Sunday, December 11, 2005

Yamanote for idiots

"What's a Yamanote?" you may be asking yourself? It's a light green train that runs in a circle around the main stops in Tokyo. There is a Japanese drinking game where you have to name all the stations on the Yamanote line in order. If you mess up you have to drink. That's no easy feat and I wouldn't want to compete against a Japanese businessman for sure. The Yamanote is a blessing for us gaijin who need train info in English and it's especially a blessing for us night owls who drink too much, stay out too late, and have to wait for the trains to start up in the early a.m. (kinda reminds me of the "drunk bus" in college except this ride is smooth and sleep inducing) The seats are heated...what a novel idea! Japanese people are really concerned about keeping their bums warm apparently. Not only are the train seats heated but many of the toilet seats are heated as well. Now if only they could work out some better heating for our apartment! (PS. Mom, please send my sleeping bag!)

A few weeks ago my friend David and I were heading to Tokyo station from Shibuya after a night of drinking and dancing at the Ruby Room. We fell asleep and must have gone around in circles for atleast an hour. Luckily we woke up just in time to get off at Tokyo. Last night we weren't so lucky. We fell asleep immediately after sitting down. The ride to Tokyo usually takes 30 minutes from Shibuya. We missed Tokyo the first time and had to reverse. Then we missed it again and went back the other day. Then, you guessed it, we slept through our stop again and ended up in Ueno (another 20mins from Tokyo). Finally we decided to stand up so we wouldn't miss our stop for a 4th time...sheesh!

Once on the Keiyo line (red line that takes me back to Kahimmakuhari), I fell asleep again. David woke me up in Soga which is about 4 stops past where I needed to be. He got off there and I headed back home in the other direction. I can't pull these allnighters. I don't know how people do it all the time. I think this is a sign that I'm getting old.