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Preface: For my junior year abroad, I went on Semester at Sea, which, if you are unfamiliar, is a semester spent on a cruise ship traveling around the world. Yes, it’s exactly as fucking sweet and amazing as it sounds. It’s years later, and it’s still impossible to find the right combination of adjectives, verbs and nouns to describe the experience in it’s entirety – so I will not attempt to re-tell the whole experience as one story. That saga is one that really should only be known to those of us who experienced it together. However, there are certain snapshots into time that the world can share with me. This is one of them. 

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We got to Tokyo toward the end of our trip. By this point, I had been hooking up with Big Red since somewhere in the middle of the Indian Ocean. He bought me noodles one sweaty, drunken night in Malaysia and the rest was history. But that’s another story for another time.

We had three days to spend in Tokyo so we got a hotel room with his friend and set out on our Tokyo adventure. During the day, we went sightseeing and met up with a bunch of our other friends. We subsequently decided to meet up that night and go out.

We all went to some bar district. Now, this sounds like a simple sentence, but I can assure you – it is not. I am fairly proficient in about five and a half languages (French, Spanish, Italian, German, and two semesters of Arabic), so for some reason I assumed that Mandarin and Japanese would be “easy to pick up” if I studied them before we got there. I was totally fucking wrong. Apparently, I lose my knack for linguistics somewhere around Mesopotamia, and it doesn’t return until I cross the international dateline. At any rate, my point is: it is very hard to communicate in Japan. Actually, it is very hard to communicate anywhere in Asia without a tour guide, but most especially in Japan.

The Japanese are a very proud people, and with good reason. They have a beautiful culture and country. However, I’m convinced that the Japanese sense of humor is defined by the twisted amusement of watching foreigners struggle to order french fries at McDonald’s. The look of bemusement when a foreigner struggles to speak in broken Japanese (or hopeful English) has been mastered by the Japanese (that and Sake).

In order to get to the bar in Tokyo, we had to get a cab, which you first have to request at the hotel. This required a tremendous amount of patience on the part of the hotel staff, as none of us had the foresight to look up the phrase “I need a taxi please.” After a game of Pictionary with the concierge, some taxis showed up to our hotel. Our waitress from lunch had written down the name of the district she had suggested – so all we had to do was show our taxi driver the napkin she wrote it on and the taxi driver would know where to go. Unfortunately, none of us could find the napkin. And so, another elaborate game of Pictionary ensued; this time with the taxi drivers and the hotel staff. After about twenty minutes, they figured out we wanted to go out drinking. We were finally off!

After about fifteen minutes, we all arrived at a bar-lined street teeming with people. We all went off in different directions, Big Red and his friends went one way, and I went with my friend Pookie and some other girls. This was the last time I saw Big Red that night.

The girls and I found what appeared to be an Irish pub and headed inside. I will never forget the scene inside when I first stepped through the door: the place was fucking filled to the brim with various nationalities of rugby players. It was literally my wet dream.

If you’ve never hung around with rugby players (and I don’t mean the American kind), you haven’t lived. Rugby players are the perfect combination of athletic, drunk and foreign; something about it just makes you want to rip your shirt off and make bad decisions. So, obviously, I automatically ordered a round of shots.

For some reason, as if by divine intervention, us five girls were the only females in the bar. Literally, surrounded by dozens of testosterone teeming men. Not kidding: the ratio was DOZENS to one. Amazing.

I am a God fearing girl, so with a gift sent from heaven such as this – what else was I supposed to do but oblige and partake in the delightful smorgasbord of dick that had been sent to me that night.

About ten drinks later, I was deep in conversation with Beckham, an Irish rugby player who was most definitely my soul mate. At some point, we began sloppily making out right there in the middle of the bar – which, after a moment, began to draw a lot of attention from his friends.

I don’t know whether you’ve ever made out with someone you just met in front of a rowdy bar full of his friends, but it’s pretty awesome. I suggest everyone do it at least once in his or her lives. After several minutes, however, it was getting a little embarrassing, plus I was bored with making out. I was enjoying being the center of attention, but I wasn’t really willing to have sex in public at that particular moment.

“Let’s go to my hotel.” Beckham whispered, with a mischievous grin on his face. Luckily, he shared my sentiment of wanting to escape the crowd.

Unfortunately, while drinking in a foreign country, one cannot simply just go back to a stranger’s hotel. I couldn’t leave without my friends, period. This was a safety measure we all used in every country to prevent our lives from becoming Lifetime Movies, and there were no exceptions. Plus, I couldn’t take Beckham back to my hotel either, since I was sharing it with Big Red. Good thing I can think quickly.

“Let’s go upstairs.” I whispered back, motioning to a staircase toward the back of the bar. Beckham grabbed my hand and pulled me up the stairs. They led to a long hallway lined with doors. Motivated by our sudden escape, Beckham started kissing me again, intensely. He picked me up and shoved me against the hallway wall, eager to capitalize on our newfound privacy.

He began walking slowly down the hallway, still carrying me. He opened the first door that we got to and carried me inside, shutting it behind him.

The room was dark, and I couldn’t tell what kind of room it was. I was pretty preoccupied with Beckham anyways, so I also didn’t care. I assumed it was a storage room. There was a table in the middle of the room, which Beckham laid me down on and then proceeded to have his way with me – which I eagerly allowed him to do.

After we were done, Beckham got up to fumble around for a light switch so that we could get dressed and go back down to the bar. It took him about twenty seconds to find it, and then he flicked it on.

“HOLY FUCKING SHIT.” I screamed as the lights came on.

There were cages full of fucking snakes surrounding us. Not a joke. At least thirty snakes were in cages lining the walls surrounding the table we had just fucked on.

“TOKYOOOOOO!!!!!!!!” Beckham was laughing hysterically, amused by the fact that fucking serpents were surrounding us.

“Why the fuck do they have a roomful of snakes at this fucking bar?” I asked, hurriedly putting my clothes back on.

“Baby, it’s Tokyo. Don’t you know?” Beckham was still doubled over in laughter. “These motherfuckers are crazy here.”

We went back downstairs to continue drinking. At some point, my friends and I left the bar, and Beckham gave me his email address so that we could keep in touch, which I thought was a sweet gesture. I never emailed him because I have some dignity, but still, it was a touching sentiment.

As we headed back to the hotel, I filled the girls in on Beckham and the snakes.

“I CAN’T BELIEVE YOU DIDN’T FUCKING COME TELL ME THERE WERE SNAKES RIGHT ABOVE MY HEAD. WHAT THE FUCK. WHY WOULD SOMEONE HAVE THIRTY SNAKES AT A BAR? DOES IT TURN INTO SOME KIND OF AFTER-HOURS PETTING ZOO?” Pookie bellowed at me. Apparently, she was not as amused as Beckham had been.

“Just calm down, we’re fine. We all had fun.” I said, giggling.

“Well what are you going to tell Big Red?” Pookie asked.

Shit. I had totally forgotten about Big Red. Oops.

“I’m not going to tell him anything, and neither is anyone else. What happens in Sketchy Tokyo Snake Bar stays there.” I said.

And with that, we made it back to the hotel. I collapsed into bed with Big Red, Beckham’s email address still tucked into my bra.



Occurred: sometime between 2004-2008


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