Getting High with a Stranger in Japan

Getting High with a Stranger in Japan

We were talking on the couch in a hostel lobby in Tokyo. It was snowing outside, the first time in November for 60-years.

My friend had gone to sleep, he had a flight to catch the next morning.

The guy I was talking to was from America.

He had just finished telling me how he brought his vape (electronic cigarette) into Japan. He had a medical permit to smoke cannabis back home.

“Cannabis is highly illegal in Japan, up to a 10-year jail sentence,” he told me.

“The Japanese customs have never seen this.” he pulled out a few vials of hashish oil.

I was writing in my journal what I had been up to that day as I was talking to this guy. He had some cool stories and I didn’t want to be rude so I turned off my iPad.

“Want to try some?” he asked.

I didn’t respond he just handed me the vape.

“You just push the button on the top and suck it in.”

“Alright,” I said.

I could hear the liquid bubbling as I held the button down. I had no idea what hashish oil was but I’d heard it was some kind of cannabis plant extract.


I inhaled the vapor.

My eyes dilated immediately. Like the feeling, you get when you look at yourself half asleep in the mirror and try to stretch your face out.

“Take another.” he said.

One was more than enough.



My whole body relaxed. It was like a dozen masseurs had decided to treat me for the evening, all at the same time.

Whatever I was writing was now definitely on pause.

I noticed myself starting to struggle to tie thoughts into a sentence. The words were there in my head but I couldn’t say them to the guy I was talking to.

I laid down on the couch.

“Maybe two was a bit much, my bad, enjoy it dude.”

Time dissolved. Everything was happening at the speed of light and at a stand still at the same time.

I started feeling as if the couch was pushing up against me rather than gravity pulling me down.

The guy was telling me stories about his life back in the US.

“Okay.” was all I could reply.

He had way more hits than me so maybe he was feeling the same. His tolerance was probably way higher.

I turned my head to try look behind the couch. When I moved my body I could feel again. I started shaking my head, with every change in direction I’d get some sense of the world but when I stopped, everything went back to being nonsensical.

“I’m going out to smoke a cigarette. Want to join?” he asked.

“No thank you.” I think I replied.

When he left I tried to get back to writing. I wanted to document my current situation.

As I sat up the demons started creeping in. What I’d done just hit me. I’d just smoked a variant of cannabis in Japan. I could go to jail if they found me.

I needed a way to sober up so I started to text my friends, they had a bit more experience than I did.

An example of what I was sending my friends. There are two more pages.

The paranoia started to kick in. I thought the guy was going to try and rob me.

Step 1: Get me high.

Step 2: Take my stuff.

I thought it was such a genius plan.

I decided I better take myself back to my room.

Everything was in slow motion. Seriously slow motion. My room was no more than 20 meters from the lobby.

By the time I put my stuff together in a pile and got myself off the couch, it took me 40-minutes to get back.

My bed was the bottom half of a bunk bed. I was sharing a dorm room with 12 or so other guests. I wondered if they knew how high I was.

I put my stuff in my bag and put my bag next to my pillow. I was travelling with one bag.

Because the rooms had so many people, the bunks had black out curtains so you’d at least get a little privacy.

I managed to close my curtains.

Then it began.

My sheets were white and the curtains completely black. As I laid down, it felt like I was floating through space. The blackness of the curtains was a perfect backdrop for the emptiness of space.

I was on a magic flying bed on a journey through the boundless universe.

The guy above me was doing some kind of update on his Windows laptop which was less than ideal theme music for my adventure but I didn’t have many options.

As I hovered through space with no sense for time, I managed to drift off to sleep. I slept for 14-hours. I woke up 30-minutes past the time I was supposed to check out from the hostel.

The guy who gave me the vape was in the bunk across from me, he had already checked out.

My bag was still next to my head untouched.

I was afraid for no reason.

I packed up my gear, got a photo with my friend on the hostel guest board. And went outside to check out the snow, the first time in 60-years. And the second time I’d ever seen snow. What a day.

Moral of the story?

Get super high in a hostel lobby with a stranger you’ve never met and realise most of our fears are in our mind and not in reality.