JETs are awesome people and know how to have a good time – FACT.

Osaka Travel Blog

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Random Observation/Comment #: Do not repeat these events (if possible): Excessive drinking at an open bar  getting lost in Dotonbori from 2AM to 6AM  reversing all over the place (cough, Scott). Lemma: Do not reverse on friends helping you get to the bathroom. If this is not possible, reverse on parts of your friends that do not stain or ruin their night as well (cough, Kristin). Stop rocking the boat.
The night continued with the help of my little notepad. It was the magical powers of this notepad that exuded my quirky behavior and stamped immediate curiosity. It’s quite the sight to see someone pacing back and forth, writing frivolously at every interesting thing he sees. These blatantly observable characteristics (and the fact that I was drunk off my ass) gave me the extra edge to start a conversation with strangers.
For those who wonder, “How the hell did you meet random people at a capsule hotel?” The key to opening yourself to a new group is having a common interest or question. For example, since you’re both living in a capsule hotel, a friendly “so where are you from?” could branch into multiple topics. In my case, I used my notepad as a “whatzit,” so curious bystanders could just ask “hey, what’s that?” Although I do not expect a random stranger in Japan to start these conversations (since they’re probably also scared that they could be another “murdered in a capsule hotel” statistic), I usually refer to my “whatzit” to get things started. So, if wandering around and taking notes doesn’t draw enough attention, just say “excuse me, I was wondering if you could help me write an article for my journal.” Although this was the truth (since I’m writing an article right now) I didn’t realize the power of this conversation starter with strangers until I stepped back to think about the usefulness of this tool.
If you’re all alone in a scary capsule hotel, it’s not a bad idea to make some friends and follow them along to a party or something. Actually, you could make it simpler with “hey, where are you from?” as you try to keep eye contact looking over to ask the guy at the urinal next to you. I don’t expect any positive responses with this setting (nor would I seriously suggest asking this question in the bodily fluid excrement atmosphere), but I think most people are happy with being a little talkative given the correct circumstances. Well, you can only argue with your alter ego about buying diesel jeans for so long…
As a main piece of advice, try to dress normally (like in one of those shrunken PJs). Try to look less creepy (or overly creepy if you want to attract the strangers that want to talk to you because they want to confirm or disprove their initial hypothesis of your freakiness). You’ll rarely see girls here by themselves (or at all), so your conversations will probably be with another college student, discussing topics spanning from tourist attractions to interesting travel experiences.
Since I was thoroughly trashed, I don’t really remember exactly how I wound up sitting next to Tim and Megan talking to Scott about the Japanese town of Obama. Apparently the coincidence of the earlier naming convention of this town with our Democratic candidate leads to a large association of themselves with our Presidential elections. I don’t really understand why other people on other continents are so interested in our voting process when not even 50% of us Americans give a damn. Maybe they just want more media attention because they live in a town called Obama. No matter the reason, it doesn’t pull away from the fact that there are Obama parades and parties with a large number of different paraphernalia for sale (I’m sure you can buy an Obama bobble head or at least a this-won’t-be-worn-by-Obama flag pin). They’ve even erected a statue of him and they’re teaching his methods as if it were the tradition of bushido – where’s the club? Because I’m in… maybe.
It was 10PM and I had invited myself into a group of Japanese Exchange Teachers who were traveling from 3 to 5 hours away to spend a weekend in Osaka. The amount of times they’ve lived at this particular capsule hotel had ranged from twice to nine times (Tracy gets a free nights stay with one more). They all had their own unique attributes to add to the group. And we all had something in common – we each watched “Lost in Translation” at least twice. “For relaxing times, make it Suntory times.”
In my memory, from right to left, counter-clockwise my opinions of these pilots are as follows (Get it? JETs? I know you’re laughing at me more than with me.):
Ti-mu offers a wide range of comical relief and relevant historical context in his mildly drunken state. The vulgar (or maybe just frankness) with his words propel the conversations forward. The trashed state of Ti-mu stumbles left and right, and tends to meet random people in the street. It is quite the show when he causes this scene. Hung-over Ti-mu is a train wreck, but his tequila face tells the progression of the night better than me.
What Amy lacks in height, she makes up in cuteness factor (perhaps the height even adds to the cuteness). She turns into a little cherry tomato when drunk and tends to get into a lot of unwanted drama. She also does not know how to hold onto her bag when she’s stumbling (You must have dropped it a million times. A million.). I just learned that she loves anime, and I wish this would have come up in conversation earlier so we could have discussed our opinions on what ideas FLCL is really trying to convey (why a guitar? …Eyebrows?).
