Search This Blog & Get A Rife

Friday, April 17, 2015

Noboko & Andrew: Tatami Burns

It's Wednesday September 5, 1993…

I had just completed my three-year tour of duty (he said 'doodie') in Japan serving myself mostly as a junior high school AET (assistant English teacher) in the rural city of Ohtawara-shi, Tochigi-ken.

And yet, one month later, I am back in Japan.

When I left Japan this last July, I left behind a very good woman.

The 2015 me knows just how difficult they are to find—certainly one attuned to yourself—but the 1993-me just knew he was madly in love with Noboko, and would travel halfway 'round the globe to be with her again.

Depending on Noboko, I was prepared to make arrangements to find work in Japan and spend the rest of my life here to be with her.

A best case scenario has us getting married and living and working in Toronto, where I am mostly from…. born in England of parents from India… I'm Canadian, but some people never see things the way I do. Whatever.

Worst case? She tells me she doesn't love me and is not going to be with me because that very notion upsets her father's plan for future job promotion.

The later option is a very real possibility considering Noboko's father doesn't want his daughter to marry or even date a gaijin (foreigner) because the stigma could very well prove to his co-workers or bosses that he is a lousy father.

Of course he's a lousy father!

How the fug can you tell your daughter who NOT to marry!

I'm a good man. I treat Noboko with respect… my equal… we make each other laugh and feel good.

I feel sorry for those who don't have that. I really do.

Regular readers will know that because Noboko is past the age of 25 and still unmarried, besides being considered an old-maid by Japanese standards, her unmarried status is also supposed to bring shame to her parents, implying they did not raise the child up properly.

Compounding it further… prior to turning 25, Noboko was engaged to a Japanese boy. She broke it off with him…

Can you imagine her father's co-workers and bosses?

"Holy crap! His daughter broke off an engagement! She is too headstrong. The father must be useless at his job. Let us shun him in annoyance at making him make the entire educational system of Japan look weak and ineffectual."

I only partially believe that above statement to be true. But that part implies that it is MOSTLY true. 

As well, Noboko's ex… I only assume he was a boy… I was 25 and still a boy… it's only now as I near my 29th (in 1993), that I can say with all honesty that I am a man.

It's not just about having sex, either… it's about responsibility… about being there for yourself and for others… but really, it's about doing what you need to do to ensure this effing world doesn't swallow you up and crap you out.

Do you know what my plan is now that I am back in Japan?

Neither do I.

Before I arrived in Japan three years ago, I was a virgin and only had one girlfriend for longer than a month.

Screwing 30 different women and "dating" 20 more while having and not cheating on a girlfriend of 12 months, and Noboko since April… I crammed in a lot of cramming in 18 months. Junko. 17 months.

But that doesn't mean I know anything about women.

It means I know how to attract a lot of 'interesting' women. Is that polite enough?

Noboko, with her fierceness to buck convention is what I found intriguing.

Well…  actually… initially it was something cosmic… I saw her, my heart went boom, and then I had to try and convince her I wasn't an a$$hole… easier said than done.

If only I could have kissed her upon seeing her… I could have saved so much time trying to win her. I'm an okay kisser. I say okay, because if I said any thing more appropriate, people would say I have a huge ego. I only think I do. In reality, I don't.

So… Wednesday, September 5… Kuroiso-shi, Tochigi-ken… staying at the small apartment of Colin McKay, a senior high school AET on the JET (Japan Exchange & Teaching) Programme… I'm here for the next few weeks.

"Is Noboko coming over today?" he asks.

"M-hmm," I smirk.

"She's really beautiful," he begins politely. "Is she retarded or something? I mean what's wrong with her? Why is she dating you?"

"Brother," I begin, "I have no effin' idea why she is with me.
"Did you hear her English—perfect.
"How 'bout those legs—perfect.
"And she has a perfect little round a$$."

All Colin can do is say: "Fawwwwwwwwk", grab his backpack and mumble to himself as he walks out the front door of his apartment. I know there's a Japanese teacher he likes, but when he has tried to make his intentions known, it seems to get lost in translation.

Seconds later… so soon after he left that I would have assumed they bumped into each other on the stairs, Noboko rings the door bell.

I let her in, and she does the same.

Have you ever been in love?

It's an impossible feeling to really describe that actually pays the proper amount of respect to the feeling… you just know.

Your brain explodes, things get leaky, the world feels right… it even smells right.

When we finish, it's nearly 10AM and I've got tatami mat burns on my knees. I hate eflfin' Japanese floors and futon beds!

We shower together which causes more problems with timing, but we eventually dress—can't stop touching her—and get into her car.

"Where to today, beautiful?"

"Badminton. Can you play?"

Can I play badminton? No, it's not my brain asking my body if I can, rather to me it's a silly question.

Unless one is playing competitive badminton—and those people are awesome—everyone can play badminton. Just not as well as the professionals… sorry, amateurs in the Olympics et al.

"Sure I can play! Can you?" I challenge.

"We'll see," she says and then mutters to the ether a bunch of Japanese phrases that probably wouldn't be fit to print even if I knew what the hell she was saying.

Noboko reverts to Japanese whenever she wants to swear under her breath at me.

I guess. Like I said, I have no idea what she is saying. I always figured that if she did want me to know, she'd say it in English. 

In my next blog—Rackets with Rackets

Somewhere feeling sorry for myself,
Andrew Joseph

No comments:

Post a Comment