Memoirs of a Geisha Boy

Posted by fudge on December 23, 2005, 10:33:11 AM

Memoirs of a geisha boy. Part 1. Tuesday - Thursday

Konichiwa from Tokyo, just got back and after going away with Tony PP and HedleyLamarr for a week. Had an amazing eye opening time despite the Mexican connection ruling out the main prize.

Left on Tuesday with KLM with the intention of getting a connecting flight from Amsterdam. With all the planning skills of the makers of the Ataturk Stadium KLM decided to shaft us and send us via Helsinki with Finn Air because of fog. Well what can you expect from going from Manchester , the place was still stewing from their sad cup exit. On assuming Andy’s persona from Little Britain ( I want to go to Helsinki ) we were made to walk half an hour across the various terminals only for Finn Air to decide that they didn’t want to be responsible for putting up 20 scousers in Helsinki so they bumped us all back to KLM. After hearing of horror stories of 48 hrs delay we finally all got back on the original plane only to miss the connection and believe it or not spend 8 hellish hours in Amsterdam for the flight before getting off. As you can imagine we weren’t feeling like potential world champions at that time.

Hey ho we were then now and after doing the guide books to death we were all worried about offending our Japanese hosts , it seems to be we couldn’t do anything without potentially causing someone to think we were barbarians. Showing the soles of your feet, leaving your chopsticks upright in your food, not going bollock naked in the baths and most bizarrely blowing your nose in public we’d heard were all likely to get us the sort of look reserved for Gary Neville at The Sandon on matchday, with his half breed brother, in their club kits. Well no sooner had we left our hotel front door into an a high class area of town were we beset by thousands of Japanese businessmen on the way home from bars and restaurants, cue scenes more reminiscent of the Mos Aisley Cantina or even worse the Bigg Market. The first group of respectable chappies we met was doing a passable impression of Cardinal Chunder, this put us at ease immediately , when in Rome and all that (when not winning European cups).

As it was getting a bit late we popped into a Korean restaurant which had a hot stove in the middle of table, they then started dropping off all manner of meat which was duly polished off all except for the tripe which I can still feel wallowing around undigested inside me. Few more drinks and it was time to go to

It is impossible to go on the tube without bollixing it up and having to pay extra at the other end, This is accepted in Tokyo and they have special fare adjustment stations at each station. By day three this had led to us giving up the hope of getting through and heading straight to the guard with our familiar “More, More, More fare adjustment, fare adjustment”

For those Partridge fans out there, I found out what happened to the wife swapping Kitchens salesmen.


As for the game against Saprissa we got to the ground three hours early and losing a gonad due to the cold decided to head into the ground praying that there would be ale inside. Oh and how !!! Beer Monkeys were to bring us booze throughout the game to our seats. Heaven, but it did lead to getting monumentally slaughtered.

The locals were as ever looking at us as if we were dogs doing a card trick. Open amusement at the 300 or so Reds that were there and their bizarre singing. They kept running up to everyone that was there and wanting to get their photo’s taken with the 5 times European Champions.

This guy was hilarious, in between bouncing around cheering for us he spend half the time trying to persuade every scouser that was there that the words were in fact “All you need is Love” rather than “ All you need is Rush”



We’d seen Saprissa on tv and to be fair they weren’t at the races and once Crouch had scored there was never any doubt. Great finish and by the time Gerrard got the second we could get back to getting Ollie Reed drunk. There was about 40,000 there and there was an overwhelming support for us on what was a freezing midweek night.

On the subject of Crouch , if you think that he gets attention over here for his height , you should see what its like in Japan, Apparently the press conference after the game was like a scene from King Kong with all the local reporters pointing and looking in awe at this jolly goalscoring  Jolly Red Giant.

Some of the low points, seeing a family straight out of Shameless that had nicked 100’s of the programmes, now I’ve got nothing but contempt for Blatter and his FiFa bell ends but the locals who were selling them were fucking grade A and didn’t deserve that shit. I know they were £10 a pop but just don’t buy the wank mags if that’s the case.
Then there was the numptie who for some reason felt obliged to shout “Our granddads fucked yours over” . Quite whether he was referring to some early family disgrace about ladyboys we never found out but wasn’t needed.
Then there came the bizarre, hushed tones were heard discussing what the correct term for a Japs eye was now we were in Japan. Did it change or was it called something else. Answers on a postcard wins a heated toilet seat.

