by Luke Ray
Speaking personally, it was with warm and (very) fuzzy memories of the previous Kobe tour that I greeted the lads, already gathered outside Shinagawa Starbucks. The beers started flowing immediately, everyone fully aware that we only had 48 (very) odd precious hours of drinking ahead of us (minus time for the odd game of cricket and perhaps a nap.) And it was with faces of trepidation bordering on despair that the fellow passengers of the south-bound Nozomi 53 Bullet Train greeted the more-frivolous-by-the-mouthful Wommies. Perhaps they had heard the Cap’n outline his plan of attack for the evening – “I’m just gonna be a total slut tonight” – geez, if he’s broadcasting it already, I nervously-but-excitedly pondered…
The trip down was tame compared to what was later to come. Needless to say that we were eager to get in some pre-drinking drinking on the train, and as usual the captain led by example. He also had to be lead (read ‘carried’) off the train after a gloriously failed attempt at sudden forward mobility without the use of his legs/motorskills/vision/sobriety. In short he face-planted off the train onto his kitbag, and once again through the ticket gates, all the while maintaining that cheeky ‘aw c’mon boys let’s have a bit of fun ay!’ grin that we love him for. The tour virgins glanced about nervously, the Kobe team welcoming party gave a knowing smile, and the rest of the Wommies wanted to know if anyone had any alcohol. We were firmly on the road to Osaka Obliteration.
Next stop was the KRAC headquarters in Kobe, where there was indeed plenty of alcohol. We’d like to think we put a pretty bloody hefty dent in the grog stocks, and the fact that this intrepid tour reporter can’t remember a thing about our stop there seems to prove the point. Oh wait, I do remember a certain Wombat making room for more alcohol in the dunnies…Anyhow, after a time, the call went out and we headed for the train to Osaka. And what a train ride it was….
By Wombat standards the train ride was actually fairly tame. Minimal alcohol was being spilled, everyone had their clothes on, no one was climbing into baggage racks, and there wasn’t a sniff of train cricket to be seen The silly, SILLY man who decided to dob us in to the station officials obviously had no idea what he was getting himself into. Upon the first of many increasingly impolite requests to vacate the train (thereby cutting into our Osaka drinking time – intolerable!) the comfortably numb El Presidente once again metamorphosed into the beast last seen terrorizing Shibuya after the presentation 2007 night, and revealed to anyone who would listen, and many who tried not to, that he is just as proficient at insults and swearing in Japanese as his wife is in English. Approximately 5 or 6 station guards and ten minutes of stoppage time later, the Wombats exited the train, content in the knowledge that we had successfully schooled the entire carriage in the ancient art of yobbism. All the while, one wombat had missed the action, as he quietly emptied the contents of his stomach onto himself in the corner…still making room for what was to come, I assume.
And we hadn’t even gotten to Osaka yet!
Once in Osaka, a quick scan of the city revealed that, in order to have the most impact, the Wombats would have to splinter into efficient 3-to-5-man cells, and, given their separate missions, they slipped off into the night. Mission 1: the meat-market bar didn’t exist in the end, so Jarrad, Morty, Gavin, Rhino, Laidler, GT and Al found themselves at some random club – void of any other human beings. The kind bouncer recommended club “Pure” (sarcasm is obviously alive and well in Osaka) so off they went, with a map to Club Pure and the excited smile of a sports team on tour – the rules don’t apply! Dino kicked up a stink about having to show ID (No!? Dino, spitting the dummy!?), so the club didn’t let him in of course. GT and Gavin stuck by their noisy club president and stayed outside, while Morty, Rhino, Laids and Al partied inside. The place was cranking, when Captain chuck, in an amazing display of that sixth sense that enables his near-prophetic field placements, stumbled in out of nowhere – fluke find of the year.
The boys wasted no time waving their credit cards at the tabletop dancers. Drinks flowed, hard to remember who came and went – Al stumbled outside, leaving Morty talking to some chick at the door, and bought some water with Rhino and a bento for a friendly homeless man. By now it was morning. A one-hour sojourn via Mcdonalds to find the holy Sankaku Koen followed, where Luke was waiting, back from untold (unremembered?) adventures with some locals in various establishments. Later reports would confirm that Dino and GT found ways of amusing themselves!
Good times after the game in the KRAC bar – Gavin’s voice totally gone (and his bowels totally emptied – see match report) In order to leave the Wombat paw print on the Kobe landscape in most spectacular fashion, the team once again split into attack teams (anyone remember Voltron?)
The split took place at the live house – Luke, Chuck, Rhino, Derek from the KRAC, and Al went in instinctively after hearing and seeing the action inside. Perfect choice – band rocking, DJ pumping, dance floor alive, wide-eyed stares from little cuties who still thought foreigners were gentlemanly and charming (poor, deluded souls…bless ’em.) No other gaijins either. The vibe was happy and friendly, particularly in the men’s toilet (Take it all in one toke man!!) One of the highlights had to be the team of 6-foot stiletto-wearing Priscilla Queen of the Desert-style transvestites who would later put on quite a show. Then the main act – a rocking, hip, funky Ska band. The dance floor wooed the boyz to boogie hard – knocking everyone flat within an Al-hand-span. After a few hours, the live house team left and stumbled back to the Irish pub in the pouring rain to find the rest of the Wommies: Mckenna dancing like a speed-crazed duracell rabbit with an inner-ear problem, Laidler seducing a hat stand, three girls who had followed the lads in and proceeded to play with each other in the corner, downright dedication to ‘hospitality’ on the part of the bar owner’s missus, and the bar to themselves. On the stumble home many more beers later (or was there another bar involved? Sorry, it’s just not coming to me!) a motor scooter lost a brief tussle with Rayos, and everyone got wet, but no one cared. Gotta love Kobe.
I don’t think anyone was particularly bothered that the Sunday morning game was called off due to rain, except maybe Curly, but then again he doesn’t have to put up with the hangovers. Faced with nothing to do but chat to the lovely waitress downstairs and sit in the bar and try not to get drunk again, the Wombats turned their thoughts to the Bullet train home. Some drank Chuies, others snored, and another Kobe tour was done and dusted.
Gotta love Kobe…