Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Part 8: Party like it's 2005

If you're confused, you ought to go back to Part 1.  

March 12, 2005

Ladies and gentleman, am now approaching the 58th hour without sleep. Yes I have been awake for all fifty-eight of those hours, and yes, all fifty-eight of them were so action-packed that I had no time to update this journal until now. You might wonder why I do not go to sleep now. And I don’t know either. I wish I could spare a long story but I feel I must do all my writing now, so to keep track of things I have inserted the approximate time above each event.

Seeing as how the last two nights were kind of dull I suggested to Jonathan that we sleep in late Thursday morning so that we can go to the clubs with the Swedish girls. Therefore we awoke around noon and attempted to fulfill the day’s itinerary. We stopped off at Shinjuku which is the center of the business districts in Tokyo. There, we ate at Wendy’s, but it was Japanese Wendy’s with a twist. They had this Curry burger, and no matter how much I love curry that burger just looked weird. I wasn’t feeling very adventurous so I just had a cheese burger and fries. Food comes in way smaller portions in Japan. For example, a medium drink in Japan is about the size of a kid’s drink in America, and no free refills. Well, this Wendy’s was also awesome because they played that “Ma Ya Hi, a Ya Ho” song and me and Jon started dancing. We spent very little time in Shinjuku and just went back to the ryokan and chilled.

We waited at the ryokan for the Swedish girls to return from their sojourn in Kyoto. I was feeling really tired and I was kind of hoping we wouldn’t go to the club after all. So Jonathan and I were sitting in the lobby, talking with the hostess Yuki. We taught her some American slang, like “Wazzup, Homie, Drop it like it’s hot, Watch out fo the Popos!” and other such useful phrases. I even told her what “suck it, bitch!” means. Sort of. Well, while we were waiting in the lobby this gay couple walked in. At first Jonathan was taken aback but then he went out to smoke and one the gay guys joined him. I don’t know what they talked about but apparently the guy was cool because Jonathan came back in asking me if we wanted to have dinner with the gay guys. We decided on a Ramen shop. As it turned out, the guys ended up being way cool. They were from New York. Names: Tim and John. They were super funny and had no problem with Jonathan and me being 17. We talked about a lot of stuff, our little dinner turned into an almost all-nighter. They even order drinks. When we finally arrived back at the ryokan the Swedish girls had already gotten back from Kyoto and were dressed and waiting for us in the lobby. I was tired as hell (which was nothing though compared to what I feel now) so I wasn’t really up for going, but then I realized that I would definitely not have this experience in the states so I should take advantage of it while I am here. Thank Buddha I went shopping while I was here because other wise I would have had nothing cool to wear.

We arrived at Roppongi by about 12:30. We had to plan our time strategically because the subways make their last round at midnight and then start up running at 5 in the morning. The streets of Roppongi were alive with lights and people. The district seemed totally transformed. The club we went to was called 911. It was small, or at least it seemed so because it was SO incredibly crowded. There were mostly men, in nice suits, or business attire. They were practically all foreigners, but all the girls in the club were definitely all Japanese. That makes a lot of sense when taking into account that all the business men are probably paying these girls to be with them. Well, despite this there were still a lot of hot people there, both men and women, and everybody was dancing like crazy.

The first thing that happened when I walked in was that a drunk Japanese businessman hit on me. I got rid of him fast though. Then as I was dancing with my friends some guy just came right up behind me and started to dance with me. He introduced himself and said he was from Turkey. I didn’t back off at first because he seemed normal and friendly. I danced with him a little but then he started to get little too touchy. So I tried to make him back off. He offered to buy me a drink but I refused because I didn’t want to have to owe him anything and I didn’t feel like being slipped a roofie that night. He would not leave me alone even after that and when he asked for my phone number I knew what had to be done. One of the Swedish girls who had been watching out for me the whole night took my hand and said “she is with me!” When the guy looked confused I reconfirmed his thinking by saying, “I am a lesbian. This is my girlfriend.” He got the message and left.