One of the battles that was lost after the game was with Tony PP and his pants. With the bladder of an incontinent Cilla he proceeded to wet himself on the subway , now I’m not sure where this rates in terms of local customs but I’m pretty sure it was on the No No list. Personally I think he did it to try and get some warmth back into his legs but whatever it was day 2 and we’d already landed our first drycleaning bill, despite Tony’s protestations that he could carry on wearing them as they didn’t smell. Hedley was distinctly unamused at having to loan him a pair of trousers this early in the week , he was proved to be right, little could we have imagined what Saturday was to bring.


Check List
•   Have we murdered Johnny Cash on the Karaoke and lost a drinking competition with a professional Kiwi Rugby player after getting caught trying to blag our way in to their room under their names.. Check
•   Did our hotel have a heated toilet seat that sprayed water right into the danger area. Check.( Later blamed by Tony PP to be the cause of following through, due to excess water retention)
•   Have we managed to find the only kebab van in Tokyo and burst into tears with joy. Check
•   Did we save the world from the threat of the local monster . Check ( although we did give Godzilla the co-ordinates of Goodison , should have no problems trashing that place but then who’d know ?)

•   Have we been to a restaurant called the Lock up where on entry we were scared shitless by flashing lights and other ghost train favourites, before being handcuffed and led to our prison cell by a schoolgirl in a PVC santa outfit. Check

Oh and by the by if there is anyone still here or indeed for anyone who wants to visit , obviously the obligatory trip to the Park Hyatt where Lost in Translation was filmed has a reputation for being disgustingly expensive but one little scam that can be pulled is their 2 hour all you can eat and drink deal in the bar. Now for professional businessmen this might work for the hotel but all I can say is that for three footy fuckwitts on a mission they would have bankrupted the hotel if there’d have been more, all I can say is that it’s a shame it couldn’t have been the official meeting place for the Liverpool fans as that would have been a site with all our flags hanging from the 42nd Floor of the hotel. Once Tony PP evolved to asking for complimentary cocktails to go with his beers we knew we were doomed.

If anyones interested i'll finish the story over the weekend.

Friday
On waking from the mother of all hangovers on Friday morning we’d decided to use one of 6 million vending machines that there are in Tokyo to quench on thirst. I opted for the C.C lemon drink which had 70 lemons worth of Vitamin C in. I can only imagine what was in the imaginatively named can of Power Sweat.

With Tony PP’s pants in quarantine at the hotel before making the difficult journey to the laundry he was faced with going ‘Yank’ and wearing his checked shorts round Tokyo in winter,or as happened begging Hedley to loan him one of his spare pairs. Once the guarantees and legal documents had been signed the trousers were leant out for 1 day. Hedley never knew how close his jeans had come to Armageddon.

We decided to spend our day shopping and went round Ginza, which its fair to say would bankrupt Roman Abramovich if he was there for too long.


Saturday

It was up a 5am to go to the worlds largest fish market, the place is like Heathrow with vans and thousands of people milling around. It sells more fish than anywhere else on Earth and sort of explains why our oceans are empty and why Whales look like a good filler. And with 2,500 thousand tonnes of the scaliest creatures you’re likely to see outside of a dodgy nightclub come ten to two being sold every day its not to be missed.

All the hard work done we decided to sit down and get a bit of brekkie. Straight into one of the local noodle bars and with the same linguistic skills of Oz from Auf Wiedersehen pet managed to order some fodder to sate our hunger.

Quite what happened next isn’t clear but what we do know is that Tony somehow managed to start laughing ,eating, sneezing and attempting to keep his mouth closed. The eruption that followed was something that even Mount Fuji would have been proud of and resulted in Hedleys head being splattered and burnt with boiling hot noodle Magma. ( cue Dr. Evil style Magma )

That night was the compulsory Karaoke challenge that everyone has to do in Tokyo. We had actually been just about to get a cab home at about 2am when we saw what we thought was nightclub and it was fucking bouncing with people jumping up and down in the window, either that or we thought it was strippers. Either way we were going in , but on closer inspection it turned out that they all had microphones. It seemed that everyone in this place had hired their own room with their mates and let loose.