Katelyn, er Kristen, er Kristin knows how to party and have a good time. I won’t hold it against her that she’s from New Jersey, but I’m going to hold it against her because she’s from New Jersey. ::Shakes Fist:: I do this even though more than half of my Cooper friends are from New Jersey (controversial is fun!– I mean no offense). Her liver is not happy with her 5 drinks in one hour decision. There-there… it’s okay. Sober Kristin makes hilarious faces in my photo shots :P.
Tracy has a captivating accent (maybe because I have a thing for accents). She speaks her mind, and I think I’ll rely on her to fend off any scary guys. It’s not as though she looks in any way intimidating, but the commanding voice and a stern knee to the groin usually sends a signal that’s hard to misunderstand. And if you don’t get the point, I’m sure the elbow to the throat would clear things up.
The conversations tend to shift from one topic to another when Scott is around. He includes his own flare with weird honking sounds and hilarious stories. His drunken state is one to be reckoned with, but the overall party liveliness follows him around. It’s like a whole truck of strippers, balloons, and midgets is always rolling next to him. He is undoubtedly the friendliest guy who can just start random conversations with strangers. His tendency to give the Friends’ Chandler’s boss ass slap while inebriated may cause bruises on the buttocks (You can quote me on “bruises on the buttocks”).
Warren is the silent, yet deadly type. I know he secretly wants to be a ninja. His thoughts are complex, but come alive as he observes the little things in everyone’s personality. With this power of accessing his surroundings, he makes quiet, yet ingenious remarks. Speak up, man – the articulation is much praised. He seems to be the most likely candidate to carry around a pen and notepad (or maybe I’m the only one weird enough to do this).
And last, but not least, Megan. I got to know her the best, and we had the most in-depth conversations about life and culture. She’s jumped from so many interesting jobs to do some soul searching. The epiphany might have come to her in a song lyric or something, but her willingness to take risks and boundless options will give her the best stories of us all. Her insightful observations really shine through in drunken conversations, and I wish her the best of luck in Turkey.
Er, to continue with the storyline, I had apparently walked into a bit of a pre-gaming session. To this I ask: “Why are you pre-gaming if you’re going to an all-you-can-drink club/bar in 30 minutes?” That’s just silly. Yes, I know the liquid cocaine and Kirin Strong 8% can drive a man (and woman) to commit any range of illegal acts (kind of like a Klondike bar), but I’m more about optimization. In this case, optimizing the money in my wallet to the amount of horrible decisions I can make without remembering any of it.
“Pure” is actually the opposite of pure. “It’s dirty and there are caves.” This place should have been called “the hideout for all white guys and gangsta Japanese.” I guess the name would have been too long for the neon sign. Regardless, the bar was very interesting and got crowded very quickly by 1AM. I actually couldn’t tell if I should have enjoyed getting my ass grabbed in some of the instances because there was too much thick smoke and strobe lights to comprehend anything you saw. That could have been a Japanese girl, but with the way Japanese guys dress in their tight jeans and skinny body structures, I didn’t want to make any mistakes.
The bar had an expensive cover, but it was a good choice for dancing and seeing how clubs work here. It’s pretty much the same as New York, but with more cute Japanese girls. They dance in their little circles with their bags under their arms and a bottle of mace ready to attack/defend. And of course, the guys, creating the boundary between the dancers and the casual drinkers, use their tracking gaze for a fresh target (just like in New York). There are also the really creepy guys that wait by the door to hold the hands of drunk young girls to see if they can get lucky taking them home. I mean, they don’t even spend the entire night scandalously dancing with them to then get rejected at the door. I think they’ve figured out the secret that no matter how much you’ve danced with them or what history you’ve built throughout the course of the night, at the end, you still get that 50/50 chance of going home with them. If this is true, I have wasted so much time, and these creepsters are actually geniuses of the trade.
The rest of the night was a blur, but we all got back to the capsule hotel eventually. Everyone slept their 5 or 6 hours (as long as the capsule pirates didn’t disturb them). The morning was dreadful and we all looked like a mess of zombies eating Freshness burger down the block from the capsule hotel. The burgers were delicious. The buns were so soft and it was made with such freshness.
With a deep sigh that brought some sullenness to the day, I unfortunately had to continue my adventures for Sunday. We sadly parted ways with the closing thoughts in a large circle that made us look like we were doing something very important. It is a ritual performed by the wise words of Warren (the wizard/warlock of the West). Thank you for your parting enlightenment, and I wish all of you the best of luck.
~See Lemons Make New Friends

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photo by: yasuyo