The J-Factor

During my first months in Japan, I met Tomomi. She was cute, like most of the girls here. But, unlike most, she had great breast. I was never a breast man in the US, but here, they’re something of a novelty. And, to make sure everyone knew she was special, she wore low-cut sweaters and liked to lean over the table when you had a “man-to-man” lesson with her. The only things you couldn’t see were the nipples. Tomomi also had this unusual, apparently unconscious habit of crossing her arms and cupping her breast when she concentrated.

Needless to say, I liked teaching Tomomi.

In the teacher’s office, we often swapped students. According to the rules we weren’t supposed to, but everybody had a type of student or a particular student they didn’t want anything to do with. So, we’d make trades. “Dude, I’d take Satomi off your hands if you take Yoshi. He fucking makes me want to put my head through the wall.” “Oh, Fuck! I got Yoko again! Please, teach her for me! I’ll buy you lunch!” “Damn! A junior’s kid class! And that little fuck Hideaki is here, isn’t he? You know, he shoved his fingers in my ass again last week…I was this close to getting deported!” My nemeses were kids- any and all kids. It’s not that I don’t like kids. It’s just that, well, they are difficult to control at times and, with the language barrier, impossible to verbally discipline effectively. Unfortunately, it was also against the rules to pop them upside the head or put your foot in their asses when they got out of line. Fortunately, my boy, Andrew, didn’t mind kids. They got a kick out of his crazy ass and he got to practice his Japanese. So he was usually more than happy to swap. Rarely did anyone swap because they wanted to teach a student, unless it was crystal clear that it was not out of sexual interest. The day’s teaching schedule was a mystery until your arrival at work the day of, so this kind of bantering and bartering was part of the daily routine.

When I arrive, the first thing I do is scan the schedule, hoping for an un-booked lesson which meant free time, or at least some eye-candy to teach. When I saw I was to have a man-to-man lesson with Tomomi, I thought, today I’m going to break the rules and give her my email address. Breaking this rule was dangerous. Of course, the penalty was a possible discharge, so you had to be very careful and selective. You were risking your livelihood on this student. Most teachers never did it, under any circumstances. Some, only if it was a sure thing, like if the student asked for it. Then, there were the guys like me who threw caution to the wind, say “fuck it!” and went for it. After all, you had to trust that the student was also interested in this kind of breach of the student-teacher relationship.

Some of the students, indeed, were there only to study English, and a rendezvous with a teacher after hours was the furthest thing from their minds. Unfortunately, usually, there was no way to absolutely ascertain if a student was there strictly for study or open to a little extra-curricular activity. That student sitting across from you with a look in her eyes and a smile on her face that, in the US, would mean, “you are the most exciting person I’ve ever met in my entire life…I want you to fuck me, hard, here, now!” or, “This shy routine is just a cover for the unbridled, uninhibited freak I am all night, every night…and I’m all yours!” could actually be thinking about her TOEIC exam next week and whether or not her score will improve as a result of the $3000 she’d invested in this school, or imagining how embarrassed or useless she would be living in a country like the US where all the girls have huge breast and big mouths and aren’t afraid to speak their minds, the expression on her face signifying nothing. In fact, many of the students have some variation of that smile. There’s also the “I’ve never been fucked by a foreigner before, but you look like you’d be a great subject for my sexual experimentation,” and the “Sure, I’m a high school student, but I’d love to show my friends my cool ass foreign boyfriend and you certainly fit the bill, in spades!” and the “I’d do just about anything to score high on my TOEIC exam and, like you, speak English fluently. Anything!” This smile is standard, especially in customer service. You go to the convenience store, the cleaners, the bank, everywhere, and you see these various smiles. High school girls, Co-eds, office ladies, housewives, even some of the older ones…they all have a look. I used to think it was just the result of living in a new environment. I was unaccustomed to seeing Asian faces outside of a Chinese Restaurant, Fruit Market, Nail Salon or Liquor Store. Back in Bedford-Stuyvesant, those were the only places where Asians were seen. Or they were so “American” in behavior and personality that, aside from the eyes, you couldn’t distinguish them from any other “American.” So, I figured that, in time, I would grow accustomed to this look and my daily lust would cease and desist.

Well, it’s been a couple of years and I can say this…I know it doesn’t necessarily mean they want to fuck me, but my libido is a little slow on the uptake.