As we walked in we were confronted at the front desk by the bouncer saying have we got a reservation. Tony quick as you like said yes to which they asked if we were the Andrews party. Well of course that was us, superb blag, thought we would have the room for a while before these guys turned up. Except that they already had and were sat in the room, as our host proceeded to tell these rather large lads that their friends had turned up. They were as surprised as me so I stepped in and owned up to the blag. Turned out they were Kiwi rugby players living in Japan and thank fuck for my face they were cool about it. There then followed three hours of murdering the classics. Tony’s rendition of “sweet dreams “ was anything but . On a separate note I have never seen  a man look so happy as Hedleys face as ghostbusters came on. The machine we were using was amazing and it actually rated you out of ten after each song. Needless to say we hadn’t got above a 3 the whole time we were there. With the Kiwi’s blowing us away with Aussie ballads we somehow managed to convince them to let it all ride on one song. We’d murdered the Beatles, mutilated the Stones, Oasis had been crushed, come on Brit pop where are you now. And then RAWK came to the rescue, thinking back to “the star wars kid has a rival” I proceeded to go solo with “Mai a Hi”. Using all the fatness of the original star I got into the role so completely we won it with a 9 out of 10. On the back of this how could we lose tomorrow.

http://www.redandwhitekop.com/forum/index.php?topic=47800.0

Sunday

You know you’re in a different competition when they give you warnings before the game of what to do in the event of an Earthquake. Family Fortunes said that 95% of scousers shit themselves in such an event. Incidentally our hotel said that we were safe from these monsters as we were on a stable fault line , quite how being on a fault line is stable didn’t occur to me at the time. It also pointed out that in the event of a quake our hotel was a meeting place for the survivors , now I’m not a complete Doug Ellis but I’m not sharing the contents of my mini bar with anyone, I don’t care how many Richters you throw at me 6 quid for a packet of peanuts and those bastards are staying put.

If I remember rightly we got the bullet train at about 4pm just in time to catch the second half of the 3rd place play off. Those things are amazing 230 kph and about 12 massive carriages long. Every time they finish their journeys about 8 cleaning ladies jump on board and make the thing spotless , also turn all the seats around facing the front for the new journey so that nobody has to sit going backwards. Anyone listening at Virgin?

Got off the train at Yokohama and started walking up to the ground, loads more people around for this one and it’s a big ground. Quite a few reds around getting a few bevies before the game in the bars there. We got to the ground and its was like Rio in the ground , the Sao Paulo fans were going beserk bouncing around , banging their drums and singing. Faced with this onslaught on our culture we reverted to type and cracked open the tinnies outside the ground in defiance. Ah well it was fucking freezing.

Suitably oiled we moved into the ground and it was clear it was going to be a full house as it was half full already with three hours to go. Whatever we’d thought outside the ground left us open mouthed within , the Sao Paulo fans enclosure was packed with what looked like a couple of thousand on a mixture of E & Viagra. It was a seething mass of colour and noise, we toyed with trying to sneak in and get some action but Hedley pointed out we hadn’t attended Samba classes for ages so we decided to give it a miss and start summoning the beer monkeys.

We watched the 3rd place play off and should’ve seen what was to come with some of the worst Mike Riley style refereeing ever. Perfect tackles converted to penalties, rd cards, welcome to the wacky world of Fifa refereeing. All applicants must have rotating bow ties and massive feet.

Oh how original we thought we’d been buying the Japanese headbands, we thought the face masks (that many of the locals wear on the tube to prevent colds) were the crowning glory. How we underestimated the ingenuity of the scouser abroad. Easily a thousand people had the headbands all looking like contestants on Banzai, a few hundred had face masks (we’ll be laughing when Avian flu hits) but there were loads who’d gone native. Like characters out of James Clavells Shogun they were dressed up in full Samurai gear, robes and all. The only comparison I can make when the locals saw our fans was similar to when Stephen Rea sees the cock in the Crying game, just without the vomiting.

And the thousands of locals that were there had been plastered with HJC stickers and even though they’ll never even see the rag they’ll not be buying the Sun anytime soon.

We crucified the classics to sing “We all live in a red Tokyo , a red Tokyo, a red Tokyo” and by the end “We never win in Japan , we never win in Japan”. Some of the less enamoured with local delicacies had shouted “Your food is fucking horrible”

By the time our game kicked off our fans were in fine voice ably assisted by our converted local supporters. It was clear we were going to boss it but even early on it was clear we were going to get jack shit. For those people who called it a joke all I can say was that we were gutted as the game went on, you don’t get these games often and much as Blatters a fucking blert I really thought that this might have been how Madrid felt when starting their European cup domination in the early years.

