Adventures in Projectile Vomiting, or: Never drink the sake when a Swiss man tells you not to

Posted on 12.02.2014


A few weeks ago, after an intense 3 days of teacher training, we went out to celebrate with the rest of the new trainees. It had been a LONG three days, and we were definitely ready to unwind and relax.

Our group was a varied one: the two of us, a few more from the UK, a few from Australia (Brisbane is really popular, apparently), a guy from Kenya, a guy from Switzerland and one guy from ‘I really have no idea if that is even a country’. I was pretty outnumbered, which was a nice change. There were TONS of US English speakers in Germany… here, I was almost unique! This is not so in my office, but at the training it was fun.

One of the guys who had lived in Tokyo before took us to Shinjuku, which was nearby, so we could find ourselves an izakaya (pub) to hang out in. Most izakaya have specials, like ‘all you can drink for 2 hours for $11 per person’, or something to that effect. Whatever it was or cost, we found one, left our shoes at the door and all piled into a private room.

1623570_640821512200_1719586615_nEveryone else ordered beer, while I of course ordered sake, since I don’t do beer. I had to show a few of the very ‘new to Japan’ how to pour sake, and not to shoot it, etc… but overall we drank happily together. For  nearly the entire two hours. About halfway through the 2 hour time period, the servers brought us a free, gigantic bottle of sake to have, since we liked the sake so much. I was excited, since I’d already been through about 5 of the small jugs they served sake in… so I reached for the bottle to open it and pour it into my very empty jugs.

At this point, the guy from Switzerland, who shall only be called ‘P’, tried to stop me and told me ‘you don’t want to drink this stuff, it’s terrible!’, to which I replied, ‘no no, I’m great at sake!’ and poured liberally. P then went on to explain that this was CHINESE sake, and he’d had it before, and it nearly killed him.

I have to say that at this point, I shrugged it off as ‘someone of German-ish heritage that doesn’t understand things that are not beer’, which was wrong of me. I also took it as a challenge, which is something I am known to do. WHENVEVER someone tells me NOT to do something, I take it as an open invitation for me to do it, HARD. I just said ‘I can handle it!’, and then proceeded to drink the sake.

I should stop at this point to tell you that I hadn’t eaten in about 6 hours, had an empty stomach, and wasn’t 1-to-1ing like I normally do. I was straight drinking in a way I haven’t drunk in a long time. Not for any real reason, I just forgot I hadn’t eaten, was having fun, and wasn’t actually feeling any effects from the sake at that point in time, so I figured I was ok.

About 20 minutes after that, I realised I  was really, REALLY drunk, and if I was to continue hanging out, I’d have to induce vomiting. In the bathroom. Down the narrow stairs.

So I excused myself to go and do what had to be done, and I guess I must have fallen asleep with my head on the toilet seat in the bathroom. To me, I was there for a mere few minutes, but according to Mark, I was gone for about 20 minutes, and one of our female coworkers found me asleep on the toilet and went up to get him, so he could come get me. However, I certainly DID vomit BEFORE I fell asleep sitting on the floor in front of the toilet. I specifically remember that part.

The rest, however, will be considered the first blackout I’ve ever had. When Mark showed me the video footage he made sure to record, I kind of remember coming home on the train and talking to the camera, but not well. I woke up the next morning and wondered how I’d managed to get out of my clothes and into bed. Apparently, I didn’t have any hand in it, that was all Mark. Kudos, honey, I was wearing tights and about three layers of work clothes!! Someone is a pro.

I laid in bed, feeling dehydrated and thinking that I was glad I’d made sure to vomit at the izakaya, or else I would be HELLA hung over. When Mark woke up, I asked a lot of questions and drank a ton of water, all while still mostly laying down, just propped up by pillows. Then he went downstairs, got me some green tea, and then showed me this embarrassing piece of evidence when he came back, which I have uploaded to youtube to keep myself accountable:

I hope I can remember this silly video for a very long time.

But after seeing the video, it wasn’t even over. We both had to go in to our new home offices that day for our initial meetings with our new managers. Thankfully, I’d got all of the alcohol out of my system…

I sat up because I needed to use the toilet. I felt REALLY terrible when that happened and gravity started to work. I felt almost ill. I sat there for a minute on the edge of the bed, trying to figure out what the hell was wrong with me. I then told Mark I was going to try to go to the bathroom, conveniently located as far from the bed as possible. As I got up, my stomach turned. Pulling open the door (they slide in my house), it started to feel worse. By the time I was in the hall, I knew I was going to be sick. I tried my best to handicapped-run to the toilet room, and made it in. But as I made it in, it started to come up.

I have NEVER in my entire life projectile vomited, but that is exactly what happened. I was trying my best to run to the toilet, and ended up vomiting from across the bathroom. Thankfully, most of it made it INTO the toilet from a good 3 -5 feet away, but the toilet seat and the floor were both covered in a (thankfully) clear mess. This meant I couldn’t kneel down to continue vomiting, and I certainly couldn’t sit down on the seat to use the toilet. So I stood there in abject misery, vomiting water and green tea into the toilet from 3 feet over it, trying to aim for the centre and not make any more of a mess, and in between heaves calling to Mark and trying to get some toilet paper so I could wipe off the seat. Because I had to pee SO BADLY.

Meanwhile, Mark was commending me for actually getting drunk, since he has known me for quite some time and apparently NEVER seen me anything near as bad as I was the night before.

So… a few notes to self:
1. Don’t drink the Chinese sake, stick to Nihonshu.
2. Keep my European stereotypes in check, since I
a) don’t know many Swiss people,
b) should not lump them in with ze Germans, and
c) should know better than to have stereotypes in the first place.
3. Assume, to be fair, that other people know what the fuck they are talking about… at least some of the time.

Also, I am not trying to write like I am from the UK… I’m typing all of this from Mark’s computer since mine is still dead, and it is set to UK English. It won’t let me spell things with Zs. Or without a U next to the O, apparently.

Posted in: Japan, life