Tomomi arrived at the school 20 minutes before her class and paraded her pair around the waiting area. She was wearing a mini-skirt that would make a homosexual reconsider his preference. She walked with that pigeon-toed, knock-kneed sashay that is popular with the high school girls, college co-eds and hostesses. It’s kind of awkward and clumsy looking, conveys drunkenness or helplessness, but I think that’s the point; and, somehow, it works! Maybe Japanese guys see a beautiful girl stumbling around and they yearn to support her, to be someone she can lean on, depend on. Maybe, it’s like the Japanese equivalent of the old European chivalry thing; girls dropping their handkerchiefs, and that kind of foolishness. Anyway, when she noticed me, she stumbled a bit on her heels, and gave me a smile that would put a dent, from the inside out, in any knight’s armor.

When the bell rang, I strode into the class, and there they were.
“What’s up?” I said, since she was alone and we had dropped the formalities weeks ago.
“Hello” she sang- a little giggle in her talk, like Chantilly Lace.
“How’s it going?”
“I’m Fine. And you?”
“Now, what did I tell you before?”
“Oh, sou ne,” she blushed. “It’ssu goinguu…you?”
“It’s going. Try it again.”
“It’s su going.”
“One more time. It’s going.”
“It’s going,” she gasped and laughed at her achievement. And you?”
“Like a native,” I said, and winked at her. “I’m chillin'”
“Really? Like a native?”
“Ok, maybe not a native,” I said. I had poured it on a little thick. “Maybe like someone who’s lived in New York for a couple of years.”
“Thanks,” she said, but she wasn’t buying it I could read in her voice. Her face, however, remained the same as when she’d walked in the door. “That’s a pretty necktie…kakkoii.” (cool!)
“Thanks,” I said, and froze. She was leaning in and her partners in crime were all but exposed, and cupped in her palms. I let my eyes linger a little longer than usual, than professionally advisable, just to see her reaction. Her face hadn’t changed. She still wanted to fuck me right there on the table.
“Nice sweater,” I said, since she’d opened the door for personal comments.
“Thank you,” she said and glanced down like she hadn’t known what she’d worn today, and noticed her breast sort of splayed on the desk. She leaned back and her partners ducked back into their hiding place in a pink flowery bra. When she looked back my way she smiled kind of coyly and bore that fang of hers; an extra tooth kind of protruding from her gums. I couldn’t figure out its purpose. Maybe, like an appendix, or like my boy, who had a kind of sixth finger sticking out the side of his left hand, it might have served a purpose in primitive man, but now it’s just there. She wasn’t embarrassed by it at all. It was there and it had long since been accepted, like a birthmark on your lip or a mole on your nose. I wish I could be so brave about my little defects.
After a little small talk about the weekend’s activities, which I used to ascertain that she had once again gone to Roppongi to shake her ass at some nightclub frequented by foreigners and thus was in the market for some foreign dick, I decided to forego the textbook lesson and offered her a free conversation lesson. She accepted readily.
“Okay, what shall we talk about?” I asked, giving her another opportunity to keep the lesson strictly business-like or get a little personal.
“Do you like Japanese girls?” she asked, un-rhetorically, and I knew I was in.

Two nights later we met surreptitiously at the train station. This was also dangerous. I couldn’t be spotted by the school’s Japanese staff, other students or other teachers. Any of the above could cost me my job. And, trust me when I say, I stand out here like a cockroach in a bowl of rice. Still, I waited, anxiously; visions of those creamy breasts dancing in my mind. I’ve always allowed lust to take me places where I oughtn’t to be. Even money is a weaker motivator than some new pussy. When I was teenager, I used to be crazy about this girl, Sharon, who lived in the Pink Houses, a housing project in Brooklyn, infamous for its treatment of non-residential visitors. Its reputation had a body count. Sharon wasn’t even all that cute, and she’d warned me of the dangers of coming, and the likelihood of my getting some was nil to none, but just for the slim possibility of a notch in my belt, for the variety, I walked through a posse of niggers ganged up in front of her building, agitated by my strangeness. At the end of the evening not even a kiss was offered for my efforts.

But, I had a feeling that Tomomi was going to be more than worth the effort.