But it needs history to provide a scale of loss and no English club has any in this competition so after scratching off Mexico and Canada (as Cartman says Blame Canada) on my list of holiday destinations it was about looking for familiar pick me ups. After a few drinks and a bag of burgers that Wimpy and Desperate Dan would have struggled to finish we collapsed back into the hotel.



Monday


DDay, or Dry-cleaning Day again to those in the know.

It all started so innocently at 5.30 in the morning, there are a number of main Sumo events where they all fight off but we’d just missed one so they were all resting and preparing for the next fight. We were gutted at the thought of missing these Gary Bushell-like athletes gut barging around so we asked the hotel porter and what a result that was. He rang through to one of the Sumo Dojo’s which is essentially their gym where they practice and asked if it would be ok for us to watch.

He sat us down and made it very clear that this was the most prestigious fight club in the city and that we could sit at the back and watch but on no account could we talk, take photo’s or laugh at their grot rash.

After getting a map we proceeded to get massively lost in the suburbs and after one kind local pointed us in the direction finally heard the sounds of men grunting from one of the buildings, well we knew we there , either that or we’d stumbled on Tokyo’s Canal Street. Either way I was going to have a Strawberry Daquiri.

We walked into the building and there was no one there, well it was still only 6.40. we could see from the other shoes that we were meant to take them off but there were two doors one to the left and one to the right. I’ve got to tell you people that it was only through the kindness of the gods that we didn’t go through the wrong door or this forum would have had its first RAWK Sumo’s.  Well Tony PP hadn’t managed to get even his trips to the toilet right this holiday but he called this correct and rather than going directly onto the floor of the fight ring we walked into the viewing area.

I won’t bore you with the intricacies of Sumo fighting, I’m sure you all know the basics and for those of you who don’t just try and imagine two big titted Geordies going head to head tops off over whether Titus Bramble or Boumsong are the shittest defenders in their history.  Yes frightening I’m sure you’ll agree , when you add the sort of pants that normally come attached with wings and some bird pouring blue water on you can see how surreal it all was.

We sat there for two hours transfixed by inner city Sumo.

Now there’s been precious few quizzes in the postcard so I’ll drop you one now.

When faced with 30 Sumo’s do you:

A.   Remain quiet and respectful and do all you can to prevent outrageous farting
B.   Insult these massive nappy bound killers.

Hedley and I decided to go for option A but Tony opted for the kamikaze route. Anyone who’s familiar with those sanctimonious HSBC adverts would be aware that in some Eastern cultures its considered the height of bad manners to show people the soles of your feet. ( almost wrote souls there but I thought that was a bit deep and philosophical)  Well admittedly we had been sat on a cushion in various states of pain for the previous 2 hours but it just so happened that at the moment Tony decided to stretch his legs a particularly mean looking Sumo looked up and took offence. If you can imagine an angry E. Honda out of the original Street Fighter game you will know why I was concerned.

All joking aside this is the most amazing sport you’ll see and if you do one thing if you manage to visit you’ve got to take this in.

After we’d left and had all agreed that we could have fucked them over if it had turned nasty ( whilst blubbing like Gazza )it was time for Brekkers, Seafood noodles consumed and from that moment the Pants Countdown clock was ticking.

Back to electric city to spend our 60th hour of the holiday looking in vain for Tony’s new camera and a self aware robot that knows how to shuffle cards. We stopped off for a coffee in Mr Donut when without warning Tony exclaimed “Oh Shit”. A truer word was never spoken. He then ran like Mark Walters doing a stepover towards the toilet. Hedley at this point remarked that he could no longer smell the sweet cinnamon flavour of the donuts as it had been replaced with an altogether less fragrant odour. Always willing to give a man a chance I waited till Tony got back 17 minutes later and confirmed that his insides were trying to reclaim the spirit of the 14th kebab in Taksim square that heady day in May but that it was all A ok.

I looked up A ok in the dictionary at the end of the day and was surprised to see it read “ Not ok at all, have in fact shat myself and ditched bills down the back of the cistern, will try and pretend that nothing has happened ignoring growing evidence to the contrary”

And so listeners it was on that fateful position from behind Tony PP walking to electric city that Hedley and I were to see the growing stain of discomfort. As we continued to trail from shop to shop crying with laughter as Tony perfected his Frank Spencer walk “ Oooh Betty I’ve done a whooopsy” . Finally confronted after having to walk behind him on the stairs he admitted that he was going to need  a pit stop.

