Happy 4th of July America!
Independence Day is very special holiday to me. It’s a pool holiday (I was a lifeguard for years). It’s a BBQ holiday (I love hotdogs and beer!). But best of all it’s a birthday holiday! When I was too little to understand the deep and sincere sense of patriotism that goes with the 4th of July, my parents used to tell me they shot off the fireworks because it was finally going to be my birthday. Needless to say, it went to my head. I love the flags, the Sousa, the sparklers, and everything else America does in anticipation of my birth.
Yesterday I found myself in Japan on this most American of holidays, and was homesick. No hotdogs, no drinking beer in a stars and stripes tank top. No fireworks. Nothing. So I did what any homesick American would do. I set out for the bars in hopes of finding fellow patriots.
I didn’t find any. Not one. There’s always Americans about in Takayama, but not last night. Instead I found the absolute worst thing an American can possibly find on the 4th of July, a bar full of Brits. Well, not the entire bar, just a table really, but the bartender sat us down with them (At Red Hill she always sits you down with someone), not wanting to mix us with her dwindling group of regulars being deafened by drunken Englishmen.
My wife actually asked where they were from and they became quite indignant.
“We’re city boys aren’t we? Me an’ this (dis) here bloke’s from London, this (dis) bloke’s from Northern (Nor-vern) London, and these (dese) two’s from-“ blah blah bother.
They were complaining about the beer not being warm and were surprised when I told them I didn’t give a rat’s ass about the royal Family (OK maybe I didn’t used those exact words but I implied them). My forefathers fought a war so I wouldn’t have to hear about the Royal Family on the 4th of July, and these blokes wouldn’t give it a rest! They had already cornered a poor Australian couple and a Brazilian, and were forcing us all to play a drinking game.
OK, the game was was actually the Australians’ idea, but dammit those Brits loved it.
I call it Sex Down Under. To play, you slap your knees while chanting “whee-a-whee-a-whee-a-whoop! Whee-a-whee-a-whee-a-WHOOP!” as a group. On the whoop, whoever started the round demonstrates their favorite sexual eccentricity (these are predetermined. My favorite of the evening was the fart in the eye, though the nipple twister was also quite popular), then on the WHOOP, you do someone else’s, then that person leads the next “whee-a-whee-a-whee-a-whoop!” This repeats, faster and faster, until everybody’s demonstrated their particular perversion. If you mess up, you drink, and if the round actually lasts through everyone’s eccentricities, everybody drinks.
It was a smashing good time and we were all quite stricken with it. So stricken in fact the owner of the bar had to keep asking us to keep it down and repeatedly tried to cut the Brits off.
“I’m sorry, I don’t have any more clean glasses.”
“Well just fill this one up then!”
She’d smile and nod as her bar emptied out of everyone by the table of mad Englishmen (plus the two Australians, a Brazilian, and us).Finally we left to, careful to slip out so the Brits wouldn’t follow us to the next bar. We had a great time with them, no doubt about it, but I’ll be damned if I talk about the Royal Family on the 4th of July.
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Joe Darris currently lives in Takayama Japan with darling wife. He misses his parents, peanut butter, a good cup of coffee, and his cat.
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