It took some time to figure out why, and I think I’ve locked down the reasons…The school I work for specializes in teaching English conversation. The students are from all walks of life but have one thing in common, an interest in communicating with foreigners. How far they want to go varies. Some just want to be able to state their business and understand what’s being said to them on vacations, by hotel staff and taxi drivers and whatnot. Then, there are the students who need English for their business. They often have to travel around the world to attend conferences and meet clients face-to-face, and lack the ability and confidence to do so. Then, there are those others…I call them, the iroiro. Iroiro means various. They want to understand movies and music, or make foreign friends, or are curious about foreign habits, personalities and culture, or they are bored to death with everything Japanese or just plain crazy. Among this group, there are a lot of females.
Enter Tomomi:
The day we met, my first question was: Why are you studying English?
For me, it’s easier to lie in a foreign language. Translating the truth, something backed by emotional sincerity, is difficult- I learned this the hard way- so usually if and when I lie to Japanese, I lie in Japanese. But for Japanese it seems it’s the opposite.
“Well, I want to make foreigner friends and be a stewardess.”
Translation: “I want to travel to be in an environment where I can meet a rich foreigner to take me away from this boring ass country.”
“What are you studying at University?”
“I study in Psychology.”
“You’re studying psychology and you’re ambition is to serve drinks and give out extra pillows on a 747?”
“Eeeto, ne…”
“Anyway,” I said, because no response was forthcoming, “I hope I can help. Let’s get started!’
She was cupping her breast and smiling like she’d been longing her entire life to have a black man inside her; deep inside her, if the stereotypes she’d subscribed to were true. From that moment on I wanted her bad.

15 minutes late, she arrived, teetering dangerously on 5-inch long pumps, some kind of faux fur on her back, V-neck cardigan barely restraining her breast, silk mini skirt clinging to her hips and thighs, Louis Vitton bag in the crease of her elbows, and a face so twisted with anguish, Meryl Streep would’ve given her a standing ovation.
“Honto ni gomen nasai.” I’m soooo sorry.
I just glanced at my watch and said, “I was worried you’d gotten hurt…maybe took a spill off those heels.”
“It’s not important…doko ni ikou?” Where shall we go?
“Doko demo ii yo.” Anywhere is fine with me.
So, we went to a coffee shop in Shinjuku, a little out of the main traffic areas. We sat there for 45 minutes…me doing most of the talking in my broken Japanese while she sat there admiring me. I was wondering how to broach the subject of a Love Hotel. She seemed like she was game but I was a still a little leery about trusting her with my future employment. Even though I had already done enough to get myself fired, now my concern was not giving her reason to use the power I’d given her in a bad way. Maybe if I waited and let her make the suggestion it would be better, I decided.
“So, do you have a big family?” Another stereotype. Most of her questions were of this nature. She had many stereotypical ideas about foreigners, so here was her opportunity to have them confirmed or denied. I confirmed this one with flying colors.
“Six??? Sugoi!” she said. The average in Japan is two. “Are you the oldest?”
“No, I’m in the middle…3 older and 2 younger.”
“Shashin ga aru?”
“No pictures on me, but I have them on my web page.”
“Honto? Mitai yo!” Then, she pressed her finger to her chin pensively. “Manboo ni ikimasyouka?”
Manboo? Now why didn’t I think of that? Manboo is a 24hr internet cafe / Manga reading room franchise. I’d gone there a couple of times before. When I’d first arrived in Japan, before I was able to arrange an Internet service provider, Manboo was recommended. I’d gone there expecting to see your typical Internet café scene but it was far from that. You walk in and there’s a reception desk, where you’re offered the reading room or a private Internet room. There were even rooms for two if you had a companion. In these rooms, there’s a computer of course as well as a television, DVD / VCR and a Playstation 2. You can borrow movies (though the selection is limited), Manga, or games from the counter. There are also refreshments included and snacks you can buy. The rooms are compact, carpeted, and come with a leather recliner or a love seat for two. There’s even a shower room if you wound up staying for a while as I later learned people did because they’d missed the last train and needed a place to chill out for a few hours until the first train around 5 or 6am. While I was there checking emails, trying to work my way around the Japanese keyboard, I could just make out slurping and moaning sounds from the booth next door. I’d thought to myself I gotta make use of this place someday but had no idea how I would do it.

Thanks to Tomomi that problem was solved.

