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Saturday, March 14, 2015

Noboko And Andrew: 9.5 On The Richter Scale

Writer's Block Party.

An admission. I really screwed up the dates here.

First of, the party thrown by the Ohtawara Board of Education for my good-bye... that was not held on the Tuesday... it was actually held a few days later on Friday, July 16, 1993.

In fact, I think, the party that was held for me on the Tuesday, was actually a good-bye party concocted by the Ohtawara International Friendship Association. That will appear here tomorrow... but here's what happened just before that.

So... dumb stuff out of the way... here we go. 



We didn't sleep much that night… which, while extremely fun, was extremely stupid because I was supposed to attend a party this evening—Tuesday, July 13, 1993—sponsored by the Ohtawara International Friendship Association.

No big deal for Noboko, because she wasn't part of that group, having her own international friendship association with me.

At around 6AM, I went in to have a shower. Noboko tried to join me, but I stupidly told her I needed a break.

Guys… never refuse sex when a woman you love offers it. It didn't cause any trauma between us, but it was just another hour lost of not touching each other.

When I got out of the shower, the tiny Noboko had a towel wrapped around herself as she got into the shower.

A towel? Now she's shy?

But, at least by covering up she helped diffuse some of the sexual tension I would have otherwise have felt (up).

Here's where we start the unnecessary flashback: 

Noboko was my girlfriend, and the only ones who knew it were my closest friends, her parents, and a few of her students who caught us on a date on Saturday afternoon in Utsunomiya, the Tochigi-ken capital.... but since we caught them being out in the big city when they weren't supposed to, we hoped that blackmail, or as I call it - brownmale - would suffice to keep things status quo.

The relationship is supposed to be a secret...

She was a JTE over at Nozaki Chu Gakko (Nozaki Junior High School) where I first saw her a few months ago and asked another matronly JTE:

"Who the heck is that?"

Mrs Nagashima (Nagashima-sensei, the head English teacher at Nozaki) responded: "Oh… that MISS Kikuchi. She's our new English teacher that you will be working with. Shall I introduce you?"

Mrs. Nagashima did not have perfect pronunciation of English, but she was extremely polite and knew her English better than I did, and had no problem with me panting at her new English teacher. She really did emphasize the word "MISS" just for me. Her willingness to pimp her new teacher to me was something my mother would have done (and did do, which was what started me off on my journey to Japan, in fact).

"Kikuchi-sensei, this is An-do-ryu-sensei."

I did the whole bowing deep thing and told her how happy I was to have met her and that I hoped she would look after me.

She, probably used to being hit on by every Tom, Dick and Suzuki-san, gave me a very slight bow—like she was my superior, or at the least, i (lowercase) was her inferior—and said she was busy and would be ready to take me up for our second-period class when the time drew near.

I didn't care. The first time I saw her, something inside me told me that I had to get over my shyness immediately. She was gorgeous... and her hair... what was that scent? Apple blossoms?

I went back to my desk, waited until the announcements were over and Mrs. Nagashima had gone to teach a class (beats me why I wasn't invited, but thank goodness).

I was in the far corner of the teacher's lounge—right near the entranceway and about as far away from the principal and vice-principal as one could get (showing my level of importance in the grand hierarchy of things). I did, however, face the outside window, which allowed me to face Noboko, who was head down in some very important work.

The sun streaming through the window behind her hit Noboko's hair and gave it a halo effect that forced me to finally breathe in a gasp. 

An angel. A scowling angel. A scowling angel whom I think already hates my guts for some unknown reason.

Even in 1993… I am a writer, and writer's write. So I wrote her a haiku.

I don't know why, I just do. It takes me seconds to do, which could imply that it's a piece of crap, or its brilliant.

In 2015, I can't think of another three lines I have written before or since that are as good as this:

Her beautiful eyes
Seem to hypnotize my soul
Capturing my heart

Even my handwriting was neat, which was weird, come to think of it… my handwriting is like something barfed up by the reluctant offspring of a medical doctor and a chicken with hooves.

I got up and took my paper and ink creation over to her.

"Kikuchi-sensei… here… this is for you."

She looked up at me—still scowling—and then looked down at my haiku—my Beethoven-like Ode to Joy... or my Naked Lunch... my love haiku inspired by her magical eyes—and she grunts, "Nice. Here you go." and hands it back to me.

"No," I interrupt not accepting her gift, "I wrote that for you." I bowed, turned and walked back to my desk and sat down, giving her a smile… but she had already gone back to whatever it was that she was scowling at.

Although... this time... I would swear her scowl had a bit of puzzlement in it.

The photo at the top was taken by Nagashima-sensei that very first day in the front of Nozaki Chu Gakko.

As you can see from Noboko's uncomfortable body language and less than appetizing smile, she had NOoooooo interest whatsoever in dating me, let alone being near me for some reason... though perhaps it had something to do with the fact that some strange gaijin guy had his arm around her shoulder gently squeezing the shoulder pad in her top. In previous blogs I did explain the main 'why'. The arm-around-the-shoulder thing... it felt right for me, so what the hell, eh? I hate shoulder pads and am personally glad that that fashion faux pas never made it in to the 21st Century - yet.

Noboko would be the first woman I ever wrote anything for. The first woman I asked out in Japan. And, the best reason I can think of to come back to Japan.

I still can't believe my contract is almost up... that three years have come and gone so damn quickly.

We each go our separate way in the morning—she, still peeking through the door eyehole to make sure no one is outside so she can sneak out without drawing attention to herself.

How naive.

That woman is always going to draw attention to herself.

Without giving too much of the man code away to the women, it doesn't matter how engrossed a man is in something, but when a woman walks by, without evening looking, he knows if he should look or not.

With Noboko, damn near every man out there would have been forced to look by that subconscious animistic evolutionary somethin'-somethin' we possess.

It's caveman, man. The first time I saw her, I wanted to smash her over the head with a wooden club, anthropologically-speaking, of course. Mankind will continue.

Basically, no matter how much she tries to sneak, people notice her without even seeing her. It might be that damn apple blossom shampoo scent in her hair. Every guy is going to NEED to sneak a peek.

As she leaves, I go to my balcony and sidestep a spider not yet aware that the day has dawned and it should be back up on the roof… and watch her shimmy into her red toy car.

She never faces me, but still puts a bare arm out the lowered right window and waves to no one except me. She knows I can't take my eyes off of her.

I'd swear I can see her looking at me from her driver's side mirror, too. Smiling.

I never, ever show a toothy grin, but I do this time and mutter to myself:

"I'm going to marry that woman."
Andrew Joseph

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