Saturday, October 13, 2018

More Vignettes from Osaka

When I thought of these, a bunch came to my head quite readily. Now that I'm trying to type them, I'm having no luck. Since I have a couple, I think I'm just going to post this and come back should inspiration strike in the future.


Big square glasses and a cigarette permanently affixed between purple lips, the square-faced man watched the hairy foreigner struggle to make himself clear through pointing, gesturing, and typing things into his phone. It was a show for the night, he supposed, occasionally displacing his cigarette to allow a bite of dinner or a swig of beer to enter his mouth. The foreigner seemed to making a reasonable go of it though, interspercing "arigato"s between every word and gesture - he did end up getting food and drink, so his efforts weren't in vain. Finished with his own meal and out of cigarettes, it was time to move along and head home - maybe hitting a bar on the way.

When morning rolled around, he discovered that maybe he'd hit the bar a little too hard. Pushing himself into acceptable clothes, he decided to get the good coffee around the corner instead of the instant he kept at home. He got his wish soon enough and his coffee was set in front of him just as his current cigarette had run its course. Taking his first sip, he looked up only to find around the bend of the bar sat the hairy foreigner - the remnants of toast and an egg on a plate in front of him. The show was starting again, but this time with an accomplice - a second foreigner lacking the first's beard, but making up for it with hair up top. Both had notebooks with drawings and handwriting in front of them that they kept passing back and forth chittering in their shared tongue. What were the chances of meeting twice in less than twelve hours? Probably low, but what did it matter?

The coffee man boiled up a second cup in his glassware for the hairy foreigner and the square-faced man took stock of his situation. Feeling a bit better, he decided to call it a morning and get to his next destination. Perhaps he'd see the foreigner there too?


Whatever vignette inspired me earlier here has gone. I went to a temple, watched turtles lazily swim, and imagined myself as the reincarnation of some ancient monk visiting his favorite turtles.


Again, lost the thread. I went to two different malls - one inside, and one outside - just to explore the city. At the indoor one there was a huge line of schoolchildren waiting for autographs from some celebrity.


In Osaka, a fine NPC*
His head was all I could see
Through a hole in the wall
He often would call
"I'll hang on to your bag for a fee!"

*Non-Player Character

In Shin-Imamiya a world to explore
Though typhoon soon closed that door
As I tried to pay
The Bag Man did say
The airport bridge is no more!


Point at a picture, get what you pointed to. Seems pretty easy, right? Everything started out well enough - I squeezed into a coffee shop where I could touch both walls if I laid down and was handed a menu with three pictures. Coffee, coffee with egg, coffee with egg and toast. I pointed at the bottom and a bunson burner was lit. A flask of water was brought to a boil and, through a steam pressure mechanism, the water mixed with the coffee grounds located in a chamber on top of the flask. When the wrinkled old man behind the bar felt the coffee was sufficiently brewed, he turned off the bunson burner and focused his attention to buttering a huge piece of toast while the steam cooled and pulled the coffee back into its original container. The coffee was poured into a cup, the toast was cut into three pieces and placed on a plate, a hardboiled egg was drawn from a cooler and put on its own miniature middle-school lunch tray, and the set was placed in front of me, a wet-nap and tiny glass of ice water completing the picture. All was well in the world.

In due course, the comestibles were consumed. I wasn't quite sated though, so I reacquired the picture card and pointed slightly higher - the coffee and egg. It was only ten yen cheaper, but it was the difference between getting more coins in change or getting rid of the coins I had in my pocket. The old man magicked up some more coffee, the hostess brought forth a second egg on a second tray, and a fresh wet-nap sprang forth from the aether. I was happy.

A few minutes and certainly a few tiny glasses of water later, I squeezed my way out f the establishment. Five ten-yen coins disappeared from my pocket, as did two one hundreds and a five hundred. Now much less jingley, I went out wandering the neighborhood.

Pounding pavement for a couple hours, it came time to sit and digest what I'd seen (and maybe get a bit of writing done). I found a new cafe with a lot more space and two women running it - the hostess and the bartender. A familiar picture menu appeared as I sat down at the bar, though it was a bit pricier - four hundred yen whether you got food or not. I pointed at the top picture - coffee - and used my best friend of a word "oni-guy-shimas" (no idea on spelling - it's "please"). This was met with a smile and a few words I didn't know. Then there was a gesture at the menu - I sat there as Homer Simpson, Smiling Politely. A nod did the trick though and a bunson burner was lit. Then the bread was placed in the toaster oven. A minute or so later there was a familiar set in front of me, complete with wet-nap.

It wasn't a big deal - everything was the same price, after all. That's probably what the hostess was trying to tell me. I wasn't really hungry, but everything went down well enough. While I took my time eating, I wasn't quite ready to start walking again, so I caught the eye of the bartender (maybe better luck with her?). I held up my empty coffee cup and employed my magic word. Point at the cup, thumbs up. Point at the plate, crossed fingers. The lady smiled brightly and nodded.

The bunson burner was lit. The bread went into the toaster oven...


Killing some time before the typhoon hit and found the strangest mashup of a bar.


Who needs an evacuation plan when you have a six pack and a sleeping pod?


I don't know if I'm jet-lagged or lucky. In any case, I caught the first train to the airport and arrived an hour before my international flight.

TV AND 333

The company I was flying with scheduled a departure time of 7:20am. The bridge to the airport reopened at 6am. The massive lines and confusion meant TV cameras everywhere and I got interviewed. Told at check-in that I needed to be at the gate twenty minutes prior, we finally got off the ground. I paid for a cup of coffee in-flight. I had 373 yen in coins I didn't want to carry. The coffee cost 333, leaving me with four, ten-yen coins.

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