Wednesday, June 09, 2004

The Rest of my Weekend: the Rave I didn’t go to, the porno-religion party, and the weird man on the street
As noted a couple posts ago, on Friday night I went out with Greg and some of his female Japanese friends and the Korean girl they were hosting. Actually Friday night we ended up staying at the bar long after our female companions had gone home. I sang Karaoke until my voice went, which probably wasn’t such a good idea because I was coming down with a bit of a cold anyway. The rest of the weekend I had a frog like voice which would crack frequently. This was much to the amusement of my friends, who thought I sounded just like that teen-age kid on “The Simpsons”. They tried to get me to talk a lot just so they could laugh at my voice, which I think only made my condition worse.

Since we were in Greg’s town of Kusu, we all spent the night at Greg’s apartment. Greg, who passed out at the bar, was the first one to go home. Eion didn’t make it back until sunrise. I was the moderate in the group, calling it a night at about 3.

The next morning Eion left to go back to his house to sleep some more. Greg and I dropped Dave back off at his house, and then spent the afternoon swimming at Ryomon waterfall in Kusu. If I had a digital camera, you would be looking at a picture of the waterfall now. As it is, you’ll just have to take my word that it is a very beautiful place to spend a Saturday afternoon.

Our options for Saturday night were two fold. There was an all night rave going on at Mount Aso, and a party in Oita city called, “Thou Passion”, which was described as a costume party with a porn star theme, and, if possible, a twist of religion.

Initially we were all leaning towards the rave. The last rave I went to in Japan I had a great time at, and remember seeing a lot of cute girls, as well as some of the more interesting extremes of Japanese fashion.

However since Mount Aso was 3 hours away, if we went we would have been committed to staying all night, and in the end we all agreed we didn’t have enough energy for that (although we ended up staying out all night anyway).

I felt somewhat guilty about going to “Thou Passion”. The costumes weren’t supposed to be obscene, just reminiscent of something a porn star might wear. But the religious side theme made me a bit uncomfortable. I thought maybe since I was only attending the party instead of organizing it, I would be morally okay. I also tried to convince myself that the party was only making fun of organized religion. And I thought maybe God understands these things are all in good fun. But I still felt a bit uncomfortable.

My costume, like everything I do in life, was half-assed. I didn’t really have anything that lent itself to this type of party, and I couldn’t be bothered to do any shopping for it. Greg and I stopped at a convenience store on the way into Oita city, and just by chance this store was selling chains and black wrist bands with crucifixes on them. I bought a few of these, but it turned out to be not enough to get the discounted entrance fee at the door. Which was fair enough I guess because most of the other costumes there were really elaborate.

There were a lot of people dressed up as priests, Angels, or devils. There was a DJ, music, and dancing. In the center of the room was a penis leaned up against a cross. I felt uncomfortable again and slipped off the wrist bands with the crosses on them. (Although I thought the chains looked pretty cool, and think from now on I’m going to incorporate them into my usual wardrobe.)

I spent most of my time outside the club instead of inside it (fortunately once we had paid the entrance fee, we could come and go as we pleased). This was partly because I was uncomfortable with this particularly party, but also really every time we go into Oita city, I hate getting stuck in a club.

Japanese cities are always set up with a separate district reserved for the night life. Oita isn’t a huge city by Japanese standards, but big enough to have a few blocks in the night life section. Walking through this part is always my favorite part of any night out in Oita. The area has a real vibrancy you can feel in the air, and everywhere you see other young people out and about, a lot of cute girls, interesting fashion, and of course people staggering around drunk. There is a park in the middle where a lot of people hang out. It’s just a fun place to be in. I always feel like when we end up stuck in a small club for the rest of the night, I’m missing the excitement of what is going on outside.

So I spent a good deal of the time either wandering the streets by myself, or hanging out with the smokers outside the club. At one point in the smoker's circle we were talking about something to do with Japan. I think it was the breast size of Japanese women. (I didn’t initiate this conversation, I just happened to be there at the time). An old drunk man was passing by, and over-heard us mentioning “Japanese” repeatedly. Clueing into what was probably the only English word he knew, he said, “Japanese? Japanese?” and then proceeded to open his case and show us his “Shamisen” (A Japanese traditional instrument, sort of like a banjo.) He then played a few notes on it and passed it around, before staggering off down the street again.

We had a lot of fun imagining this old man popping up at random and inappropriate times, chiming, “Did somebody say, Japanese?” before launching into a tune on the Shamisen. That joke kept us entertained for the rest of the night. (You know how these late night conversations go. Perhaps this is another case where you just had to be there).

We stayed out until morning, at which point I headed back to my town of Ajimu as the sun was coming up. And actually made it up for Church a few hours later. I’ve been doing a really good job of making it to Church recently despite the late nights. Unfortunately, I haven’t been doing a great job of staying awake inside the Church, which is a bit embarrassing since the congregation is only about 10 people.

When I got back from Church I slept the rest of Sunday afternoon. I woke up around 6, and started walking down to the store to buy something to eat. The neighbors saw me, and invited me over to their place for dinner, which was a nice gesture. I spent the rest of the evening there, but even after sleeping all afternoon, I was still tired enough to retire early Sunday night.

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