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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

First Few Days In Japan For JETs?

So it's July 30, 2013. For most JET (Japan Exchange & Teaching) Programme folks... you are now in Japan... many of you for the first time... down in Tokyo... perhaps even at the Keo Plaza Hotel?

Why are you reading this?

Hopefully you have a bunch of people down from your prefecture taking you guys out tonight... showing you a good time in Tokyo's Roppongi district... the entertainment center. If they aren't... you need to find a group that is and ask if you can join them.

I don't care if you aren't the party animal type. You have to go and see the place to believe it.

I'm a former JET - 1990-1993... back when we could only stay a maximum three years - I would have stayed longer... and although I was never the most popular guy back in Toronto, I wasn't the most unpopular either. I was one of those guys who kind of fell between the cracks of being one of you - regardless of who YOU are.

But... there in Japan... I became James effing Bond... licensed to thrill. Okay... that's just ego talking... and it will slip out from time to time to time... but... to the point... Roppongi... you need to leave the hotel and go and check it out.

I remember that first night out with the gang from Tochigi-ken. Sort of.

That July evening in Tokyo - 1990 - a bunch of us newbies are led by Mary, Peter and Catherine. Peter is quiet... a Brit who is the boyfriend To Mary - a loud, fun and wacky American... and Catherine - who should have been every guy's wet dream.

So... I'm unsure what I ate for dinner... but I recall that there was a lot of drinking involved... and that we all had one of those low Japanese tables and we sat on pillows, which made me think that I was really going to hate Japan... me effing knees and back were killing me... and I wasn't even in bad shape yet.

There... at dinner, I HEAR one of the guys I was drinking with actually STEP INTO the Japanese toilet, and then hearing him swear... I do recall not liking the taste of green tea ice cream... I do recall a cute woman sitting near myself, Jeff and Matthew swallowing drinks at the same speed the three of us were, though she didn't seem to say a word to any of us. Maybe she was talking to someone else? I do recall walking to a train station... I do recall sweating... I do recall someone telling us how to buy a subway ticket. I don't recall anything else until we were walking around Roppongi looking for a place that would accept 25 gaijin (foreigners)... some places didn't want us (it happens)... others had too long a line-up... and then I do recall that one of our leaders - the super hot Catherine Komoldi saying that we could go into the Java Jive bar... but guys could only enter with a woman (which is how I prefer it)... and as I reached up to grab Catherine's beautiful hand, I was snatched away by that cute brunette who was drinking with us... and...

I don't recall a hell of a lot of what happened while I was in Roppongi... but I do know I had fun. I do know that I had about seven screwdrivers (orange juice and vodka)... I do know that I danced my ass off with a woman I just met (that brunette)... (I didn't know I could dance - and I'm still not sure I can, but I did get asked to go dancing by a few women over the next few years). I do know that the brunette and I went out back into the alleyway and made out... and after trying to find additional quiet places to make out, like doorways and other alleyways (we went up some stairs in an apartment!), we gave up and caught a taxi back to the hotel.

Just note that ¥10,000 is equal to $100. I gave the taxi driver $400 for a $25 ride. He was nice enough to not accept that... and when I got it right and gave him ¥40000, he wouldn't take the tip. He took the money from my hand - ¥3,000, and then made change. I tried to tip him again... he shook his head, bowed, smiled and got back into his cab and drove off.

Now... I'm expecting to go back to this woman's room to finish off what we started... or at least have her come back to my room to finish what we started... but she gave me a long kiss and asked me to wait a few minutes before she went back to her room and I went back to mine. Discretion and all that chivalrous crap.

Okay... whatever... it's still more action than I ever got back home... but I was horny, horny, horny... so rather than have to explain the lack of blood to the brain to my roommate Tom - who decided NOT to go out - I walked around the block... and then after de-tenting, I walked back to the hotel... only to find the front doors locked.

Are you effing kidding me? Who locks the front doors of a hotel? The Keio Plaza Hotel... that's who. So... I walked around - it's 3:30AM... and spotted other gaijin walking about... and people who had kiosks set up in front of the hotel's meeting room where JET meetings were held for us during the day... I saw the suicide help line... the depressed hotline... the lawyer hotline... and I talked to them all... not because I ever thought I would need their help, but because I was bored... and they were bored... and dammit, I had to stay awake until 6AM when the hotel proper would be opened up again.

Somehow lasting until 6AM... I went up to my room... slept for 2-1/2 hours and then had a shower et al... and then made my way down for a 5-minute breakfast before having to attend the 9AM JET meetings that would last until 3:30PM.

Quite the second night in Japan, eh? For my first night in Japan, read THIS

And you know what... I had no idea what that girl's name was.

Here I was in Japan... a guy with zero luck with women back in Toronto... had already met a gorgeous woman the night before (Kristine) ... and was making out with another cutie pie a night later, who had no problems with my grabby hands, nor I with hers... and I'm stuck in a teen comedy with no concept of who's throat I had my tongue down last night.

Luckily I spotted her a row in front of me at the meetings... and I quickly went through the roster of new JET participants in Tochigi-ken to see if I could learn her name. I couldn't figure it out.

Matthew... one of my drinking buddies from the night before... I don't know if he actually made it down to the Java Jive afterwards... blur... and vodka... and messing around... anyhow... he asked one of the others near her and we found out her name was Ashley.

Yup... classic teen comedy bull crap. Ashley... from Georgia in the U.S... and she lived in the town next to mine in Japan... and taught at the Boy's High School in my city of Ohtawara.

Here I was in Japan...two days in... and I think that soon enough... I was going to get laid for the first time.

Japan is awesome. Get out of your comfort zone and go have some fun while you are in Tokyo...

Cheers,
Andrew Joseph

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