We stopped in our tracks. Unadvisable perhaps, considering we were in the middle of the road. But that ‘hey’ was definitely for us.
Nick and I looked round to see a gray haired gentleman earnestly staring at us while two of his colleagues tumbled out of a taxi. Frasier looked unimpressed. He always was the most sensible one of us. Well, most of the time.
‘What are you doing?’
He asked, all of us more sensibly now standing on the kerb. Looking over at his colleagues we noticed how much younger they were than him. Their excitement, unlike their boss, seemed somewhat more restrained. Their eyes had that ‘What the fuck is he getting us into now?’ quality to them. Something I assume we shared, but seeing it in their eyes was oddly reassuring. They had definitely been here before.
Emboldened, we responded.
It seemed like the correct response.
‘You should come with us!’
Now the fear set in. We’d heard about Japanese business men. Perverts, every last one of them. Who knows where we would end up? We looked at each other warily, doing the best we could to discuss the situation in utter silence. Frasier frowned, but as our resident non-drinker, we agreed that his opinion didn’t count. Nick grinned. And that was it.
Two for two on correct responses as it turns out. He looked delighted, putting his arms round Nick and I and shepherding us towards the nearest Karaoke bar. We got inside and to our delight, found that that was all it was.
What followed was a delightful evening of singing and drinking all thanks to our mysterious benefactor. Though his subordinates may have footed the bill for all we know. The important thing here though, is that we didn’t. And free nights out always go down a treat.
Leaving the bar we walked to a restaurant over one of the most famous bridges in Osaka. Young girls in outfits their parents must have frowned upon lingered on both sides. Our friend put his arm round my shoulder and whispered conspiratorially.
‘Over here, the girls are very easy to catch.’
Which was accompanied by a wide reaching arm motion, directing our attention to a group of girls easily young enough to be his daughter. So he WAS a pervert. Thank God. He was in good company.