Ishihara AKA Mr. Sake
My time in Japan is quickly winding down so tonight I decided to get a good meal and then some clubbing.
First spot was a small “local style” Japanese BBQ house where they grill your food in front of you. I ordered a few beers and plate after plate of fresh grilled chicken and vegetables. As I was getting ready to leave, an older gentleman sat down next to me at the counter. He ordered some Japanese sake and started talking to me. He has very polite and introduced himself as Isihara. I asked him what he was drinking and then he extended an offer to buy me a glass of the same, Japanese sake. I politely declined but he insisted.
Real Japanese sake is so smooth it’s hard to describe. The closest alcohol I could compare it to is a sweet Riesling white wine, but with a much lighter sweet taste. I ordered two more rounds of freshly grilled chicken and gave him one of my orders. From there we continued drinking and the sake started to really flow. Sake is so smooth that you can easily down a small glass in one gulp. As much as I tried to not do so, both of us seemed to be doing just that. The chefs at the grill told me that Isihara is a very famous man in Osaka and he, himself, later told me that he is an executive for an oil company.
He said he had a train to catch and asked me if I wanted to acompany him. I agreed and off we went. Up until the moment when we stood up I hadn’t realized just how drunk Isihara really was. He was on a bender that seemed like his world was going to melt around him. Luckily for me, I was still in full control of my senses and was able to guide him to the ground floor.
From there I walked, and he stumbled, to the main Osaka train station. He decided it was a good idea to buy some more sake and we both enjoyed one more small glass of the holy water. As his train departed for Kyoto I wasn’t sure if I was sad or relieved to see him go.
So one hour later I’m still feeling good and I decide to order one vodka-Redbull to reinvigorate me. Bad mistake. Within 25 minutes I was beyond drunk. Even though I had been dancing like a madman on the floor and thinking I was quite far from buzzed, all at once it hit me. If you’ve ever watched an Animal Planet TV show where they shoot a tiger with a tranquilizer gun and there is that moment just before the animal falls over where the eyes glaze over… Ya, that’s how I felt in that nightclub. In the heat of the moment I thought someone had spiked my drink with some roofies!
I left in a flash and plopped my butt down in the first cab I saw. I’ll never forget hunching down in the cab seat and then falling over onto the seat next to me. I wasn’t hammered, I was destroyed. When we arrived at the hotel I handed the guy some money and he said it was more, I believe he wanted the equivalent of two more dollars US. I kept digging in my pocket to find some change but it never materialized. The driver seeing my obviously wrecked state said to nevermind and I hurried upstairs where I plopped onto my bed face down.
Nine hours later I woke up to a strangely wet bed and no need for a morning pee… When I realized what had happened I was more than embarrassed but still had to photograph the situation. This photo really shouldn’t be shared but I’ll do it anyways as a reminder to all of you that one should never underestimate the power of sake or any foreign alcohol for that matter! The placard was removed before housekeeping arrived (where I profusely apologized) and amazingly, they cleaned up my mess with no disgust or additional charges. Only in Japan.