We arrived at Manboo and I let Tomomi do all the talking to the staff, though she tried to defer to me. I couldn’t understand a word they were saying and I hated to pretend I did. I’d gotten fucked a few times nodding my head to shit I didn’t need nor want. But, traditionally, this was a man’s job- ordering shit, taking command, and so forth- so I decided that I’d learn the lingo before my next visit with a companion. Tomomi got us a booth for two in the back and I grabbed a couple of cups of tea. We sat on the couch and made eyes at each other before I showed her the pictures of my fairly estranged family in happier times. My mother’s wedding pictures, my sister’s graduation pictures, some of the handful of pictures I have of my brothers, my sister’s return to NY from California that represented the closest my clan has come to being in the same state together since the early 80’s. While I was feeling a bit nostalgic and homesick, Tomomi was glowing in what had to be a rare opportunity to see real New Yorkers in their natural habitat.
“That’s New York?” She asked a couple of times. Of course, the only NY most Japanese know and see is Manhattan. The NY you’ll find in Woody Allen movies and on “Friends.” Icons like the Empire State Building, Ground Zero, Wall Street, The Statue of Liberty, and Broadway, have to be seen or mentioned in anything having to do with NYC. And because of baseballs popularity, and the recruitment of several Japanese players over the years, the Mets and Yankees are known. But, they are the NY teams. The Bronx and Queens are unknown. And, Brooklyn is hardly on the radar in Japan. It’s just a word, a label on clothes, a symbol, and a place where things that are virtually incomprehensible to most Japanese occur. But, NY is, quite simply, that city that used to be a cesspool of drugs and crime but, thanks to former Mayor Rudy Giuliani, that ingenious crime fighter, is now safe for the gentle, peace and safety-loving people of Japan to visit without fear of being targeted by taxi drivers, street hustlers and other riff-raff. This was the general consensus and the general consensus, I’d learned, is almighty in Japan. “I heard NY is safety place now…is it true? She asked.
“Sure,” I said. “If you have a lot of money and a little common sense, it’s always been relatively safe. But, now it’s even safer, so even Japanese would be ok.”
“Yokatta ne,” she smiled. “Ikitai yo.” (That’s good news. I want to go there!)
“Really? Well, maybe I’ll take you home with me one day,” I said. “If you’re good.” I winked. She giggled.
Before I knew it, I was rubbing my face in those tits I’d been drooling over for weeks. And to make great greater, she took to her knees and quite aptly made this the best first date of my life, three times over. I’m sure the folks in the next booth could hear the sound effects but if she didn’t care, I wasn’t about to care. I didn’t even get to show her my blog. We stayed at Manboo until first train, she snoring in my arms and me, too satisfied to sleep. I kind of fell in love with her that night. Not love-love. But, I had always dreamed of the super-freak and she was clearly it. Not only did she have the enthusiasm, the skill, and the technique I relish, but she also had something that none of the other freaks I’ve had the pleasure of doing ever had.

I call it the J-Factor.

Before I came to Japan, I’d had my share of women. And some of them could clearly be classified as freaks. And I lusted after them most dearly as well. I’ve had a few white chicks, and a couple of Latinas. But, the vast majority was black women. They were my bread and butter, but they were generally missing something. At least I imagined they were which is just as real to me. Physically, they were great, but there was always a drawback Either they were too freaky for one guy so they took their freak show on the road too often or they were a little on the dilly side, and managed to bore me silly which is quite a feat. Or something else would get under my skin: Breath, pungent fishy aroma, funky odor, too much sass and lip…something was always amiss…

But, ah, the J-factor!

The J-factor is able to cancel out several of those drawbacks. What’s a little Natto-halitosis? (Eating Natto, which is basically fermented soybeans that smell and look like those navy beans you forgot on the stove when you went to Savannah for Fourth of July weekend, is a Japanese custom) She’s practically a Geisha in a mini skirt! So what she snores! She’s erotica incarnate! So what she just lies there and squeals and does little else. She’s squealing in an altogether foreign language. So what she’s just average looking. She’d be highly coveted back home. Any guy from where I’m from would give his left nut to be where I am.

Yes, the J-factor rules. It gives Japanese girls an edge. I’d take a 40 year old Japanese woman over a 20 year old black, white or Latino girl any day.

But, I don’t know why I find them so fascinating. It can’t be simply because they were unavailable in the old neighborhood, can it? I mean, I can’t be that simple, can I?
For instance, take Tomomi…she’s no beauty queen. Quite average as far as Japanese girls go…maybe even a little below average, with that wayward tooth of hers. But the average is about an 8, on a scale of 1-10. Because of the J-factor, cuties are everywhere in Japan. Tomomi is everywhere. But most are culturally, linguistically and thus virtually inaccessible.

