We traipsed around Osaka, trying to find a spot worthy to spend our last dinner in Japan. This was challenging because we wanted to stay within a reasonable distance from the station so we can catch the train back to Kobe. With no reliable food recommendation source and grumblings coming from our stomachs, we poised our noses and armed our instincts.
Turning a corner, we heard laughter and clanging plates coming from a packed izakaya and as soon as we questioned to ourselves if this place was the winner, a man (who we later learned was the owner) appeared out of no where and ushered us inside.
We sat next to a couple joyfully drinking and picking at their plates and within minutes they introduced themselves to us and ordered us a plate of sashimi as a wedding gift when we told them we were on our honeymoon.
We did our best to exchange jokes and stories with our new friends, but many attempts were met with blank stares and copious head nodding peppered with the same two questions, in very broken English:
- “Can we call you when we visit America?”
- “How long are you staying in Kobe?”
They couldn’t grasp the idea that we were just in Osaka for dinner and were going back to Kobe later that evening.
“You stay Osaka tonight?”“No. (points to plate) After food. Take train. (gesture in an arbitrary direction) Kobe”
We soon realized that their inebriation coupled with our lack of common lingo resulted in iteration after iteration of these questions. It was a funny dynamic, but our friends soon called it quits after their umpteenth beer. The owner apologetically came up to us afterwards and thanked us for our patience when dealing with his drunk customers.
No worries. Hardly a dull moment in Japan.