Yesterday I had an awesome birthday! It goes down as one of the more bizarre birthdays I’ve had (and that’s saying a lot. Last year I spent my birthday in Nepal, feeding a neighbor’s baby orphan elephant lentils out of a beer bottle).
But it was nevertheless entertaining. Here are some of the few strange things that happened…
First, some random J-man walking past me on the street told me I was beautiful. In English, no less! This is shocking for two reasons:
1. Japanese men never talk to me
2. Japanese men never talk to me
Well, I should amend that and say that they don’t talk to me unless they are drunk. This is partly true because they’re shy…but it’s mostly because people don’t really strike up conversations with strangers here.
But God, it was so nice to get a compliment like that from a perfect stranger. I think that’s one of the things I miss most about the States…even though I lived in New York City, (with a population infamous for being being rude and unfriendly) it was still a shock how, well, reserved people are here.
Second, some random grandma started petting my hair while I was waiting in line at the 7-11. Which, sometimes happens with children (my students call me “lion”) but never with adults. So naturally, we got to talking. She told me I had kawaii (cute) hair and then we talked politics.
“America is good.”
“Yes, Japan is good.”
And then she asked me how old I was, so I told her it was my birthday. And so get this, she bought me french fries! Score.
Then, at work, the secretary surprised me with her son, and a basket of desert. “He’s never met an American before.” And then they sang happy birthday to me. In front of the whole juku (cram school) of astonished high school kids.
But the best part came when we went to the Lock Up, a restaurant I’d just written
that I wanted to visit.
This place was totally bizarro…It was described as a ‘prison-themed’ restaurant, but it was more like eating in a haunted house. Every 20 minutes or so the lights would go off, Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’ would blast over the loud speakers and these monsters and zombies would run around the restaurant clanging chains and bursting into the ‘cells’ where people were eating. All the girls I came with were genuinely freaked out and would scream bloody murder each time this happened. It was hilarious.
Although, after about the third time, the whole show got to be a wee bit annoying. Who could eat or have a conversation when the lights kept going off? Other than that, and the fact that the food portions were minuscule (even by Japanese restaurant standards), it was definitely a fun night. And if you’re visiting Japan, you should definitely go! One of my friend’s planned the whole thing…which was really sweet of her. Thanks a bunch, Yuki!
Here’s a pictorial of the night…
Me, about to stab a friend with a syringe
Trapped in the Jail Cell
One of the better looking Zombies…
Angelina Jolie, ala ‘Girl Interrupted’. That’s jello shot, in case you were wondering…
These four capsules cost 120 yen (one dollar!) Not a bad deal, right? Well, they were filled with what’s got to be the same stuff they use to clean the floor, because it tasted like rubbing alcohol. Only worse. It stung…and made my mouth go numb. But watching every one’s reactions as they ate them was totally worth it…look for the photos on facebook.
A vampire, maybe? I guess the people who created the restaurant were a little indecisive when it came to picking a theme. So they went the with the ol’ Japanese standby: When in doubt, combine them all! So it’s sort of a jail/zombie/vampire/Freddy Kreuger/haunted dungeon themed restaurant.
These tasted like wine coolers…but were fun to play with. It was like being back in high school Chem class…