After work on my second Sunday evening in Japan (yes, I work on Sundays), I got invited by my coworkers to go drinking. Now apparently in Japan it is a pretty common thing to go out drinking with coworkers in order to socialize and create a stronger team of workers. So, not wanting to be left out, I decided to join and found myself in a tiny little Italian restaurant near my office.
There were quite a few of us, so when we needed to spread out, we kindly asked the young ladies at the next table if we could ‘take over’ their table. After they vacated their seats, I sat down to my first glass of wine of the evening. But considering their kindliness, my coworkers decided to send a bottle of wine over to the young fresh-out-of-university students. This started a loud discussion which resulted in the three ladies joining our table and soon I was surrounded by non-English speakers.
By this time, however, I was on my third or fourth glass of wine and was thoroughly keen to try and communicate with these Japanese women. Luckily it was easier than expected as, not only were a few of my coworkers fluent in Japanese, but when the topic of Disney was reached, the young women’s faces lit up. We spent a good solid few hours (or so it seemed) avidly proclaiming which Disney movies we liked more…
Of course all in my rudimentary Japanese as I am a true beginner to the language. But it looked like we were breaking down language barriers thanks to a little …I lie… a lot of wine, and a mixture of basic Japanese and basic English.
Soon enough our new friends were too intoxicated to stand so my coworkers set them off home and we shared a drink with the restaurant’s staff (seeing as we were now the only people there). Feeling quite intoxicated myself, we all soon decided to call it a night. But with one problem: I had missed my last train home…
Thankfully, a… um… ‘kindly’ coworker was willing to let me crash on his couch. So I followed him and his housemate to the station and stumbled our way to his house, where I proceeded to pass out on a very tiny couch. I awoke without a hangover (thanks to my superpower of never having one), but felt a very uncomfortable crick in my neck and intense humidity washing over me – all the while still being in my work clothes.
Soon enough I was guided back to the train station by my colleague and climbed onto the first early afternoon train, only to discover that I had travelled in the opposite direction from my home. Meaning that I had a two hour train ride back to my cool, air conditioned bedroom. Needless to say, it was a long journey.
Basically, there is an important moral to this story: If you intend to go out at night, always (and I mean always) check the train schedule for your last train home. You don’t want to be stuck somewhere far away from home (especially in the middle of a very humid summer). Luckily for me I had a nice enough coworker so I didn’t have to stay at an infamous love hotel… But more on those later…