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Thursday, January 22, 2015

Noboko & Andrew: A Game Of You

You really could have knocked me down with a feather.

Noboko just dropped the bombshell that her mom knows all about us - which was something I was trying to get her to do for ages now. But her father still doesn't know.

Or he does and is playing ignorant, not wanting his darling little baby to be screwing with the gaijin (foreigner).

From a Japanese public relations stance, it's not good. I have added a baseball analogy, in case you are wondering what is going on.

Single daughter of an 'impotent' (sorry - damn Auto Correct) 'important' member of Japan's teaching establishment doing the wild thing with the foreigner who teaches at her junior high school. Strike one.

He's not even American. He's Canadian. Strike two.

Either he's not even White - or he has a pony-tail like some stupid Japanese ass clown (Shimura Ken - the funniest guy on television back in the 1990s). But he is a nice guy - he brought her father a bottle of expensive whiskey. Foul tip! Still no balls and two strikes.

Oh yeah - he's leaving Japan in a few months time. Would darling daughter care to leave Japan for (ugh) the snow climes of Canada where they might not even have indoor plumbing (Uh, hello, we've had indoor plumbing for at least four years now - and loving it). A swing and a miss! Strike three!

From a Canadian public relations stance, it's all good. A foreigner is chasing after a pretty Japanese woman. This is news? Whatever. Ball one.

A good looking woman like that will make him look like he is very rich or well-hung. Ball two.

She can speak English AND Japanese - well, maybe she can get a job. Ball three.

She's not from the Philippines, so she can't be a nanny. Strike one. (Maybe this is just a Toronto thing. And it has been a thing for decades now.) Strike one.

Why IS she with him? Is she a little "slow"? Will that cost the Canadian Government funds for social services. Strike two.

She's very pretty. She will make the overall prettiness of Canada go up - more so if she likes hockey. No, she doesn't? She's still pretty, though - just no longer as pretty as hoped. Foul ball. Still three balls and two strikes.

She loves him but is afraid of upsetting her father? What is this Shakespeare? Another foul ball. Still a full count at three balls and two strikes.

He loves her and is willing to do whatever it takes - maybe even stay in Japan for the rest of his life? Whoa! He didn't even try and duck away! Hit batsman! Batter take your base when you wake up from the obvious concussion.

Now woozy and apparently on first base, would I really spend the rest of my lif in Japan if that was the only way I could get Noboko?

Yes.

But...

Oh crap! There is no 'but! Leave it alone.

But, I want her to be able to tell her father she loves me and then come on a vacation with me to Toronto. It's not to stay forever - though that would be nice. Rather it's just to get her away from Japan... to prove that she can do this for me.

To show me that she isn't ashamed of me or that there is no shame in being seen in public together. At least I don't think Canada cares. I think I might impress a few people, too.

I want her to prove that she is willing to fight for me. That I am the best man in her life. That it isn't her father.

I have no idea when I became a woman. All in touch with my emotions. Men don't do that, do they?

Yeah... all this is going through my head at about 1,000 miles and hour... faster than the speed of sound, which is why I have a headache. Damn sonic booms.

So... I sit and wait by my telephone, knowing that 30 minutes later, she will call.

Twenty-nine... thirty!

Ring-ring!

"Moshi-moshi, baby," I purr into the phone.

"Wha?!"

Oh crap! It's not Noboko. It's Kristine just calling to check in on me. She's the woman I should have dated, slept with and married and died with. But no... I screwed it up by not having any of those baseballs. Plus she was 500 kilometers away. It wasn't convenient enough for me, and for the past two years in Japan I memorized all the Dead Kennedys songs from their album: Give me Convenience Or Give Me Death.

Now... I'm not saying that Kristine was better for me than Noboko. She wasn't. Or maybe she was. Or even if she wanted to ever have me as a boyfriend. It's just that I didn't think I was good enough for Kristine, who already knew what she wanted to do when she left Japan.

It's not her, it was me. How paraphrased cliche.

She never mentioned me or any guy or relationships (though she did scream out after I hugged her at a teacher's conference that that was the first male contact she had had in six months - we had only been in Japan for three months, so I guess she forgot about that other hug we had shared that second night in Japan - she just talked about more school. Who the hell am I to interfere in someone's grand plans for life?

