Thursday, December 3, 2009

Japan! Tokyo: Roppongi District

       Karaoke is like Sunday Night football to the Japanese- the best way to spend free time and let it all go. While American businessmen relieve stress by drinking brews and yelling at the television, the Japanese businessmen unwind by drinking sake and singing their hearts out. Thirty-five of us packed into a small room that reminded me of the back of a limo. Mirrors on every wall, sparkly vinyl booths, and an intercom used to request a new song. Someone would go to the front to sing, but their voice was drowned out by the booming chorus of the rest of us singing the best of the 90s.

      As the night progressed we became slightly worried about our situation. We polled the different locals we met. At the Tokyo Ice Bar (overrated) we met two couples that were stationed on the US Navy base. On the street we met four women who had moved to Japan just because, they approved of all options but told us to stay away from the Roppongi district because it was dangerous for travelers. Guess where we ended up? Roppongi.
       You know those movies where they speed up the film and show a bunch of people running back and forth, running into each other, going up an escalator then back down, then remembering someone they left behind, etc? That is what we looked like as our large party navigated the metro to get to Roppongi.
       A group of SAS students had rented apartments. The five of us were relieved to have found a place to stay. Stephen and I went out to explore the district life. It was explosive with the energy of people celebrating life in the crisp open air. My night ended on the apartment balcony, smoking a cigar with Nick looking at the city lights in the distance, the busy street below us, and the still metro bridge in front of us. I closed my eyes tight trying to save the image and memory.

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