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Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Noboko And Andrew - You Know This Really Happened, Right?

Just in case some of you are unaware… this isn't a short story I am making up.

Everything written here happened to me while I was in Japan.

I know it seems fantastic that such weird and wonderful things seem to happen to me all the time, but I have always called myself a 'weirdness magnet'.

I really am a nice guy. I really was a virgin until I went to Japan at the age of 25 in 1990 on the JET (Japan Exchange & Teaching) Programme. Do you think I'd make something like that up? I really did teach junior high school English as an assistant English teacher. I really did get drunk a lot. I really did not ever get a hangover. I really did true everything thrown at me in Japan. I really was a journalist. I really didn't want to go to Japan. I really did have weird and wonderful girlfriends.

It's all real, ladies and gentlemen.

I will offer a mea culpa, however… although I kept daily diaries of things, events and people, I admit that I will add some color to my blogs. Yes, I write it like a novel, but trust me, would you want to read every conversational fragment as 'he said' and 'she said'?

I wouldn't, and assume you have enough taste to not want that either.

When it comes to actual conversations, early on in my initial three-year stay in Ohtawara-shi, Japan, stay I wrote down everything of consequence. In the later days with Noboko, she was with me daily, and as such because I knew I was going to marry her, I didn't feel the need (or have the time) to write down each conversational fragment.

However…in writing this out for you all, and thus being forced to recall each day or event involving Noboko in those days, achieving near-total recall has been extremely easy for me. My brain allows me to time-travel quite easily and find those smells, tastes and even conversational fragments that reveal a particular day's events.

It's my luck. It's my curse.

Curse? What's wrong with recalling the past with picture perfect accuracy?

Well, I tend to hold onto things - good and bad… and it's the bad stuff that sullies my opinion on many a person and thing… I can't forgive or forget… but there but for the grace of God go I, y'know…

We all have our own green kryptonite. (Yeah, there are different colors of kryptonite - each having a different effect on Superman and others around him… and I'm no Superman... more of a Donald Duck, actually.)

So - back to Noboko and Andrew - the true story… it's Thursday, September 9, 1993, and I'm in Japan for a couple of weeks to resolve my relationship issue with Noboko. My contract with JET had run out at the end of July, and at the time, three years was all anyone could do... so I was forced to leave Japan, and to leave Noboko.

We're at the part of the story where the next few days are similar… she'd come over to Colin's house where I was staying, Colin would go to school to teach, home alone, Noboko and I would have sex in the morning, go out for a walk or a drive, grab some lunch, talk about everything and nothing… we're just two young people in love and enjoying the moment.

We both want the moment to last, however, but Noboko basically has to decide which love is more important.

Ai or Koi.

Ai is the love of one's family and friends and objects even, while koi is the love of your life…

We know we are each other's 'koi', but there's this stubborn tenacity built or beat in to every Japanese person… to preserve the family unit… in this case to capitulate to her father's will to not marry or date me, a gaijin, because it will destroy or hurt his work promotion possibilities within the Tochigi-ken educational system. Yeah... Fug him! I still feel the hate for him as I type this out knowing what he put Noboko through in 1993.

For my entire life I have always felt that I have never been in control of my destiny.

And here I am with a woman who wants to marry me and whom I want to marry… and I am again not in control.

Then again... I never really met anyone who did have Destiny by the nuts...

Every time Noboko opens her mouth to say something to me, my heart skips a beat… and now, no longer in a good way… I am awaiting her decision… one that might not come at this juncture, but even then, without a decision the decision is made.

That would be sooooo effing Japanese.

So yeah, we'll skip the superfluous stuff and head to another showdown… another dinner at daddy's house.

Andrew Joseph


  1. Don't sweat it. These are autobiographical entries. It's not like you are expected to be completely accurate or entirely truthful.

    1. Cheers, Pat. Sometimes I wonder how much my memory of things blunts the truth... But I do TRY to be truthful... Accurate? Ugh... I freely admit that sometimes things flew over my immature head regardless of Japanese or English spoken.
      Looking back at things with a mature eye also colors things... usually for the worse.
      Thanks for feedback, Pat!