Now... I just had to figure out a way to trick Noboko into telling her father we are a couple.

The irony, at that time, escaped me.

Anyhow, I briefly chatted with Kristine, but begged off the phone with the old 'my stomach is twitching' excuse - something Kristine saw first hand that ONE TIME she came 500 kilometers east to stay at my apartment. I was sick with some damn stomach bug! She was nice enough to get me some medicine, though.

That was the only time we payed doctor, as her kindness helped nurse me back to health. I finally felt better, but unfortunately, Kristine had left for the west one day earlier.

I think all I ever got from Kristine was a hug... though I may have kissed her on the forehead once, the cheek another time... and never worked up the nerve to kiss her on the lips.

I was pretty gross when Kristine came to visit. Washroom non-stop. Wayta make a good impression, eh?

I guess fate had other plans for me as my dogma was run over by karma, but then Noboko popped into my life.

Ring-ring.

"Moshi-Moshi, baby?" I purred in a question.

She laughed and then swore or chided me in very quick, but soft Japanese.

At least I was right this time and 'baby-ed' the right woman.

"So... your mom knows all about us? Is that a good thing or a bad thing?" I ask.

"She likes you."

Whoa... I think I just got the sign to steal second base.

"Has she told your dad?" I ask checking the signs from the dugout.

More muttering in Japanese. I really should try and learn this language in the next few weeks I have left in Japan. After all, I do have the rest of my life to use it.

I think I heard her mutter the word "bakayaro (stupid idiot)", so I'm guessing her answer was "no".

"Can you get your mom to tell him for you? Surely you being happy is what matters most to your father?"

As soon as I said that, I realized I was soooo bloody naive about Japan and its social customs and culture.

Her father might not think there's anything wrong with his daughter dating or marrying a gaijin... but others might, and that would affect him in his work position, which for a man in Japan apparently means a lot.

In Japan, you have a family at home, plus you have a family at work. Work pays better. Plus you spend more time with your work family. You do have a work wife, don't you? (I think I'm the work wife in my day job, however.)

There was more muttering and something about something else followed by muttering that sounded a lot like the something else that was said just before the last bit of muttering. Or it was something else.

Really... tomorrow... I start studying the Japanese language. Swear to Buddha.

"Okay, okay, I'm sorry," I mutter, even though I don't know exactly what I am apologizing for, just that it is required. When women mutter, there`s something wrong. All men know or should know that.

"Apology accepted," she quickly says, adding, "My mother said I should invite you for dinner. She must really like you."

"No... I think she just really loves you."

More muttering. What is with all the Japanese tonight? She must be nervous.

"When?" I ask.

"Two days from now - Saturday."

"Are you coming over after work tomorrow."

"Of course. But we can't do anything," she hints.

"Why not?" I mutter, hoping my inability to do simple math is correct. I may be the only person of Indian extraction to be incapable of doing math, driving a taxi or working at a convenience store. I told you I do not fit any preconceived stereotype. Except maybe that of a foreigner panting over a Japanese woman.

"Cramps," she finally says, waiting for me to finish that inner dialogue.

Oh crap.... when Noboko gets her menstrual cycle, she is in real pain. It doubles her up causing her to grab her self - which looks funny, but she looks like someone just got kicked in the gut. She's not a bear about it, it just beats her up.

I know she's not a wimp about that. She's only a wimp when it comes to dealing her father.

"No problem," I spit out trying to change the subject. "Do you want to rent a movie or something?"

"Or something. Good night. I love you."

"I love you, too, Noboko."

Hmm... or something. That was cryptic. But we all know there are still many ways to do something even though there's that whole bleeding thing. But it depends on how bad the cramps are, obviously.

So... tonight's at bat... It wasn't a home run, but at least it was a sacrifice fly that advanced the runner to second base. I didn't need to steal. Sometimes the runner gets a little help from the batter.

We'll just have to see if there's going to be a sacrifice bunt by the end of Saturday night.

Somewhere shaking the dirt from under my pants (Ya still gotta slide on a close play!),
Andrew Joseph

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