In my mind The Spinto Band combined songs on Nice and Nicely done to create “Oh Japandy”
The month of June was quite a busy one for me. There was not a weekend I was not up to something and out of town. In simple list format:
I’ve already written about the great scooter license debacle that took me to Akashi the second weekend in June.
The third weekend in June took me to Tokyo, which I will write about later.
And the second weekend in June saw me in Osaka.
The trip to Osaka was to see a friend of mine before she leaves the country for another two or three years. A Japanese native and recent graduate of UC Berkeley, whom I met in the town of the university’s namesake, will soon be leaving Japan to attend graduate school in Toronto. I’ve warned her to be prepared for much cooler whether than she is used to. It seems just as she’s returned to Japan she’s traveling off to another strange foreign land. Truly, for a Japanese gone Californian, there is no land stranger than Canada.
While an enjoyable day, it’s not a very entertaining one to report on. We were accompanied by two of her friends she’s known since junior high school. They were a bit quiet at first, since they don’t speak English and my Japanese is pretty terrible. We found a small yet amazing tempura place just outside of Namba. Afterward we sought out bowling, but passed on the idea when we were told the wait was two hours long. In a facility that has two floors of bowling and over fifty lanes. I guess bowling is popular in Osaka. Instead we did a little shopping, hit Loft, and shook hands with a visiting politician trolling for votes. Election seasons are the same everywhere.
The girls had never shopped at Thank You Mart before, so I made it a point we go there. An eclectic store, but eclectic is good. Everyone found something they liked. I even found a few pairs of shoes that I am now using at my school. When we left the store it had begun raining, so I picked up a blue umbrella with hearts on it. The girls did not find it as funny as I did when I started singing “Linda Linda” quietly after opening it. I still do that every time it rains. We finished the day with okonomiyaki at a local restaurant, and the three ladies headed home. I still had plans to meet up with a friend I made at training, so I remained.
I met up with Evan and some of his friends and headed to a pub to watch the World Cup game. Japan versus the Netherlands. Like most red blooded Americans, I couldn’t really give two hoots about soccer. But the atmosphere at the pub, packed to the brim, was electric. The game was intense, and I hadn’t felt such emotion watching a sports game since I watched the Red Sox in ’04. The Japanese like their soccer. No questioning that, and it made for good times.
To look at him you wouldn’t think it, but Evan is quite the geek. Possibly more so than. This may be why we get on fairly well. Both being New Englander’s can’t hurt either. So when he asked me “Hey, would you like to go to a Cosplay party after this?” My response was “…Yes. That is something that sounds uniquely Japanese, and I want to look back and be able to say ‘Hey, remember that time I went to that cosplay party in Osaka?'” Even if turned out not to be a good experience, it promised to be a memorable one. Although the thought did cross my mind “But I have nothing to wear…” though as a foreigner I think I could get away with it. People stop me far too often and say “Oh! Nicholas Cage!” as it is. May as well work it to my favor.
After the World Cup match was over, Japan sadly defeated, we met up with a few of Evan’s other friends. We debated what to do, bars or clubs. They were not as into the Cosplay idea as Evan and I were. The long line and three thousand yen cover were the final nails in the coffin. We opted out and hit a few bars instead. Not terrible by any means, but a missed experience. Still good times had in Osaka as always.
There should be another Cosplay Party coming up in August. I’m not sure the details yet, but I’m going to make an effort to go. I simply hope it doesn’t fall on one of my travel days. I’d like to be in town for this. Until I know, I will prepare my costume and ready my camera. I’ve already made a few promises for photos from the event. Oh Japan.