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Friday, May 22, 2015

Noboko And Andrew: And Colin Makes Three

After what I perceived to be a successful night of fun and revelry over at Noboko's parent's house bonding with my prospective father-in-law over rice wine, beer, whiskey and singing… not me, man, I don't know the words… I have the spins back at Colin's apartment in Kuroiso.

It's fine… I'm drunk, but I'm never out of control.

I'm beaver out of control. Well, almost never, to be fair, as there was a couple of times here in Japan that I've been so drunk I've puked my lungs out and acted like an ass.

Twice from imbedding Flaming Blue Lamborghini's procured at the 4C bar in my hometown of Ohtawara-shi, Tochigi-ken, and the other during some drunken revelry with other AETs (assistant English teachers) in Kobe, I think, where I awoke in a taxidermy diorama of a forest scene complete with a deer standing atop me… somehow I broke in… I recall trying to get in, but not actually getting in or what I was doing while I was in there… I hope I didn't defile Bambi. No, there was no female AET named Bambi. Unfortunately.

This past evening with Noboko and her parents was really just an evening with her dad.

The plan was to imprint myself upon his psyche... to let him know I would be a good husband for his beautiful daughter.

Usually in Japanese parties, things that are said or promised, are taken care of. Conversely, things that are insulting or stupid are ignored, chalked up to poor drunken revelry.

It's because I am not sick from foreign karma and am not passed out under a forest dweller, that I am sure I didn't say or do anything stupid.

I simply drank a lot of booze.

The Japanese always referred to me as a 'hebi durinka (heavy drinker)' because I could drink more than anyone else at any given party and not fall over with red booze-soaked skin, and always seem peppy and smiley the next morning with nary a hangover.

Never had a hangover…  for people who saw me in the morning… smiling… it certainly helped spread in Japan the legend that is me. Ha! Of all the things to be famous for, eh? Although… since I didn't do anything stupid while drunk, the legend fades quickly.

I'm up the next morning at 8AM, because I hear Colin quietly moving around… he's hardly a lithe cat… so I grab a shower, drinking most of the water coming out of the showerhead, and have a bowl of Corn Flakes with him.

"You were snoring pretty loudly last night," he says.


"How the hell do you ever have any woman spend a night with you when you snore like that?"

"What, like a jet plane with asthma? The key is to not go to sleep. Ba-dum-bum."

Yes, I have sleep apnea, and do now wear a C-Pap machine… if you stop breathing at night, get a sleep test and please do not be afraid to get this machine. I get six hours or less of sleep a night and I do not feel tired and I don't even yawn.

"So," begins Colin, "everything seems to have gone well last night…"

"Yeah…  I was sitting beside him - we had our arms around each other while we… oh god… I think we sang Love Me Tender (Elvis) together."

I don't know the words, except for the first two lines…. so what the hell was I singing along to… 

"What time is it… let's see… 9-ish… is it too early to call Noboko?" I ask not wanting to hear any answer except 'go ahead'.

"It's Japan… it's never too early or too late to call anyone on the phone."

I call up Noboko… I let it ring the requisite 27 times per Japanese custom before assuming they can't hear it, and let it ring an additional 20 times - counting in my head) before hanging up…

As I am about to replace the receiver on the handset…



"Moshi-moshi, yourself, beautiful. Kyo-wa, o-genki desu-ka? (How are you today?)"

"Genki… How are you?"

"Genki-desu. "

"Really? You drank a lot."

"I've had more," I say, not quite bragging. "How's things with you dad? Is he still alive?"


When she laughs, lines around her eyes scrunch up. I can almost hear it over the phone wires…

"He really likes you, you know."

"I know. I mean… I know now. He said he liked me."

"No… he has always liked you," Noboko explains. "He has said you are a funny, handsome man."

"Not smart, huh?"

"No. (giggle)."

Despite picturing her giggling into a hand, I know she's not kidding.

Until people get to know me better, they assume the comedian in me isn't smart… and perhaps I'm not as book smart as some people, though I function better in any situation than most people. Pick a situation, I'll work well within it. I'll learn. I'll adapt. I'll do it quickly.

It's why my time in Japan was less problematic for me than for others.

You'll have noticed a theme for me in Japan (and outside)… I'm only ever screwed up over women. Everything else… it's a piece of key lime pie.

"Did he say anything about you and me?"

"No… and even if he did, I wouldn't pay any attention to it because he was very drunk."

The me of 2015 realizes that that sounds like he did say something. I have no idea if 1993 me knew that or if he chose to ignore it. Why ruin the moment? Why poke the bear? Why ask why?

Perhaps he didn't say anything and I'm misinterpreting her English translation.

Sometimes  I think that despite all of my bravado, it might merely be false… and that I am still that very same shy little boy… afraid to find out the truth.

"Shall I come over and we can go for a drive? Does Colin want to join us?"

I don't want Colin to join us, because I'm selfish (and honest), but I owe Colin big time for letting me crash at his place here in Kuroiso (Noboko's hometown).

"Hey Colin, Noboko wants to know if you want to join us on a car ride somewhere?"

He looks at me funny… like he knows that he would be a spare wheel…

"It's cool, buddy. Let's go for a drive… I'll buy us lunch… we can just chill…"

He shrugs his shoulders "Sure."

Bastard. But I'm glad he's joined us. No I'm not. Yes… I am.

So… it's another four or five hours of casual, lighthearted fun as Noboko and Colin team up to give me the gears (razz me), as he-wonders-why-she-is-with-me, and she-also-wonders-the-same type of stuff… 

A guy could get an inferiority complex if I didn't have a large ego.

Of course… Japan and ego's…  it has a way of taking you down.

We go to a nice restaurant - allowing me a chance to buy Colin a nice meal… it's actually near his place, and we notice a couple of nice bars nearby… so maybe Colin and I can go there one evening…

We hang out in a park, walking around the trees and hills… Colin and Noboko love it, but admittedly I'm a firm believer that man has advanced for a reason… to live in luxury with a bowl of pork rinds and a Coke while planted on a soft, comfy couch watching a baseball game on TV while reading a comic book. Nature can suck it. I have no desire to 'rough it' while 'getting back to nature'.

Oh yeah.. Noboko should be there too with the pork rinds… sans clothes, doing things unasked for but appreciated.

I like to multi-task.

By the time it's 3PM, Noboko announces it's time for her to head back home and she drives us back…

Nothing more was mentioned about us. Nothing bad, certainly, but also nothing good.

I might not show it, but the lack of progress stresses me out like you wouldn't believe.

I'm a patient guy… and was even asked to be patient by Noboko a few months ago to allow her to figure out what she was going to do about us.

So patient I think I need a doctor… no, a nurse,
Andrew Joseph 


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