Continued from Hiroshima Day 2.
We are leaving Hiroshima and heading to Osaka today.
We sit down at our assigned seats, and whoever sat down here at left his/her phone. Oops. We found an train attendant and she took down the seat number where the phone was left, so hopefully the phone will find its way back to its owner.
This is how you sleep on the shinkansen, with your head hanging off in the walkway. Again, a super pleasant ride. Sitting on the shinkansen is as comfortable as sitting in my own living room, it’s awesome. This is a short ride, only a bit over an hour. I must try and get as much backlog of blogging done.
There’s an English menu, but it doesn’t really tell you anything. But…we figured it out. You see those yellow stickers with Japanese and arrows printed on it? I believe those are the actual instructions on the steps needed to buy tickets.
This is what $87 a night gets you in a very central location right next to the main subway line. This is probably the smallest room that we’ve had. There wasn’t not even room for me to place my backpack except in the short hallway leading from the front door into the room.
It’s Saturday, so we decided that tonight would be a good night to go out drinking in Osaka. We devoted the afternoon to napping so that we would have energy to stay out late tonight.
Kani Doraku’s giant mechanical crab in Dotonbori, the eating and drinking street. We tried to get reservations to eat here tonight, but they were all booked. We had to settle for a reservation tomorrow night instead.
The odd fashion of Japan. There’s the two girls wearing the same outfit on the right. The girls on the left with umbrella and stripper heels are probably working girls of some sort. All the popular intersections in this area have those girls standing around. And you know they’ve been standing around because their umbrellas have collection much more water droplets than other people….that and the stripper high heels.
Still looking for some place to drink, we’ll see if there are any bars on Shinsaibashi. The bars back at Dotonbori are mostly not street level, but up on the different floors of buildings. We kind of want something where we can peek in to look at the scene first.
No bars really on Shinsaibashi, it’s mostly retail. But, we did see more ladies of the night standing around on busy cross walks. Again, the giveaways being the rain drop dotted umbrellas with the super tall heels. Odd that they stand in the most crowded places, since it’s very conspicuous for a potential customer to inquire.
Downed my big ass beer, and now it’s time to hop to the next spot. But first, toilet break before hitting the street. I walked into the restroom, and there’s a Japanese smart toilet there, good. I steady my slightly drunken self with an arm on the opposite wall(all drunk guys know this move) and proceed to being my business. Just as I was about to begin, I hear this beep followed by the toilet lid closing itself!!! OHHH, NOOO!!!!! WTF!!!!….As I stand there trying to figure out what just happened, I hear another beep and the toilet lid goes back up. OK, let’s do this because I really need to go!
So the waterfall starts, and halfway into it, I hear yet another beep. OH FUCK!!! The lid starts to close for no reason!!! AAHHHHH!!!! I had to stop mid stream to prevent from pissing all over the toilet. And as soon as the lid closed, it followed with another beep and the lid opening back up. The waterfall starts again, and I am not taking anymore chances. With one hand, I steady myself against the wall, and with the other hand, I hold the toilet lid open so it can’t try to out dumb itself by closing while I am doing my business.
Two more failed attempts later by the toilet lid, I was out of the bathroom. Damn you too smart for your own good Japanese toilets!!
We are in search of a bar that supposedly has all sorts of video games and fair priced drinks. It’s supposed to be in this building, but we can’t find a sign for it. We did, however, find this sign pointing to the basement with numerous bars listed…Hmmm
The only way down is through this dirty(extremely dirty for Japanese standards) and seedy stairs. Sober KL and RL would have cringed and walked on. Drunk KL and RL thought, what the hell, let’s do it!
We arrived down into this disheveled basement that felt like it was 140 degrees. It was HOT down here, and soon became apparent to us why that is. All those doors lead to tiny bars, that can maybe fit 10 people, and all those bars have their AC condenser units sitting out in the hallway blowing hot air. This place felt like it was from another world.
