Friday, May 9, 2008

Domo Arigoto, Mr. Boston Pizza.

In February, Lucky and I spent a week in Tokyo. It was our overdue honeymoon, and it was perfect, from start to finish. Actually, it was perfect from before it even started.

When Lucky and I went to the UK in 2007, we planned that trip for 6 months. We're not big on setting itineraries, but if we had wanted to, we could have, and as it was, we had more than enough time work up manic levels of excitement about seeing my best buddy and her lovely man in England. Ok, so I had the lion's share of the mania, but Lucky might have had some mini-mania. Minia?

Anyhow, what I'm saying is that even if we're not big planners, Lucky and I tend to schedule a vacation to the other side of the world with more than two weeks notice. Not so, this time! The crazy chain of events that led up to our taxi and takeoff from YVR, and our landing in Narita Airport didn't even start until January 15th. That was a Wednesday, and Lucky and I were celebrating a win with the rest of his hockey team at a Boston Pizza in Richmond. As the night wound down, and we started to head for home, I made my requisite dash to the washroom that has to happen before I get into a car for anything more than a 5 minute drive. In the washroom, I found a one hundred dollar bill on the floor of my stall. I remember thinking "Huh." It seems that I am not particularly eloquent when I am shocked by lucky finds in restaurant washrooms. I brought my fresh new wealth back to show my friends, and they were appropriately tickled. Lucky, being an action-oriented kind of guy, was more than tickled. He was inspired. In three days, on Saturday night, we were headed out for a once-in-a-blue-moon casino night with our buddies, for his birthday. To him it was obvious: I had to put the whole hundred dollars down on one number on roulette, for his birthday. Specifically, I had to put it on 16, for January 16th, which is, of course, his real birthday. I scoffed at his plan. "There are many things we could do with one hundred dollars." I reminded him, emphasizing just the syllables necessary to illustrate that I, Kat, was the mature one, despite his greater years, focused on practical things and savings and such, and blah blah blah boringness.

Nevertheless, he won. Three days later, we were at the casino, at the end of a great birthday party, and I found myself surrounded by our friends, all supporting Lucky in his pressure campaign to get that hundred dollars down on red 16. I finally relented, and suggested that we watch a few spins before we put it down. It was his turn to scoff, and the money went down right away, which is fortuitous, because I would have had to throw myself off the fake grape trellis on the balcony overlooking the casino floor, had we been standing there to see red 16 hit, with the money still in my bra. Instead, we stood in shock, staring at each other, while our friends started the celebration, and Lucky pointed out that the chips being pushed towards me didn't look like much, but were worth $3500.

Our friends immediately started to ask us what we would do with the money, and the first thing that came to my mind was that we would use it for a trip to Tokyo, which was our planned honeymoon destination (I say 'planned' in the loosest sense of the word, as in, we had talked about how cool it would be to go). Lucky picked that up immediately (remember the action-orientation), and asked "Why not?" He told me that his work schedule was fairly clear in the next few weeks, and that the $3500 would likely cover hotel and flight.

Cashing out and heading home were a bit of a blur, but I do remember our friends giggling, as they surrounded us like body guards as we waited for our cab. When we got home, we couldn't sleep, and I was grateful for the monster time change to England, since it meant that I could call aforementioned best friend over there, and tell this story for the first of many, many times. Somehow, I'm still not sick of it.

Two days later, we made our reservations. I had just enough time to tie a few things up at work, download a few Japanese podcasts from iTunes, and think to myself "I'm going to Japan. I'm going to Japan. I'm going to Japan." while I rode the bus, brushed my teeth, tried to sleep, and generally operated at a constant level of "squeeee!"

The actual trip? It was awesome. We spent a week in Tokyo, loving the food, bowing back at the people, and wandering the alleys that are busier than our busiest streets. We found a whole neighbourhood, the size of some northern towns, full of artists who render the silicon models of food for every restaurant window. We made friends with two business men at a yakitori bar in our hotel, one of whom serenaded Lucky with some heartfelt, Japanese music-love. I found kitchen goodies to satisfy my lunch-making obsessions, and Lucky reveled in the culture of robots, video games, and robot video games. The people were all so lovely that they were thrilled to help get by the whole week with nothing but the two phrases I had gleaned from the podcasts: Oeeshee (delicious!) and Sumi Masan (excuse me!). Of course, we also had Domo Arigoto, but that credit is due to Styx.

All in all, it was the honeymoon we would have wished for, had we taken the time to wish. Even thought we're young, and our marriage is still new, I have a hard time believing that we'll ever top it. The thing that made it that much more wonderful, that just tipped it over the point of unrealness what the way we kept stopping, a few times a day, to remind each other that we were there due to a stroke of pure luck. Well, multiple strokes, really. You could also credit Lucky's action-orientation, but if you go there, you also have to thank my puny little bladder. The trip is over, but that glow of 'omg, how did that happen to us' lives on. That must be why it feels like we're still on our honeymoon.

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