Osaka at Midnight

December 7, 2010 § Leave a comment

A couple of nights ago we found ourselves shifty and evasive of bed so we headed out to the streets of Osaka. The autumnal chill made us skittish and excited as we skipped down the roads and window-shopped through the empty arcades. The displays were spilling over with riches and I initiated a classic game with a hilarious twist.
“Hey, La Grange”, I started with a wicked smile. “When I win a billion dollars I’m going to buy those shoes and that watch and I’ll even buy those boots and wear them on my hands because I’m so rich.”
“Yay!” My gentlemanly companion celebrated on my behalf. “What will you buy for me?”
“I was thinking about that watch you said you wanted…”
“Yeah!”
“…But then I saw…”
“What! What!”
“A stick!”
“Um…”
“Yay! Just what you always wanted, a stick!”
“Oh, thank you…”

While we  dithered around, crushing each other’s hope and dreams, I vaguely registered a Japanese man also doing some late-night meandering. He was tall, in his mid to late forties and had a broad, resolute posture. He wore clipped bristles of silvery dark hair and gold aviator spectacles.
He approached us, asking for our help with the pronunciation of some English words. He explained in fluent English how his car had broken down and he had to be in Kyoto for work by ten o’clock the next morning. He asked us about ourselves, what brought us to Japan and of our impressions as guests.  It was approaching 1am but he was courteous and conversational and he offered to show us to a nightlife area we had in mind.

So we walked. The three of us wandered through the city streets as he told us about how proud he was of his daughter, how well she does in school and how she may potentially be in the next Olympic Games. He spoke to us about the work he has done in the Navy as an electrical technician. When he was in his early twenties he lived in Pomona, California, and worked on the USS George Washington that is now stationed near North Korea. After about an hour we parted ways and he wished us well on our travels, completely void of any ulterior motive.

Would this happen anywhere else in the world?

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