After a few hours of dancing in that club I went to another club with Jonathan, and one of the Swedish girls (I cant remember their names, ooops).. It was much smaller and less crowded but still kind of nice. It was kind of boring at first until….two random Japanese girl ask me if I want to dance with them. They were both very pretty and I just wanted to have a good time so I accepted. They didn’t speak English but we didn’t need to do much talking to communicate. They were both good dancers and really touchy-feely. It was my impression that Japanese people did not like a lot of personal contact, but tonight I thought wrong. It was fun just because I love dancing, but I knew Jonathan would enjoy it a lot more, so I pulled him on the dance floor and tried to put him between me and the girls. It wasn’t too hard, when he started dancing the girls were all over him. Especially when he did the Harlem Shake and the Sea Walk. They even wanted him to teach them some moves.

After that adventure we headed back to 911 to check on our other friends. When I got back I was surprised to find one of the Swedish girls had hooked up and was totally making out with some random guy on the dance floor. Gross! I would never kiss someone I had just met. Anyways, Jonathan, who had gone out for a smoke a while earlier came running back in screaming “I just got hit on by a prostitute!” As it turns out, there is Jonathan, smoking a cig, minding his own business, when two hookers come up to him and invite them back to their room. He dragged me onto the street to meet the hookers. They spoke perfect English, were much older than I expected, and not as whore-looking as the stereotype. They said to me “what a pretty girl! She can join us too if you like.” I was kind of flattered, but mostly freaked out. So Jon and I went back into the club only to get hit on by more nasty men. What a night.

Ok, if you are wondering why the Swedish girls don't look "Swedish" (i.e blond) that's because they are Swedish-Chinese. Oooooooh. Get it?

We said goodbye to the girls around 5 in the morning, and decided to take advantage of this early morning energy and go to the Tsukiji fish market to see the early morning fish auctions. We met up with the gay guys, Tim and John and went to the fish market. We got there at 6:30, too late for the auctions, but in time to see a lot of cool fish. It was awesome. I took lots of pictures for my father because he likes fish. I hope that when my father dies his soul will go the Tsukiji fish market, because I know that there he would be truly happy.

After the fish market we all walked around Ueno park. Tim and John were going to go to the zoo and Jonathan and I wanted to go back to the ryokan to get cleaned up, because mind you, we were still in the same clothes as we wore to the club. We agreed to meet later. I thought I could take a nap at the ryokan but when I got back I realized we had a lot of cleaning to do. I cleaned while Jonathan slept.

 This is me at about 24 hours with no sleep. I don't remember being tired. But I remember being cold.

We met up with the guys in Shibuya but it kind of sucked because it was raining really bad. It was also cold as hell. So we didn’t stay there for long. Instead we went back to the ryokan and went skinny dipping in the Jacuzzi. Now if you thought skinny dipping with a platonic friend was awkward, now add two gay men to the equation. Yeah. It was fun, or well, interesting. While chatting in the Jacuzzi we came to a startling revelation: we should all go to a gay bar. And that is just what we did.

Gay New Yorkers are always prepared for anything. So of course these guys had a map of where all the gay bars are. As it turned out they are all situated right by each other in Shinjuku, in kind of a “gay district.” I was excited, so excited in fact that I forgot I hadn’t slept in over 24 hours.

I heard that most of the bars were segregated by sex, which  meant I would be separated from my crew. I was scared. What if no one spoke English? What will they think of me? How can I go to a bar alone? Still, I desperately wanted to go, not to pick up women of course, but I suppose it was my natural curiosity, or my inclination to belong in that society. I wanted to see what the gay scene is like in a repressed Asian culture. I was afraid they would think I was ugly or weird. Or they wouldn’t talk to me because I am white. Or that my Japanese sounded stupid to them.

