After all the eating and drinking last night, my stomach wasn’t feeling that great today.
Ben and Yuka had gone off to their respective jobs in the morning and when I woke up around noon, I had the place to myself.
I decided to just walk in the area around Ben’s place and get a quick bite to eat.
There’s a stand nearby that sells octopus balls.
Okay, stop giggling…
It’s not that… it’s little pieces of octopus wrapped in a doughy ball and then fried. I ordered 6 of them and they were coated in bbq sauce and topped with mayo.
I also stopped by the 100 yen store which is Japan’s version of our dollar stores back home. I saw all the candies and chips and chocolate and just picked up a bunch to leave on the dining room table as a little thank you gift for when Yuka and Ben returned home later in the night.
Just after 4pm I took the subway (by myself, thank you very much) into town to meet up with an old friend living here in Osaka.
Mark and I went to university together back in the day and I hadn’t seen him in a very long time (with the exception of a brief reunion last December one night when he and his wife visited Vancouver).
We had made plans to meet at the Big Man meeting place which is where everyone meets each other at Umeda subway station.
Problem was I had no idea how to get there once I disembarked at the station. The area is so big and there are so many exits and stairs leading in all directions.
Ben had told me that everyone knew about Big Man so I just assumed if I asked people walking through the station that they could point me in the right direction.
I made a point of asking younger people and no one had any idea what I was talking about…
Luckily the train employees in the station boxes by the ticket gates knew what I was talking about.
I would ask one and they’d point me in a direction only to find no Big Man there so I’d ask another and be shown another way and then another and so on until…
After 20 minutes of walking around in circles I walked up a flight of stairs and there was Mark standing by a pillar waiting.
We went to a little place nearby that does tempura battered sticks of different meats and vegetables.
I watched as he did all the ordering in Japanese. We ate ocra, peppers, octopus, shrimp and chicken skewers.
And had a couple of drinks.
After an hour of being there we had to meet Ben at Big Man at 6:15. This time, however, I had Mark leading the way so we didn’t get (too) lost.
The three of us headed down the street and ended up at an Italian place. It seemed weird going for Italian food here in Japan but, you know what, I had had a lot of Japanese food already so having something different was alright.
Besides, it was Italian food and God knows how much I love me some Margarita Pizza and Carbonara Pasta…
One of Ben’s students, Yoko (no, not that one), soon joined us and we shared a bunch of plates: caesar salad, chicken liver pate, gnocci, garlic bread, calamari, a couple of pizzas and a couple of pastas.
And all you could drink for 90 minutes for 1500 yen ($15).
The meal ended up coming out to about 14000 yen ($140), of which Yoko paid 10000 of it. Through our objections she left a 10000 yen note on the table as she was leaving. We knew her paying $100 was crazy but it’s the Japanese way I guess – it was a gift.
Oh yeah, she also gave me a gift:
Anyway, nice girl. She left to go home because it was 8pm and she had a long train ride home.
By now I was pretty drunk and becoming pretty quiet and mellow which is what I do when I’m in that state.
I was ready to head home because of it but a couple more students of Ben turned up as we were finishing our meal, I went along with them to another place Ben knows.
A German place.
Down the road, well, waaaaay down the road…
When we finally turned up I was so tired and had no desire to drink anymore.
They all had a round and I just kind of sat there very quiet taking in everything.
I have been in this situation many times before and I hate it. I hate everyone around me having fun drinking and me just really quiet not interacting. It’s one of the main reasons I don’t drink very often – it puts me in situations where I just want to leave.
So, as they were ordering a second round, I left for home. I said my goodbyes and Ben gave me his key and some instructions for how to get back home.
I walked to the subway station, took a couple of trains and walked home at 11pm.
Yuka was already there as she had just come home from work and an hour later Ben came back too.
It was an alright day – lots of food but too much alcohol.
If there’s one thing I’ve found out about Todd – it’s that I really shouldn’t drink…