Tuesday, September 11, 2007

I'm sorry I said 'vagina' just now. I didn't know you were here.

Six years ago today I was sitting with Drew at Cozy Corner in Ginza (the most expensive "old money" neighborhood in Tokyo) eating decadent desserts when we got word via our cell phones about what was going on in NYC. It was 10pm our time, and we dismissed the first message. It was very abstract and bizarre. A plane had hit one of the towers? We both assumed it was probably something minor and continued paying the tab, finishing up, discussing the day's earlier events. (After all, I had, just that day, weathered out a typhoon at Tokyo Disney Sea--I hadn't even wanted to go!!--with mutual friends of ours who kept pressuring me that I was ignoring them. We had been locked down in the restaurant for hours and the staff kept shoving towels under and around the doors to keep the water out).

So it had already been an eventful day. And I mean, really, what were the odds?

Just before we left we got another message that the second tower had been hit. Still not comprehending the full impact of what was unfolding (but it slowly beginning to dawn on each of us) we left for the night. Drew's trip home was about fifteen minutes (we were in his part of town that night) and mine closer to an hour (I lived in the suburban West Tokyo, and on his night off we would have been boozing it up at my local cheap BLDY joint). But it was Tuesday, and my days off were Monday and Tuesday.

And STILL, I was thinking about something completely different for the majority of the train ride home. I was thinking about After Hours, if you want to know, and what a great story it was. Just some poor bastard trying to get home all night long...can't imagine why it popped into my head on my long-ass train ride home. And as I got closer to Musashi-Koganei, the phone messages we'd gotten played a little more prominently in my head and really started to bother me.

Needless to say, by the time I got home I was thoroughly confused and when my American roommate (whom I had previously planned to pay far less attention to than my--gasp!--Australian roommate) said, "They struck the Pentagon," I actually said, after a pause, "It has to be terrorists!" There was a pause on her part. "Well, yeah."

I had just gotten home. She understood.

And we actually became quite good friends after that (honestly, I'd already started to appreciate her). But it taught me worlds about the differences between Western cultures that I really don't think I would have appreciated otherwise. And that was also the night I learned that Japanese wine is quite possibly the only wine on earth that is not acceptable to drink. (We stayed up quite late after that, buying "wine" from the Family Mart down the road.) Drew can force himself, I cannot. It really is grape juice and piss. I could drink rose Sutter Home shit before I could ever sip a drop of Japanese wine ever again. In any case, I ingested that while we tried to pick out the English under the Japanese dubbing on the news. It may be the only time I've actually tried to hear Bush speak.

And I think it was also the night I learned how to make international calls from the grey, not the green, phone booths. A night to stand out in my mind, for sure. I still have both major English Japanese papers from the next day. And as I got on the train with those papers, the older Japanese woman by whom I sat got up and moved. It was enlightening, to say the least.

But fear not, I have little else of weight to report. Infact, I'm happy to report we watched the first part of the MTV Video Music Awards just now to see the train wreck of a performance we've all been hearing about. They mutilated it, in a way only MTV could, by running commentary around it.

And then we disintegrated into watching videos on youtube of Christina Aguilera (of whom I know nothing) and then Nine Inch Nails' The Perfect Drug, which D recalled fondly. While discussing banned videos, I showed him Depeche Mode's In Your Room (male bondage! we shall never show such a thing!) and now I utterly cannot recall the one with the giant roulette table that landed on 69...I thought it was Strangelove but apparently not. I mean, this was the video that taught me! Or rather...Alex, when I asked her why that shot was given so much attention...

I belive her exact words may have been, "Well, think about the position of the numbers."

Very diplomatic for an older sister.


Veloute said...

:( and

LOL...that was indeed a very diplomatic answer! Nicely done.

MacGuffin said...

Great post!

Ellen Aim said...

Vel: It just seemed odd at the time. Like, who comes up with this stuff?

MacG: Danke! It was a full day.

alex said...

LOL. Oi--"very diplomatic for an older sister"--I take exception to that. Like my childhood was nothing but me ferreting out knowledge to shock you with. Oh wait.

Heh, I have fond memories of that Perfect Drug video as well. So awesome.

Nice post. ;)

Ellen Aim said...

lol! I just meant most older siblings would have milked it or refused or been waaaaaay too blunt.

I thought it was quite a polite way to explain oral sex, really.

And thank you!

Veloute said...

"I just meant most older siblings would have milked it or refused or been waaaaaay too blunt"

LOL! Like me, see? Mwahahah.

Ellen Aim said...

I'm never getting out of this one am I...

And yeah, you would have TOTALLY never gone there. You would have said something like, "You'll find out."

Though to your credit, you did, years later tell me that it was really something to look forward to. (Oral sex, not 69...though we didn't really discuss it in depth, I was too shocked).

Veloute said...

And I was right as usual, of course.