It’s about halfway through the third annual Eat Japan trip, and I’m on my last pair of clean underwear…
Time to do some laundry!
Searching through my loose change, I realize I don’t have enough for the machines, so I throw on a T-shirt and jeans to hop on down to the closest convenience store. This being the land of ultra-convenience, I don’t need to head further afield than right next to the hotel, where the closest 7-11 is located.
I grab the elevator, which makes a stop at the second floor, where a very visibly inebriated middle-aged couple join me. The man says “good evening” (in Japanese), whereby I reply in turn. Seeing that I speak Japanese, they proceeded to invite me to head off with them, to an undisclosed location, to sing karaoke together.
I was only heading down to grab some change, so I’m not wearing my jacket (it’s March), and am totally unprepared to go anywhere. I only have enough cash for the laundry machines on me, and I’m also pretty exhausted from leading my group around the city all day.
“Well, I’d have to grab my jacket…” I said.
“It’s fine”, they replied, “we’re heading to a spot nearby–you don’t need your jacket!”
I paused for a second to think it over.
We head a few blocks up the street to a small bar that is apparently owned by the woman–she unlocks the door, we head in, and she asks what I’ll be drinking for the night, proceeding to fill my glass to the brim with shochu.
For the next hour or so we take turns singing karaoke while the woman plies me with free drinks and food. Then as quick as it had started, the man states that our party is over. We pack up, head out, get the guy into a taxi, whereby I bid farewell and thanks to the lady.
I then returned back to my hotel to finish my laundry, albeit a bit more inebriated than initially planned.
Sometimes you’re tired. Sometimes you’re hungover. And sometimes, you just don’t feel like going outside or being around people. I know how it is–I’ve felt all of that before!
But, at least nine times out of ten, I’ve been happy with my decision to say “yes”–to do whatever, or to go wherever.
It’s a very rare occasion where, in hindsight, I think, “wow, I really shouldn’t have accepted that invitation.”
Chances are, if you grind on through that initial pushback, you won’t regret it.
Note: Of course, there are a few caveats to this method of thinking. My story takes place in Japan, which is known for being very hospitable and safe. Also, I’m a male of somewhat large stature, and thus I feel pretty safe when presented with such situations (whereas, for example, a solo female may want to think twice). Always take charge of your situation and surroundings, and if it feels safe, go with it!