’t quite dry yet, so I put it out on my balcony to finish drying. I had a quick breakfast of corn flakes and put on my jacket. I grabbed my camera and stuffed it into my pocket. Ever since my adventure to Mitsumeniguchi, I had been making it a point to always take along my camera when I go someplace new. I did a quick check and realized that my camera needed film, so I stopped at my corner convenience store to get a roll of 12 exposures. From here, I strolled over to my bank. Naturally, on a trip like this, you need some cash. With money in pocket, I was ready to go! I walked over to the train station and saw that the next train left at 12:20. It was 12:15. I bought my ticket and jogged down to the platform.
Continue reading Don’t Panic II: The Female Buddha (#2 of a 3-issue mini-series)