At this point in my then 28-year-old life, Noboko-chan is without a doubt the most beautiful woman I have ever been out with, and even then, with a modicum of dating, I had probably already dated quite a few women that any heterosexual male or interested female would stand up and take notice of. I was just lucky back then, that's all.
Noboko was then working as a Japanese teacher of English (JTE) at Nozaki Chu Gakko (Nozaki Junior High School), one of the then-seven middle schools in Ohtawara, and one of the seven I would spend four days a week at before moving on to the next school.
(My fifth day would be spent at the OBOE - Ohtawara Board of Education office where I spent my idle hours writing a report on the past week's events and other stuff.
After those initial five minutes of real work where I would leave out all of the stuff about me falling in love immediately with Noboko, the rest of the day was mine, and to the credit of the OBOE, they would often take me out for a couple of hours of local sight-seeing in and around the 50,000 person town that was more rice field than metropolis.
Anyhow… though Noboko didn't seem to care much for me, her (our) students did, and spent the weeks after I left Nozaki convincing her that I was 'the one' - someone funny, intelligent and handsome with a big wang.
I have no idea what the students told her, but in my head I believe it was something along those lines. Riii-iiight.
For some reason, Noboko believed the little bastards (because all women want someone funny - riiii-iiight), and agreed to go come to my place for dinner, whereby I cooked my famous chili con carne. And while it took every ounce of my now petrified testosterone to not make a move on her, in hindsight my control at playing it cool may have worked out.
Without even a kiss on the cheek goodnight, she responded to my query of a second meeting with an off-the-cuff remark that she 'had my phone number'.
I danced a jig after she left and probably touched myself in ways best not described here, and wondered just how the hell I was going to go out with a woman so beautiful.
Personally, I wanted to shout to the rooftops that "Noboko likes me!", and maybe I did shout it out about 10 minutes later, but really… for a Japanese woman… and a co-worker to boot… and a teacher of children… would she really want to point out that she dated me - and by that I mean she came over to my place for dinner?
No, I thought. She wouldn't want me to blab out that she had come to dinner. To do so would have cast her in a negative light amongst her colleagues, though I am pretty sure every single man would have come over and shaken my hand or kicked me in the nuts.
I know that every single man at Nozaki Chu Gakko - and maybe even some of the married ones - had flirted with her… feeling her out to see if she would either go out with them or, if not, just have sex with them.
Let me tell you all something… one of the things I love about Noboko is that she did not sleep with me after coming over. Because she wasn't sure if she liked me… because I was going to be more than a sexual conquest… she wanted to know if I was boyfriend-worthy.
It's like someone wanting to kiss you to see if there would be any fireworks…
So… there it was - the same night after my diner with Noboko, and I was hovering around my telephone like a hummingbird wanting to stick his beak into some honeysuckle.
The phone rang!
I waited the appropriate number of Japanese rings - 14 - before finally picking it up.
It was Matthew calling to see how things went, because he was the only person I could tell about her. While I explained that it went well, in the back of my head - and the front of my head - I prayed that Noboko wasn't then calling me to go out for a real date out in public.
This was 1993, after all, and there was no call-waiting function on my phone - and I'm unsure it actually existed either… so you could actually miss a call, or in Noboko's case, get a busy signal.
Oh no! What if she thought I was calling up my friends to tell them all about our date? Or worse, I was calling up my girlfriends to tell them another one was joining the harem?
Ridiculous, right? I would never use the word 'harem'.
Anyhow… after telling Matthew that I was hoping Noboko would call soon, and telling him I wanted to keep the line clear, he asked two poignant questions:
1) How long ago did she leave?
"Uh… 15 minutes ago?"
2) Did she say she would call tonight?
"Uh… 15 minutes ago?"
Now calm again after Matthew's long distance slap in the face (reach out, reach out and slap someone) (did I just date myself?), I eventually bade Matthew a good night and spent the rest of the evening wondering when Noboko would call and where I could take her for dinner.
I might also have touched myself again - then again I was in my 20s and still had the energy to do that more than once in a 30 minute span.
And… for the record… you will not go blind from masturbation. I have bad eyesight, but I'm not blind. Not legally, anyway.
Thankfully Noboko-chan did not make we wait too long. She did not call me that night, but she did call me at 6PM the next night.
She was very quiet when speaking, but I know she enjoyed our conversation (because I heard her giggle and not guffaw). At the end of it, I asked her again if she would like to go out.
She explained to me that in her position, it would not be very good for her to be seen dating me. As it was… and I suppose I know what she's talking about because I heard the same thing from Ashley (my AET - assistant English teacher) girlfriend of years past… everyone would just assume that we are sleeping together.
"So?" was always my reaction, as I just was not getting the impropriety thing. "Let'em know! I want the world to know I am dating you!"
But… if someone is dating a gaijin male or a Nihonjin otoko (Japanese man), everyone will assume that there is sex involved… and no woman wants to be looked upon as as being a slut anywhere except the bedroom or perhaps on the dinning room table… or maybe the couch… or…
I understand that.
But, if everyone knows the rules of dating, how is it inappropriate?
It just is, you… you… man, you!
So… I'm smart enough to not question anything Noboko says at this point in time, because I really want to screw her brains out (because those are the rules of dating) - so I ask her where we should go on a date where we won't attract attention.
She must have been planning this - which shocks me, because I thought I was the obsessive one.
"I could come to your apartment," she suggests in her damn near-perfect English. "If you have not eaten, I will bring dinner."
Now I'm excited and panicking. Panicking because I ate left-over chili already. And now she wants to feed me?
Why would I eat chili? That stuff gives me gas? Why did I feed us chili last night? It's the only food I can cook except spaghetti, eggs and bacon and beans, and cereal (hint… don't cook your cereal).
So… I hit the bathroom and try to force myself to poop. I don't have too, but that has never stopped me before.
The gods must have been smiling that day, because the evacuation was successful, and apparently my bowel movements smell a lot like an air-freshener.
I hide the spray can, wash my hands, and run to the front door to peep out the spy-hole.
I smile as I throw open the door and see her…
"Kon-ichi-wa An-do-ryu-kun," she coos at me as she offers me a little bow before handing me a pair of grocery bags.
And all I can think of is just how domestic this all looks… siiiiighhhh…
PS: You might think it odd that I don't recall the date of this date, considering how important it was to me.
You may then also wonder just why I am able to recall what I was thinking and just what I was saying.
I have never been one for details such as describing stuff - I suck at it. But… conversations… those I remember.
PPS: Konichi-wa An-do-ryu-kun. means 'Hello Andrew', but when a woman adds the modifier 'kun' to the end of a man's name… it becomes a pet name. A term of endearment.
For women… you add the modifier 'chan', which I have done in various places throughout the story.
PPPS: In 1993, at this point in time in my story, I had no idea what the word 'kun' (pronounced coon) meant, but I sure like the way it was said.