Japan · Life · Music

The river…

I need to write about this now because even though this memory is burned into my brain, I want it to be there forever because everything about it was so beautiful.  Yesterday, Shingo and I rolled up to a nearby city which is jam packed with historical Japanese shit (temples, shrines and the like).  Because of this, it’s also jam packed with tourists.  Even though Shingo is a tourist himself, he doesn’t particularly like doing touristy things.  He likes finding the real in a city.  Real people, real things to do.  The city we visited yesterday also happens to be the place where Yuichiro lives (even though it’s quite far from Company H).  Of course, I know he lives there and we arranged to meet him later in the day.  Aside from Company H, Yuichiro works at an izakaya, and he said he had to work that night but could meet us before he went to work.  To escape the intense heat and appease me, Shingo and I sat in a vegan cafe for a little over an hour.  The food was so delicious.  After that, Shingo wanted to go sit in a tea house, so we walked to one nearby while trying to figure out what Yuichiro was doing and when he’d meet us.  It started out being 2PM, then changed to 3PM, and finally landed on 4PM (which bummed me out because he had to work at 5PM).  Yuichiro kept asking what our plan was, and I kept saying “no plan” which was true.  Shingo and I didn’t have a plan besides eating vegan food, drinking tea and meeting Yuichiro.

After the tea house, we walked to the station to meet Yuichiro who was 10 minutes late.  Yuichiro walked us through a 商店街 (a covered shopping street), and I kept joking that we didn’t have these in my city.  (We do.  Tons of them.)  I kept asking where we were going but Yuichiro kept saying “no plan!” so I guess it was my fault for not planning anything.  While walking through the 商店街 I spotted プリクラ (my literal favorite thing to do in Japan), and I dragged Shingo and Yuichiro into a booth.  Afterward I told Shingo that I had wanted to do that with him, but I was afraid he wouldn’t do it (which is dumb because he’s a total yes man).  He said he’d never done プリクラ before so it was an experience.  We walked and then walked some more and finally ended up sitting next to a river drinking chu-his from the Lawson.  I found this hilarious because Yuichiro had to go to work.  No problem.  Just one.  Time passed.  It got to 5PM (Yuichiro’s start time).  He said it was okay that he had contacted his work and said he’d be late.  He said he was leaving at 5:30PM.  At 5:30PM Shingo went to get more alcohol and came back with the tall cans this time.  At 6PM, Yuichiro was still sitting by the river drinking with us.  After some time it became apparent that he wasn’t going to work that day.  The river was a lively place.  A man started drumming on a makeshift drum set made of various different objects.  Many people walked by taking pictures.  A woman fed ducks.  A salaryman brought his guitar to the river but didn’t actually play it very much.  In fact, Yuichiro managed to get his hands on it.  Funny that whenever there’s a guitar and Yuichiro in the same vicinity, he’ll undoubtedly end up playing it.

An aside.  The first time I went to see Yuichiro’s band I brought him a bunch of snacks from America.  These had been sitting in our cupboard and were set to expire soon.  In addition, some of the things I couldn’t eat because of this low carb diet.  One of the things I couldn’t eat which broke my whole heart was Cheez-Its.  Cheez-Its are my ultimate favorite snack in the history of snacks, but you can’t buy them in Japan, so I always stock up when I go to America and sometimes my mom sends them to me.  I gave a box to Yuichiro but I held on to the last box hoping I could eat them.  Well I couldn’t, so yesterday I gave my last box of Cheez-Its to Yuichiro.  When I asked about the snacks I gave him before, he had said that Cheez-Its were his favorite amongst them all.  This made me so happy, so it wasn’t such a big loss to pass them on to someone who’d enjoy them.  When he opened the bag, he laughed.  It was a great moment.

Time passed.  Shingo went to get more beer and yakitori which I couldn’t eat, but he shared with Yuichiro.  Our dinner was yakitori, those tube shaped cookies and eventually Oreos the remainder which ended up in my bag somehow.  We talked, we laughed, we made videos and took pictures of the sunset.  I took a really shitty picture which Yuichiro corrected by grabbing my phone and taking a much much better picture.  Everything was so peaceful and perfect.  Except Usagi drank too much again.  Well not exactly.  I didn’t really drink an excessive amount of alcohol, but I didn’t eat anything, so when I went to stand up, I almost fell over.  Shingo and Yuichiro wrangled me to a Mexican restaurant which happened to be next to the river.  (What are the odds of that in Japan?)  We said hearty goodbyes to Yuichiro who kept saying he had to meet a “friend” (I don’t know if that meant actual friend or girlfriend).  The best part was while I was hugging Yuichiro goodbye, Shingo called out “You guys are so cute, I wanna join!” and attack hugged us, and we all had a giant hug.  It was great.  Shingo and I went downstairs to attempt to stop the drunk by putting food in me and Yuichiro waved many goodbyes from upstairs before disappearing.  Shingo ordered some food, and I took tiny nibbles, drank water, and cried.  I don’t know why I cried.  Maybe because such a wonderful day had ended, maybe because I was drunk, maybe because I won’t see Yuichiro for a while and Shingo will leave soon.  Who can explain drunk tears?  I managed to get back to a buzzed state and chatted Shingo’s ear off on the long train ride home.  No vomiting happened last night.

Another aside.  I don’t know Yuichiro’s girlfriend because she’s never been at a show that I’ve been at.  I asked Yuichiro why she doesn’t come, and he just shrugged it off like she’s working or busy.  It’s funny because the first show I went to I posted videos of it on my Instagram story.  She watched every single one (because you can see who views your stories).  I don’t know why she did this.  Is she jealous of me?  That would be silly because I’m an old married woman.  I noticed she watched the videos I made yesterday too.  There were no videos of Yuichiro there.  It was just videos of Shingo and I and all our food.  Not sure why she was interested in that unless she was looking for Yuichiro.  I’m not sure what to think of her.  I’m sure she must see Yuichiro more than I do as I only see him once a week at most (sometimes twice at Company H).  I think she needs to calm down, but that’s only my outward perspective based on minimal evidence.

Anyway Yuichiro messaged me while I was at dinner saying he had a great time (us too) and thanking us for coming to visit.  No mention of him ditching work to hang out with us, but I’m secretly so happy he did.  I guess you can ditch work in Japan.  I never have (except on my birthday but that’s a pre-planned ditch or basically a day off).  Anyway, we didn’t do anything major.  We ate and talked and laughed and did プリクラ and sat by a river drinking and talked and laughed and talked some more.  It was peaceful and relaxing and happy and wonderful.  The people in this place have really made this a place I can say I love because I already love the people I found here.  It wasn’t long ago that I hated this place with every fiber of my being, so I’m glad to say that has changed.  Finally, I am home.

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