We arrived around 10ish. The district was extremely hard to find. Of course, homosexuality is not accepted in that society so the district was pretty secluded. It was large though, larger than Oaklawn in Dallas and just as shady. We looked kind of foolish holding our map, trying to find the clubs. My insecurities disappeared soon after we breached the threshold of the district when I saw a feminine Japanese girl talking to an obviously gay man. They were kind of looking at me, no, really looking at me. And then the girl started speaking to me in Japanese. I understood her introduction and responded in Japanese, but when I did not understand her I asked if she could speak in English. We did not understand each other well enough to make further conversation.

We were still a bit lost despite having a map. And I was thinking we were not going to find the lesbo bar. Then suddenly I spotted a hardcore butch femme lesbian couple. Tim was like, “follow them!” and sure enough we came to the right place. I bid farewell to my friends for the evening and fearfully approached the bar door.

When I opened the door I saw a small room full of queers. Only one butch-femme couple, two more hardcore butches, a really beautiful femme-femme couple, and a bunch of just plain dykes. They were kind of like the ones in America, only Japanese. Short hair, lean and trim, boyish clothes, tough facades. I stood at the door just kind of staring for a while. And believe me, they stared back. I don’t think I was THAT hot, but I was the only white person. I didn’t know what to do so I asked the bartender where the bathroom was. Of course it was right in front of me. I didn’t even notice. That made me feel worse, but at least going to the bathroom gave me time to collect my thoughts. I decided that I would sit down, order a drink, and talk to whoever is sitting next to me. I walked out. Thanked the bar tender and then I heard someone ask, “Amerika jin desuka?” which means, “are you an American?” When I looked it was an older woman (around 30), not butch or femme, just kind of dykey looking. I spoke to her in Japanese and she told me she spoke English. Merciful Buddha! She pulled up the chair next to her and motion that I have a seat.

I was afraid of getting tipsy so I ordered a Malibu and we started talking. We talked in a mixture of Japanese and English. I was surprised to find how much Japanese I really knew. All those vocabulary words I learned really came in handy and I even impressed myself. Her English was pretty good, but she spoke to me in Japanese, probably not to insult me. We talked about many things. Being gay, living in Japan, the future, politics, Japanese attitudes towards Westerners. We had some deep conversations which was exactly what I wanted. I learned a lot form talking with her. It was so amazing to me. Being in a lesbo bar in a different county, I felt strangely comfortable. I thought, “Goddamit , how do you pull all this off?!” I amaze myself sometimes. I really do. I had a fascinating conversation with the woman, but I never spoke to any of the other ladies, and as for the woman I was talking to, well, she was definitely not coming on to me and I was definitely not coming on to her. We just enjoyed each others company. American to Japanese, Woman to Woman kind of thing. It was really cool. No, it way exceeded the epitome of cool.

After a while, I ended the conversation and excused myself. I wanted to go hang out with my friends in a club where we could all be together. I found them at a near by bar for gay men. Despite being female, the bouncer let me in, probably because my friends had already spent a ton of money at the bar. The two gay guys were already plastered and Jonathan was well on his way. Their bar had a more lively feeling to it. It was very loud and there was much laughter. I liked that atmosphere better, even though I was the only woman. I spoke enough Japanese to conversant with the bar tenders. I talked a lot about my girlfriend and other lesbian stuff. We all had so much fun. But it was a different kind of fun for me. I was enjoying the music and the Asian gay men. It was so comical. The best part doesn’t come until the end though.

We took the subway back a bit earlier than Jonathan and I had that previous morning and it was jam packed! We got squeezed into the train and I mean squeezed so hard that I could barely breathe. Even the gay New Yorkers were like “this should be illegal.” Boy, was it fun though, because every time the train swayed everybody in it flew to one side in a giant wave. It was like we were all moving as one. And everyone on the train was drunk so that was also pretty hilarious. That was the true Tokyo experience.

Well, I didn’t get to go to the ryokan and sleep, I had to pack because we checked out that morning and left for Tsukuba which us where I am now. A lot has happened since then but you will here about that later because I am tired off my ass and I am going to bed. Sayonara!

Next: Part 9!

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