After returning to the hotel, signing the forms of release for Hedley’s pants again and sending his own to dry cleaning for the second time in a week Tony’s shame was complete. 

Not wanting to miss out on the Banzai spirit Hedley and I decided to see if we could play catch up with Tony and eat Takoyaki. Now I think it fair to say that this is a dish that requires getting used to , or as far away from as possible. Takoyaki is a pancake-like batter, rolled into balls containing octopus and vegetables, and baked. Words cannot express the vileness of this dish and after waiting for mine to go down I tried to improve the experience for Hedley by saying it was just like having a Snowball.

Despite protestations that this whole unfortunate episode should ‘stay on tour’ both Hedley and I agreed that this could and would never happen. Hedley managed to email pictures of the ‘Tokyo incident’ to friends and family. I knew that I would bide by time and wait for this to be published on the award winning forum RAWK , with its registered members list of 10,000 users. So far 819 people have seen the exploits of Tony the Pooh and so I can feel confident mine was the right course of action. Softly Softly Catchee Monkey.

Tuesday

This was to be our day of culture , we were going to get the bullet train or indeed as it was called the “Romance Car” out to Hakone which is next to Mount Fuji about 50 kilometres from Tokyo. This is where the Japanese go in the summer to relax away from the city. Think Lake District with a fuck off huge volcano in the middle.

The whole area is volcanically active so there are geysers all over the place and hot springs. Unfortunately there are no monkeys so you’ll have to take your own if this is important to you when relaxing.

We rather bizarrely caught a pirate ship across the lake and then got a cable car up to the sulphur beds. Now this is where the volcanic sulphur gasses come out of the ground and the whole place stinks of rotten eggs. Think Middlesborough on a hot day.

Well for Hedley this was his homecoming , like ET he was back where he belonged. To anyone that’s had the misfortune to get stuck in the tube with Mr Lemarr back home you’ll know what I mean, he has gastric problems that Blackadders Baldrick would be proud of ( “ Have you been eating dung again? “) .  This stuff was natural, he’s weapons grade and needs Hans Blix inspecting his various orifices to keep him in check.

Tony had wanted to see Mount Fuji . I’d wanted to see Sumo , Hedley had travelled 12,000 miles to eat black eggs. Yes eggs. Basically a local delicacy is simple eggs dropped in the sulphur lake and hard boiled by the heat. The sulphur turns the egg shell black and hey presto black eggs. In the same way that you wouldn’t give Begby another 5 pints of wicked strength lager to calm him down I was dubious that giving a man who’s personally responsible for 45% of the worlds methane eggs was the right thing to do.

After the eggs there was only one thing left to do and that was go bathing in one of the hot spa’s. Now obviously three young innocent eyed lads abroad we’d packed our shorts and we were all ready to boil . It was only on walking around the spa that we realised that the practice was for ‘todgers out’.  Paranoid that someone was going to debag us for dishonouring their ancient relative we descended hippolike into the deeper of the pools. On the plus side Tony was finally clean after a week.






How would I summarise the trip then, hopefully not once in a lifetime but a massive eye opener, our hosts were the most polite gracious people I’ve seen travelling abroad, if you were ever stuck looking confused ( and we were 97% of the time) then a member of the public would ask you if you needed help ( although funnily enough not when Tony’s pants were swelling) and take you to the correct platform. I mean for fucks sake you could have maggots crawling out of your nose in London and cockneys wouldn’t even blink. We’re popular there and can only have done our cause a  lot of good recruiting new fans , but one thing I’d do is keep an eye out for their national team as I get the impression that their own game is improving markedly.

It really is unique and rather than the Starbuckarisation ( it is a word I just invented it) that’s going on in every other city in the world Tokyo is holding its own and going off in another direction. On the one hand the Japanese have a public persona that is very prim and proper but another that is just plain bonkers and familiar to everything we know.

Apologies if this appears to have been one mans struggles against the fabric of his pants( That’s actually his Apache name) but it’s hard to leave out. From the land of the rising sun, sayonara and see you next year.

Altogether now “ We never win in Japan , we never win in Japan”

Cheers Fudge

(C) Fudge 2005

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