We walked around peering into the different bars. They are all drastically different and each have a different theme. We walked by one that was Japanese themed, and we walked by one that had punk rock playing and inside it was decorated with punk rock posters and a group of hardcore punk rocker Japanese sitting inside. Wicked!!
All the bar stools were taken, so we sat down at one of the seats backing up to the wall. There was a guitar on the seat, so the bartender came by to move it away for us. We asked if it was his guitar, which he replied with yes and played us a short tune. Sweet.
KL ordering drinks. There are only about 10 seats in here and the whole size of the bar is about the size of a small American hotel room. This photo is taken from one corner diagonally to the other corner of the bar.
A couple of drinks later, several people leave from the bar and the bartender asked if we would like to join in at the bar. Sure! The bartender, MM, is also the owner of this place and he speaks conversational English. And man, is he a character!
Some of his stories of his colorful youth!
He visited NYC when he was 19 with his then boss. At night his boss disappeared somewhere, so he was bored and naturally, did some coke. After that, he wanted to buy some beer to get rid of his coke hangover, so he went to the convenience store, only to be denied by the Chinese girl working the counter because he was underage. Somehow, after much charming, she gave in and put the beers inside a bag and left it on the counter while she went to the bathroom. The next day, he went back, thanked her and asked her out to dinner. They then spent the next few days in NYC together, then she wanted him to meet her parents….errr…what? He went back to Japan, and hasn’t visited NYC since.
He was young and poor traveling in Europe trying to get from Paris to London to see his friend, who owes him $500 dollars. He had $10 left in his wallet and was sitting in a park trying to figure out how to get enough money to get on the Eurostar to go from Paris to London. Then some Nigerian guy approached him and started talking to him. Eventually, the Nigerian guy proposed that MM should stand watch while the Nigerian guy goes and shoplifts a grocery store. So, that’s what they did, and they split the proceeds. MM then sold the wine they “procured” to some Japanese tourists and managed to get enough money for train tickets to London. When he got to London, his friend met up with him and provided him with the $500, two joints, and two pills of ecstasy. He said it was totally worth it.
17 years MM has owned this bar. He’s run it since he was 23 and he takes 2 long vacations a year. The bar opens from 9pm until 7 or 8am(!!!) and caters mostly to regulars in the service industry for when they get off work after a late shift. The bar doesn’t get crowded until well past in the middle of the night.
MM says that about 1/3 of his patrons are expats(we were the only foreigners there that night), so we asked him who the worst foreigners are. He said that Austrians ones are, because they think they can just get any Japanese girl that they want. He said that just last week he had to kick out an Australian guy out of his bar because he was being rude to the Japanese girls inside the bar. He said he lend over and whispered in the guy’s ear “if you do not leave now, I will kill you”. The guy left.
So…I am not a tobacco smoker…unless I am really really really drunk. Then sometimes I’ll bum a cigarette from someone once in a while. Well, I am really really really drunk right now and I am looking for a cigarette. I eye the cigarette machine sitting inside the bar, then MM tells me that it doesn’t work, but that’s ok because if I am just looking for a few cigarettes, he’ll just roll some for me and give it to me for free!!! Awesome!
For me, there’s drunk, dancing drunk, then somewhere between dancing drunk and blackout drunk is smoking drunk. But this kind of drunk only happens about once a year. Don’t worry DH, I am not really a smoker!
MM writes down directions for us to try his favorite noodle shop around here. He says it stays open until 3:30am. He isn’t actually sure about when the noodle shop opens because he’s always there in the middle of the night only.
Back and…hope we can hold it all together for the night. That was one of the coolest experiences ever!!! Time capsule 90s bar in a seedy basement in Osaka with one cool cat bartender. Felt so out of this world, did that just really happen? Just about the perfect night in Japan and definitely one of the highlights of our honeymoon!
Tomorrow morning will probably be one of the low lights of our honeymoon….
To be continued at Osaka Day 2.