Assuming my schedule works out and I’m able to use my NW miles (or, “jikan to okane ga attara”, if I remember my lessons correctly…), I should have a trip to Japan coming up in a few weeks.
I love Tokyo. I lived there for six months ten years ago for the internship portion of my Japan-focused MBA. One of the fun-nest times of my life.
My friends and I all lived in one area. During weeknights, we would all come home from work and cook dinner together or wait till 9 pm to eat. That was when the nearby supermarket would slash 50% off on their set meals. You had to be creative on a student's budget.
And – I remember this with fondness and no embarrassment at all – once or twice, I was able to save on meals by going around one of the bigger supermarkets and filling-up on the free food samples.
During week-ends, we would go out and party in one of the clubs(Gas Panic Attack!) . That was the time of my life when complete strangers would buy me drinks because they thought I was the life of the party. Sigh.
Or, we would just hang-out and amuse ourselves with silly things. One of our cheesiest forms of entertainment was to do all sorts of crazy stuff just to see how the proper Japanese man/woman-on-the-street would react.
Our stunts could be as simple as smiling openly at people in the train (nobody smiled back) or doing the duck-walk while crossing a busy street (people stared, I wonder why).
But our absolute most favorite thing was to go to Harajuko on a Sunday (note, you gotta watch the video in the link to fully appreciate what follows).
Here is my favorite Harajuko story:
One time, tired of just sitting around and giving commentary on the people passing by, my friends and I had the inspired ideaa of testing how impressionable young Japanese girls are. So, we decided that I would pretend to be a famous movie star spotted by my fans ( it didn’t take us long to come up with the scenario because we were a very bright bunch :-)).
As it happened, that day I was wearing a black trench coat and had my dark glasses on so I looked the part (plus, of course, I’m movie star handsome).
So, we walked around a bit and picked a crowded spot in which to do the experiment. I slipped away from the group and then slowly walked back to where they were. My friends started screaming . I made like I was avoiding them. They went after me, shouting my name and demanding for my autograph. I was so into the role . I might even have said “Leave me alone”.
By the time I stopped to “sign autographs”, there was already a group of Japanese goth girls milling around our group, pointing at me and asking "who is he?" (as translated during the post-mortem by one of the friends who was better at Japanese than the rest of us)
I don’t remember exactly how the afternoon ended. We probably went back to the dorm and waited for the 9 pm discounts to have dinner.
Good times, those. Hey, one day I might write about the glorious day I hit a hole-in-one.