It's Friday, November 29, 1991. I'm a junior high school assistant English teacher on the JET (Japan Exchange & Teaching) Programme living in Ohtawara-shi, Tochigi-ken, Japan.
before arriving here from Toronto back in late July 1990, I was nearly 26 years old and a virgin... but within a day of arriving here, me - the man who seemed like Kryptonite to women first met Kristine who actually like me, and then the next day, Ashley who actually slept with me - though there was not much sleeping involved as it was around 4:45PM when we started. And before you start with the snide jokes, I lasted close to an hour for my first time, as I knew I had to picture something horrible while not concentrating on this amazing spectacle with Ashley.
So... it sounds like this is all ego blow, and to a certain extent it is, but I did wait longer than most readers here, and well, the following - it's not ego blow. It just blows my ego.
Ashley and I had broken up earlier this year - and in fact have been friends-with-benefits longer than we were actually boyfriend-girlfriend. I have certainly taken advantage of that fact, but I don't believe Ash has. Still, whenever she is lonely for physicality, she keeps coming back to a guy she trusts, whom she knows still loves her.
She isn't incorrect. I, who have slept with far more beautiful women than Ashley, still carry a torch for her. I don't know why. I just do. But she does often drive me crazy, which is why I am constantly sleeping with other women - to get her out of my head. It works for hours at a time. (I got stronger.)
Regardless... yesterday was US Thanksgiving and last week she had agreed to come over today so I could help celebrate with her.
She's been feeling lonely and homesick, and I've been trying to get over her, but I think when she smelled the sex of another woman all over myself and my apartment, I think a part of her died or at the very least realized I was probably over her.
She tried many a time to get me to spend the night, but I refused. Prior to this, she would start things over at my place and then get tired... it always ticked me off as I was unable to get off, and may have been why I was getting over her.
Just not today.
I wanted to show her a good time. I wanted to show her that there was no other man on this planet who would do what I am going to do for her. I wanted her to know she and I should be together. I wanted... ahhh, let's get on with the story.
Office work first at the OBOE (Ohtawara Board of Education) office where I spend my Fridays. First I stop of at the post office and mail my Christmas presents home for ¥7000. Then Kanemaru-san, one of my bosses, takes me to City Hall so I can pay may City Tax I apparently owe. Then my other boss, Hanazaki-san, asks me what the office can do for me - so I tell him I want an A/C unit. He says he will think about it. Hmmm. No sucking of air through the teeth, so I think it's as good as mine. I tell him the OBOE still owes me some money for a trip to Nikko. We then go to Wakakusa Junior High School so I can meet Tomura-sensei so he can translate a survey for me about foreigner relations in Japan. Uh... number one, it should have been in any other language but Japanese. Afterwards, we go and pick up my bicycle from one of the hundreds of bicycle repair shop in the bicycle repair shop district of Ohtawara. I got my light fixed, spokes tightened and wheel re-aligned. They wanted to charge me ¥200 (~Cdn/US $2.60). I gave him ¥500 (~Cdn/US $6.50) and said he was too kind but just because I am a foreigner, I didn't want to take advantage of him. It was translated and we all celebrated with a couple of beers and some snacks... there goes his profit! I also go back to the OBOE office and three It's A Wonderful Rife columns at the office - they are either the best I have ever done, or they suck. Such is the power of booze. Oh, and then we do something cool.
Hanazaki-san, knowing I wanted to do something special for Ashley, had a week ago arranged with a restaurant in Yaita-shi to do something special for me. I had asked him previously where I could get a turkey... and he searched high and low and discovered you couldn't get a turkey in our city... but he kept on a-looking because he never wanted to disappoint me. That's respect for me as a friend. I have no way of repaying his friendship except by being his friend.
We ordered in a turkey from some other place in Japan. The restaurant cooked it. Did some sweet potatoes (yams), cranberry sauce, stuffing, carrots, mashed potatoes and gravy. They cooked it all for Hanazaki-san. For me. For Ashley. They wrapped it up. All I had to do was pick-it up and pay for it.
