- 29 . 03 . 04
A leaving party for my roommate for the briefest of times, Clay.
Clay, Karaoke, Leaving
Clay’s about 6ft tall, is bald and wears glasses. He’s built like a brick shithouse and you wouldn’t want to mess with him. His favourite trick is to put his size 14 feet on the table, because big feet here means the same as big feet back home. Most Japanese men have size 6 or 7 feet… Before Nova, he was in the Canadian Army, served in Bosnia and worked in counter intelligence. I put the description in partly to remind myself for the future, (although it’s unlikely I’ll forget him), but also to illustrate the diverse kinds of people that come to work in Japan. There are many characters here, from one man called John who introduces himself as “Kenji Kato” to another who has assumed the name Jack Aranda, which apparently is a kind of Australian tree. I guess it takes a certain kind of person to leave their home country to work in such a different environment.
It was Clay’s last worknight tonight, so to celebrate we went out to a restaurant, bar and then karaoke till about 4:30am. The bars don’t close here, and don’t stop selling alcohol until all the customers leave. There’s none of the drunken muppetry you get back home, and people are respectful and peaceful even when totally plastered.
I was also pleased to learn that the rumours are true; everybody does karaoke here, and people who can’t sing are wildly clapped and cheered for murdering whatever song they choose. Consequently, I received rapturous applause for one of the worst renditions of “With or Without You” ever performed. My total lack of talent seemed to actually improve my ratings because “at least I was trying”. They don’t say “good luck” here; they say “Gambatte” – try your best. Anyway, I think Clay had a good time which is the most important thing as next week he’ll return to Canada, and if it’s anything like Britain he won’t be able to do karaoke again for fear of his life.