Last spring Sonar of GAF fame and my good friend ASM met up for the first time in Osaka in what turned out to be quite the event. You can read about it here. Unfortunately for myself (but fortunately for Osaka) I was unable to attend, but shortly after I received notice from ASM that this would happen again and I would have to be there. So I started saving my pennies. Well, this past weekend said event took place and I almost missed it again!
Saturday, six days prior to our scheduled meeting, I started experiencing pain in my lower left abdomen and when it lasted for more than 24 hours I went to a clinic that specializes in this sort of thing and after being poked and prodded by the doctor and his needles he determined that I had an infection in my large intestine.
(picture because this is a visual blog)
His advice: Take a whole bunch of this medicine (how very Japanese) and don’t eat for 4 days.
My diet for the next 4 days consisted of drugs (not the good kind), water, and Pocari Sweat, a Japanese sports drink which I consumed to intake the proper amount of calories daily.
The doctor warned that if the pain increased I was to go to a very specific hospital immediately. “Here’s a map. Here’s a letter of referral. If it gets worse call an ambulance right away.”
Needless to say the meeting in Osaka was a bit up in the air. Would I be able to join the other two in wining and dining with my insides in a state of disrepair? What would I do if I was in Osaka and something went horribly wrong?
In the end I decided to take it a day at a time with the idea of going to Osaka. I went without food for the four days and then, the day before I was to be in Osaka, I ate a small meal to gauge my stomach’s reaction and when my guts didn’t explode on the spot I figured I would be all right to travel.
The next morning I got an email which read,
“DOOMSDAY dawns as the people of Osaka awake to the roar of the titans. Gaiking skydragon approaches from the east, Great Mazinger from the north, as Mecha Godzilla lies in wait… ”
(I’m not sure what this meant but I took it as a good sign.)
Around 10 am I hopped on the shinkansen and a few hours later arrived at Osaka station where I was supposed to meet Sonar for the first time ever. I was able to find him easily. A lone foreigner standing next to a giant snowman is hard to miss. Like Sonar, I had only been to Osaka once and at that time had an experienced guide but this time around ASM wasn’t able to meet us until he was off work so we set out to try and find the Gunpla stores in Osaka that we remembered.
We walked around the Den Den Town area and didn’t have much luck finding the good Gundam stores from memory so a quick text to ASM and he replied back with some maps and we were good to go. It turns out Sonar and I were just one block away from the stores we were trying to find. Not bad if I do say so myself. While walking the streets of Osaka in search of Gunpla, Sonar and I talked about Gunpla, work, life, and anything else and got to know each other outside of the internet. It was good to see that he is as nice a guy offline as he is online.
Around 5pm we hit the Hub (the one place we both remembered the location of) and ordered some drinks and some food. I was really looking forward to this part of the day having fasted for 4 days. Shortly afterwards ASM arrived and it was then we exchanged gifts while Sonar busted out the various kits he had been building while on vacation. Yes, Sonar carries snapped Gunpla around in his bag. There were several cute ladies enjoying a drink at the Hub and I’m sure when the giant plastic kits came out the sex appeal of the three guys at the table fell below a level not even our foreignness could overcome.
From Sonar I received my engraved plate honoring my contribution to the Gauntlet of the Apocalypse.
I also was given this great T-shirt.
GAF for the win!
Our table at one point looked like this.
And very shortly after looked like this.
And then got worse.
After consuming a large amount of food and an even larger amount of alcohol, with surprisingly little effect on my food-starved body, we abandoned The Hub when Happy Hour ended and then went to the Gundam Bar which people might be familiar with after reading Sonar’s thread on GAF which I previously linked to. The bar was small enough to begin with, seating about 8 people, but looked even more cramped with all that Gunpla and other kits stationed all over the establishment. It was quite the cozy atmosphere and the guy in charge, who Sonar called ‘Master’, recognized Sonar and warmly welcomed us inside. He then poured me a special Rum and Coke using his Captain Morgan’s Special Stock. It smelled like Vanilla and I spent several minutes just savoring the aroma of the beverage. But who am I kidding, I was there for a reason and soon that beverage was gone and I needed another.
A couple of people at the bar were checking out a recent purchase of theirs. Not a gundam, but a gun. A submachine gun to be more specific. Replica guns are hugely popular in Japan and that area of Osaka had several shops which specialized in them. The two fellows at the table had an MP5-J that they allowed us to handle and then Master disappeared in a back room of the bar which I didn’t even know existed and, much to my delight, returned carrying an assault rifle.
I immediately recognized it as the G36C, a rifle I recently became familiar with thanks to MW3 and the instrument of death with which I do my best work.
We passed it around and took some photos and then it came time for us to head off to the next drinking establishment where we spent a couple more hours consuming alcoholic beverages and discussing anything that came to mind. After that we were just intoxicated enough to try our hand (or voice rather) at karaoke. I’ll leave those embarrassing tales for another day.
Despite getting only 2 hours of sleep that morning ASM and I got up early and headed to the station where we hopped on a shinkansen back to Tokyo. We were able to get some lunch into us before ASM had to go off to handle something related to work but I had nothing to do that day so I hit the UDX in Akihabara, the same place which held the Gunpla Expo only a couple of weeks previous, this time for the Tamashii Nation event. My plan was to get in line and try to make off with some of the gentei items they had but upon arriving at the UDX I saw that most of the good stuff was already gone and the enormous line of people still waiting quashed any desire I had to even try.
Instead I went to the Tower Records and found what I had been looking for.
The latest CD from Girls’ Generation. Sure this one is all Korean but, really, who buys this for the music. At 1500 yen it was a steal.
It comes in a hard tin case and inside is packed with goodies.
Along with the CD and liner notes you get…
A signed card featuring one of the members. Everyone I’d like you to meet my good friend Yoona.
There is also a little flyer advertising the Girls’ Generation smart phone app.
And you also get these fantastic picture cards, one for each member.
(Dear Girls’ Generation. Please don’t stop doing what it is you are doing.)
Now that… was a weekend.