Expecting a gaijin (foreigner) discount, I was only a little surprised when the price quoted to me was actually what I had to pay: ¥40,000 (~Cdn/US $520). A pittance, if it got me back my girlfriend.
Hanzaki-san, good friend and boss that he is, did not grumble at the audacity of his charge (me) wanting to drive to another city just so he could get some food to help him get laid. In fact, he was quite happy to do this huge favor for me, chatting that he hoped everything would go well tonight.
You see, except for Ashley, everyone in this city knew we were dating. Even her bosses, as they wee great friends my my bosses - and I really disliked telling lies since I turned 18. before that - whoo. I was a good one. Great even. A legend in my own mind.
Anyhow, Hanazaki-san drove me back to my apartment and helped me carry my Thanksgiving dinner up to my third-floor apartment. He even said screw convention and kept his Japanese outside shoes on while trying to heft the huge meal with me into the place.
Bidding me good bye, good luck, and smiling as he slapped me about the shoulders like my father, I got everything ready... microwaving some things and heating others up in the oven - awaiting the arrival of Ashley, who has never failed to show up at my apartment on a Friday night since we first met.
By 6:30PM, there's no Ashley. She has always been here by 5:30PM at the latest.
I call. No answer at her place.
I call again at 6:45PM. No answer.
I put stuff away so it doesn't spoil...
I race to the door!
It's... Matthew. You know... any other time I would have been so happy to see him... but he's not who I expect or want to see right now (it's also why I posted that photo of us prior to this blog - so he knows I mean no ill will here).
Still... I pull out my left-over lasagne (don't tell him about the turkey - sorry, brother!). He has some beer. We cook and we eat. He leaves at 8:30PM.
Seconds later, I call Ashley's place. Nothing. I even let it ring 20 times pretending to be Japanese, but nothing. (There was no call display back in those days, folks.)
I call every 10 minutes until 11PM. I am worried sick. Or perhaps it was the four beers I drank after Matthew left.
I'm worried. Jealous. Pissed. And pissed off.
Seems like the perfect time to get on my bicycle and ride the route between my place and Ashley's 25 minutes away that has a lot of rice fields someone could fall in. Crap. She could be hurt! I have to check!
Riding and loudly calling her name, I make it to her place at midnight. I ring the doorbell. Nothing.
I then look at the bicycle rack. My bike is there. Maybe she's with me?
Wow. How drunk am I now?
No... her bicycle isn't there. Cripes! Now I am frantic! Did I miss her? Is she dead in a rice paddy?
I ride back calling more frantically and loudly, but hear only frogs croaking.
Back home... it's just after midnight. Where is she? Did she go off an do something without telling me? After saying she would come over?
People - Ashley better be dead and lying in a rice paddy because I now have every single dark thought my evil little brain can come up with going through it at a million miles per hour. I'm not mentally ill. Just quick at processing a situation. The irony of that sentence has not escaped me.
I am suck an effin' dweeb!
I sit down and stare at the fridge door I have just opened.
How could I have done all of this for someone who has her own vagenda (agenda with a 'v")? She probably went out with some girlfriends or with some other guy. Screw that noise! Why can't I find a woman who simply likes me without wanting the world from me, but for whom I would gladly give the world?
Why must I always put myself in these stupid situations? Women who want as much as they can grab from me, but offer very little in return... at least very little that actually matters to me. You regular readers will know what I mean.
The telephone rings.
I run over to it and trip on a chair landing with a loud thud that probably woke the whole building!
I crawl to the telephone on my hands and knees, pick it up and breathlessly ask "Hello?
It's Kristine. The only woman I know for whom I would gladly kill a yak for her supper if she wanted one. I have used that line before in these blogs - but dammit, it is so true.
We chat and flirt and flirt some more while we continue to flirt.
With the 30-foot telephone cord stretched to breaking, I walk over to the fridge and close it.
Kristine and I continue to chat and flirt and flirt some more while chatting about flirting. My mood lightens considerably.
Somewhere wondering who the real turkey is,
Good Grief! I almost forgot! The image above is by Charles Schultz who drew the great Peanuts comic strip starring that good man,
Today's blog is powerfully crammed down my throat by the immortal Aretha Franklin: