Good news, boys and girls. I am fresh off a three-day drinking spree, something I don't often get a chance at. Each sessions, we went out early in the evening and stayed until the first train, immediately falling asleep only to wake up and do it all again, so that finally everything just seemed to melt into one long night out. It was a hell of a lot of fun, and in this post, I'm going to tell you why. Well not so much tell you why as tell you what happened, in the hopes that the why will be self-evident.
We started, as you do, at Zaza. Of all people, Jason Biggs came swaggering in, trailing behind a few guys from our school. Naturally, I waved them over, and there we were. Jason Biggs, being Jason Biggs, didn't look too pleased about this, presumably because he didn't want to sit with me. We're in the middle of a feud because he thinks I stole his computer mouse, which first of all, why would I even, and second, it turned up on another desk, meaning it was probably moved by the cleaners. Fuck him. I doubt this would occur to him, but it's not like I'm exactly his biggest fan either. Chotchy prick.
Some Australian tourist girls joined us, and Jason Biggs had right at it. Even though he has a Japanese girlfriend, who, in turn, has another, Mexican boyfriend who doesn't know about Jason Biggs. And supposedly he also has a fiancee back in Italy? Attractive people are fucked up.
When Cologne finished his shisya, we left them to their devices and moved on to Ing. Ha, look at me, writing in past tense and referencing bars by name, I'm fucking Dating in Korea over here. Except a younger, male, Canadian version, and much less romantically successful, and a student rather than a teacher, and in Japan rather than Korea. Actually, I'm nothing like Dating in Korea, am I.
A group of young kids came in and we asked to sit with them. See, you kind of can't do that shit when you're alone. Then you're just the creepy loner trying to make friends. The main guy, pretty clearly the leader of the group, was half-Japanese and half-American, though he looked fully American to me. The two Japanese girls and Venezuelan girl were pretty cool too, but unfortunately they all left before they'd even finished one drink. Hopefully we didn't scare them off with our extreme loserishness.
Rude Boy: Is it just me, or did that guy look kind of like Justin Bieber.
Cologne: Yeah, I was thinking the same thing. But the eyes are different.
Rude Boy: No way, he's basically a mirror image.
Cologne: I guess there's some resemblance.
Rude Boy: He looks more like Justin Bieber than does Justin Bieber himself.
No sooner had we finished our first beer, though, than the Australians from before drifted back into our lives, now absent Jason Biggs, and we all had to cuddle up to fit everybody. Cologne went over to hit on a couple of jukujo and I got thrown into a conversation with some Pennsylvanian tourists. Fucking tourists, everywhere. Get the hell out of Kiyamachi. Fortunately these guys were relatively cool, but the American guy who we were stuck with afterwards was not. When Cologne's ladies left, this guy spent the lifespan of Polaris trying to coach Cologne on the subtleties of picking up Japanese women. Mostly this manifested itself as an improbable list of his own conquests, backed up with semi-relevant boasting. “I've been here ten years! I've studied the culture! I speak Japanese! I've been learning since I was in high school!” At this point, I quietly coughed.
We finished out with another round of shisya, after which Cologne instantly collapsed outside the store, his legs too weak to support his body. Probably not so much from the alcohol, as I've seen him down much more than that without problems, but rather from the double-dose of flavoured smoke, and the attendant dehydration and respiratory atrophy. I managed to move him across the street and lie him down, and the girl came out and brought us a glass of water. I sat with him in silence for two hours, as passing pedestrian occasionally shot us looks, until he sort of woke up and was ready to slowly make his way to the train station.
Cologne had so much fun he wanted to do all of the same things again the second night, including going to the udon shop, and then going to the udon shop again later the same night, this time just for beer. I worry that we've been wearing out our welcome, but it seems that for the moment we're still able to provide the owner with some degree of entertainment. More importantly, we ran into some people there, including a shady-looking but genuinely cool old guy and a 26-year-old girl, who, thanks entirely to my conversational skills (though that's not how Cologne will make it sound when he tells the story), offered to take us to the next place. It turned out to be just one floor above Ing, and had one of those deals where there's a karaoke system set up behind the bar, to boot.
Karaoke with Cologne, if I haven't mentioned this before, is fucking painful. He believes himself to be an incredibly talented singer, putting on a show as though everyone present has excitedly gathered specifically to hear him perform, though the result is more of an overproduced, self-absorbed wail. He gets pissed off if someone joins him, too, though he won't hesitate to jump into somebody else's song. It's all very arrogant, but fuck it, it's karaoke, if somebody genuinely talented (like Hyeong) steps up it can be very enjoyable to listen to, but nobody's gonna give you hell if you aren't up to standard. Well, I shouldn't say that. Cologne will. Cologne will totally give you hell if he thinks you're not up to his standards.
The real problem, though, is that he has absolutely no understanding of karaoke etiquette. None. The polite practice is to put your song in, sing it, and then pick another one. That shouldn't even have to be explained. That's just common fucking sense. Cologne, however, slots in three or four at a time, to the increasing boredom of everyone quietly waiting for their turn, as he repeatedly says, genuinely surprised but quite pleased, “Oh, it's me again!” If called out, he retorts that the real problem is that everyone else needs to put their songs in too slow. Not when you're Bogarting one of two remotes, you graceless twit. One time I actually saw him trying to put another song in while still singing.
Anyway, at this point Cologne tried to jack the girl, whom I'd been talking to continuously for the last half hour, but I was like “lolno” and left him to his ear-melting solos. I managed to get her LINE, at least.
Our third and final evening of adventure started out at Hub and moved to Zaza, both of which failed to turn up anything more than a soccer match at the former and overly loud foreigners at the latter. So we stepped outside.
Rude Boy: Oh look, who's that!
It was Justin Bieber and Mother Russia, milling around in front of Zaza with a German girl and a Brazilian girl. I tried to chat with Mother Russia, and everyone felt awkward for a bit. I asked the German girl if thatwas a parrot on her shoulder. She said that it was not.
To my eyes, it was pretty clear that Justin Bieber was gunning for Mother Russia. And really, all I could do was grit my teeth, because he was of course well within his rights. But it wasn't fun to watch.
We left them to their devices, but we were soon back. Zaza on a Saturday night is an ok crowd. We milled around upstairs for a bit, the two of them went down to get some space, Cologne tried to cockblock a Japanese guy and girl, a different Japanese guy tried to get me to teach him German. Justin Bieber and Mother Russia went back to hanging outside the front.
Random European guy to Mother Russia: Man, you're the first Japanese girl I've met who spoke good English!
Ultimately it was back to Ing once again. There was a German guy and some old Japanese guy in there already. Very nondescript, kind of quiet. Later on he came up in an unrelated conversation with unrelated people, who showed me a picture. I was warned that he was a huge playboy, and also bisexual, and that I should watch myself. Haha, dive bars!
Then it was back to the udon shop, and then back to Zaza, which had closed, and so Cologne wanted to go back to Ing again. After basically 72 hours of all Cologne, all the time, and now probably a bunch of people thinking we hang out together on the regular, I begged off, and went to see if I could find Justin Bieber's regular group down at Sanjou Oohashi. There was no sign of them, so I wandered back to Kiyamachi.
I finally found Mother Russia outside Zaza, talking to some French guy. So we all started talking, I was mistaken for a Belgian, we started gossiping about some of the other lowlifes who frequent this area, and there we go, finally we were just having a normal conversation again. We shared laughs. She let me hold onto her purse for balance. It was great. I felt like maybe we could be close again. And that, you guys, is an excellent feeling.