The Kimochi Warui Diary
I haven’t mentioned this until now, but I’ve been recording this whole trip in my journal. When all is said and done, it’s this journal, alone, that will be there to remind me of my experiences during this trip.
And because anything can happen at any time, I always keep my journal folded up in my back pocket. It’s a thin, blue, Japanese style “Campus” notebook that’s capable of taking plenty of abuse.
But for safekeeping and convenience, I decided to place it in the same grocery bag with the magazine I just bought—and that was how I made my mistake.
But before that came to fruition, I walked out of the 7-Eleven and into a nameless karaoke bar across the alleyway.
You wouldn’t have known that’s what it was at first glance. It was incredibly well-lit for a bar, and the counter was lower to the ground—like something you’d see in a diner. And strangest of all, the place lacked any kind of décor aside from some picture frames on the walls.
And yet, there was a stage in the back for people who wanted to sing karaoke. There were also numerous TVs on the walls displaying the karaoke lyrics.
I sat in the next empty bar stool, next to a random Japanese guy. He started asking me the usual questions:
“Are you from America?”
“America,” I said. “No, wait, shit, I mean Canada. I mean yes, both.”
“Okay, okay.” He didn’t know what I meant, but he understood I was drunk.
The bar tender materialized into my field of vision. She was cute and nicely made up.
“You drink? You sing?”
She was much more direct than any of the other Japanese girls I’ve met.
“Are you from Osaka?” I asked.
“No. I’m from China. Tell me if you want order something.”
“I’m going to sing!” I decided.
She looked at me a bit concerned. She even scoffed at me.
“Really? You sing right now?”
“Yes, I’ll sing! Do you have any iDOLM@STER songs?”
“What about Shugo Tokumaru?”
“I don’t know what that is.”
I turned to the Japanese guy next to me and leaned over. “Dude, this girl doesn’t even know Shugo Tokumaru.”
“Sorry,” he said. “I don’t know it.”
Him too? Something was seriously wrong with these people, but I wasn’t going to let it bother me. I finally convinced the waitress to let me sing Haruka Tomatsu’s “Motto Hade Ni Ne!” and she brought me the microphone.
The song began to play, and the lyrics appeared in Japanese. Luckily, there was hiragana for me to read, but I couldn’t keep up. I started becoming self-aware of how drunk I was as I slurred through each word. I kept thinking that, if I at least focused really hard on moving my mouth and annunciating the words properly, it would all come out the way it was supposed to. But the Chinese girl didn’t give me a chance before she took the microphone back.
“No! You done!”
Those people didn’t even know who Shugo Tokumaru was, so I had no reason to stay. I stumbled out of the bar and back onto the streets.
Streetlights and store signs surrounded me in a blur as I made my way to the next alleyway, the one just next to the hostel. In this alleyway were two vending machines:
One with beer and sake jars, and another with packs of cigarettes.
Thank God, more cigarettes. But somehow, the cigarette machine wouldn’t take my money. What the fuck!
An older Japanese man carrying plastic grocery bags walked by.
“No, no, no,” he said with a smile. “You can’t buy unless you have card.”
“What card? From where?”
“Buy card from store.”
This sounds familiar… It’s all coming together now… He’s talking about a card you can buy only if you’re 18 or older. It’s to prevent minors from buying cigarettes.
“We have to protect the youth of Japan!” I said. Then I added, “Hey wait, but what about the alcohol? Do I need a card to buy that?”
“You want alcohol? You just put money in. No card.”
What in the hell…
The man then produced a box of cigarettes and loosened one out for me.
People from Osaka were insanely chill.
“You are from America?”
“That is correct sir,” I said, and I nodded so hard it almost looked like I was bowing.
“I want to travel to America. Why you come to Japan?”
“I don’t know man, I just like Japanese stuff. Hey, do you know Shugo Tokumaru?”
“I’m sorry, it’s the first I’m hearing of it.”
My world is spinning. How do Japanese people not know about this one Japanese indie musician that my white friend told me about? Are we too hip even for the average Japanese person? Do I like Japanese things even more than Japanese people?
The Japanese man, however, had gotten just what he needed from the conversation with the foreigner. He bid me farewell and went along his happy way. I was glad of it.
I sat in the alleyway for a few minutes more as I nursed the last of my cigarette. Then I flicked it down the alleyway, watched it explode in a shower of sparks, and allowed myself a few breaths of fresh air.
I went back to the hostel, and the first thing I did was took a shit in one of the communal bathrooms. As I let it rip, the bathroom and the world outside of it spun around me. I could feel the earth spinning beneath us all, hurtling me and my turds through space. I’m definitely done drinking.
I went downstairs to the lobby where the other guests were all hanging out together. I plopped down next to one end of the table. I sat there and absorbed the atmosphere, thinking about my time so far in Japan, suddenly getting all introspective.
Now was the perfect time to capture some thoughts in my journal. But as I reached for my back pocket—there was no journal where it usually was.
Of course, that’s because the journal was in the grocery bag! So I looked to the floor next to me… And then underneath the table—under my ass too.
No bag. No porno mag.
And worst of all, no journal.