Tomomi is not the typical Japanese girl, though. She can speak English somewhat and is inclined, and indeed, motivated to go outside of her cultural and racial boundaries to find dick; the penalty for doing so being something akin to outcast status. It’s kind of a demerit to tell you the truth. The thrill is diminished somewhat when you flip someone that has already decided to flip. It’s like stealing a Honda Accord with the keys in the ignition, a full tank of gas, and your name already on the registration. But, ah, the J-factor! The J-factor makes that Honda feel like a fully-loaded Escalade.
The J-factor is strictly a psychological factor. There’s very little physical difference. Pussy is pussy and varies little physically from woman to woman. So, the major distinction has to be psychological. Eddie Murphy said it best…if you give a starving person a cracker, he’s going to love it. It’s going to taste like a Ritz cracker or the greatest cracker ever baked. I guess I just didn’t know that I was starving.
Tomomi and I only lasted a short time. Three day after our first date, I was so excited I couldn’t keep it to myself any longer so I told my boy Peter, a colleague I’d been cool with.
“You mean, the Tomomi with the tits?” He confirmed. Tomomi’s a popular name.
“Yeah,” I said nonchalantly. I didn’t want too much of my pride to show because something in his voice told me the bubble was about to burst.
He looked like he wasn’t sure what emotion to show me.
“Wait here a second.” He went and came back, with Andrew. “Tell him what you told me.”
“I went out with Tomomi last night,” Andrew said. He was looking a bit chagrined.
“Word?” I couldn’t hide the shock. I don’t know why I was shocked. Maybe because I’d believed at the time that I was the only teacher in our branch who was from the “fuck the risk, I’m going for it!” school of thought. Or, maybe it was because Andrew is such an odd guy. Funny as hell, but strange, in a recently released from a sanitarium kind of way. He was a fellow New Yorker, however, so I should have known. There are so few of us to go around. Most of the teachers are Aussies, Brits and Canucks. Americans are in the minority and New Yorkers are a rare species. My competitiveness got the best of me and I said, “I hope you didn’t kiss her.”

I still couldn’t believe it, though. That is, until he imitated what was to become her signature slurpee sound effects. It was her, alright. Tomomi was flipping him too. I continued to pretend to be unaffected, let on like my ego wasn’t bruised at all. And I never told Tomomi I knew she was doing him. But, every time we met, I did her like I was going to begin a 25-year prison term the following day and she was responsible; with a vengeance. I actually tried to damage that thing, but to no avail. She was as pliant as a Geisha and as compliant as a Samurai. She was built for abuse, and serving, as far as I knew, two masters. I tried to find solace in the fact that at least I was first, but what’s worst: sloppy seconds or the idea that I wasn’t masterly enough so she needed to do someone I worked alongside, too. How wicked!
When I saw Andrew, after greetings I would eventually ask, “How’s our girl treating you?”
“I haven’t seen her in a couple days,” he’d say, with a little slurp.

Everyday I had to watch Andrew, strutting and slurping around the office, looking thoroughly pleased with himself. After all, by virtue of vicinity, he got to see her much more often than I did. He lived in Tokyo, a couple of stops on the train from her, while I lived in Saitama, a good 40 minutes away. She was spending nights with him on the regular while I got to see her maybe once every other week or so. And, everyday I got more and more disgusted with Tomomi. She’d put on the most innocent act. Not that she pledged her fidelity or even hinted at it. Fidelity never came up. After all, I had a girlfriend out in Saitama, so I didn’t want to have that conversation, either. But, the longing hinted at in her emails, her eagerness to be together, her enthusiasm when we did meet, her thoroughness and utter inexhaustibleness all but screamed monogamous. She was a slut, but I was still crazy about her. I’d never been crazy about a slut before. I always fell like a brick for the demure type, but in Tomomi, I had a demure slut. She was something new. Any fantasies I’d entertained about making her my girl were long gone, but my lust never dwindled.

I think the demure slut is part of the J-factor. Most of the girls I’ve met here seem so wholesome and honest and totally incapable of the level of deception I’ve come to expect from girls back home. Of course, they are capable, as Tomomi illustrated in the most startling way, but at least I can entertain the fantasy, which is exactly what the J-factor amounts to.

Now, several years later, and Tomomi is long gone. I haven’t spoken to her in over a year. Maybe she’d gotten tired of me and moved on to greener pasture. But, I still see her face, and unfortunately, her tits- in my imagination- everywhere I go. She’s that girl in the convenience store, the café, the bar, and on the train. She still smiles at me from other faces. She still looks at me like I’m the cracker and she’s the starving person.



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