2011-12-09

Total loss of memory after drinking

I am used to drinking (and often getting drunk), but such a thing has never happened in my entire life so far. A few weeks ago I drank with someone at my apartment. When I drink alone, I do so to enjoy the taste of wine and seldom pass the limit. But when I drink with others, especially with those who know how to drink, I often pass the limit easily (and do stupid things afterward). This morning I saw him at a nearby supermarket, so naturally I said hello to him. Since he did not react, I went closer to him and said hello to him again. Then I received a totally unexpected reply from him - he cursed me, or so he seemed (I was listening to my favorite klezmer music then, so I did not hear his actual words, but it was clear from his facial expression that he cursed me).

This unexpected curse of his seems to be a clue to what I did and/or said to him after I drank with him and got totally drunk. I simply do not remember what I did and/or said then, including how I returned home. On the following morning I found some blood on my face and wondered what had happened to me. Having heard him curse me, I am now quite sure that this blood was caused by him after I did and/or said something unpardonable to him. But the problem is that I have no memory about it, that is, between the time I left my apartment to accompany him until I got up on the following morning. I did some stupid, but mostly pardonable, things enough times after I got drunk, but even then I did remember, at least vaguely, what I had done (and felt ashamed and guilty afterward). But this time I simply remembered nothing, which is very scary, to say the least! I also wonder whether he was aware that I was totally drunk then, though this would not justify for him what I had done and/or said to him (but again I do not remember anything).

This totally unexpected "greeting" of his has also made me think about another fundamental difference between Japanese and Israeli societies - to what social misconducts the two societies can be tolerant or intolerant. Now I realize that they are tolerant and intolerant to mutually exclusive things. Japanese society is tolerant to drunkards and their misconducts, while Israeli society is not. But on the other hand, the latter is tolerant to those who are not punctual, while the former is not. This incident as well as recent reflections on the cultural differences between the two societies has made me realize quite surprisingly that in spite of the fact that I had a very hard time in Japan and consider myself as a kind of sociocultural refugee in Israel, I am after all far closer in my behaviors to Japanese society than to Israeli society in many areas, if not in the areas of verbal communication and sense of humor.