We met two Saturdays ago, in Akihabara, at an electronics shop. I was in the market and she was on it. She was just sitting there looking luscious, not unlike a dozen other models confined to this area of the shop. Other Akiba heads, A.K.A. Otaku, passed her by, their eyes glued to other models more popular with anime aficionados, while my eyes adored her and her alone. I just knew she was a she– this time- and not a drag queen like my last model. Something about her evinced femininity emphatically while she whispered in a somehow deeply personal yet wanton manner, “Go-shujin-sama, I welcome you with my whole being and I’m here to meet your needs.” She didn’t need to add, “…if you got the money.” I know the rules of the game.
So, naturally, like any full-blooded dual-brained hetero would, I bought her.
We spent the remainder of that weekend together, exploring one another…She’s a new model, just bustling with excessive software and impeccable specs. Me, a much, much earlier model, all hardware and relatively primitive propensities, the human equivalent of a Commodore PET. Yet, there she was, sitting on my lap, poised for action and eager to please. Even after 10 straight hours of exploration and discovery she still retained that balm of novelty, like a new car, her chassis of brazen burgundy glaze both beguiling and inspiring. She purred with purpose, as she completed assigned tasks with an obsequious brio. When I sullied her with my incessant probing, prodding and manipulating I would return her finish to a fresh-from-the-factory-floor freshness with a Burberry hand towel I’d bought especially. She seemed to glow with my affections.
It was around that time I began to get anxious. I don’t know why but I always do. And with the onset of anxiety I began to notice things that had heretofore gone unnoticed. For example, there was an unsettling awareness in the way she processed data and the way she constantly hummed in hushed tones the disquieting melodies of Windows Vista. Compounded by what I had at first thought to be a glow but was really this light that emanated from her, perpetually brightening and dimming every few seconds, suggesting a secret essence, an independent heart free from my subordination, and a sublime intelligence. With some effort I’d kept this anxiety in check as we dallied the weekend away, but by Sunday I was spent…well, at least as far as that X-mas day feeling of excitement over a new toy goes, I was.
I got restless… and as my anxiety peaked, I got piqued.
I showered and got dressed, something I hadn’t done since I’d gotten her into my room, and headed out for some air. I could almost hear her calling to me from the window, in a cloying singsong of a voice, “Go-shujin sama! Wait! Where are you going?” I wanted to say I didn’t know. But, I did know. I knew with a certainty and a swiftness exactly where I was headed and I understood exactly why I’d been feeling increasingly uptight since I’d first gotten her behind closed doors.
I was jonesing, plain and simple.
I had been sitting in my room giving my new sweetheart my undivided while my three addictions, accepting that they had had to take a backseat for a while and ride this one out (oh they know how I get once my brain is fixed on any particular thing.) Thus, they utilized the increased patience life here in Kawaiiland has forced upon them, and waited. Yep, nicotine, caffeine, and my writing, like three soldiers imprisoned in a smoke-free, caffeine-less prison camp making Morse code messages by aligning large stones unearthed in the rice paddies they were made to cultivate so that the cameras taking shots from spy planes flying in the airspace high above enemy radar detection could pinpoint their location and at the optimal moment send in the brigade to rescue them from their torturer, they waited, and waited…
And, they knew, like I knew, that there was one place where all three addictions could be satisfied simultaneously:
So, I hopped on my Mamachari, stopped at Starbucks and grabbed a grande of the Java du jour, mochi kaeri de (take out), and 20 minutes later I was standing before her, all lit up like Broadway Kabukicho. I could hardly wait to get inside.
Did I mention I’m a regular?
“Tadaima,” (I’m home) I joked. The Counter Cuties giggled and the fussy-haired guys grinned and all sang in unison,”okaeri nasai.” (Welcome home)
One of the staff people, upon seeing me emerge from the elevator, had already begun setting me up in a room on the fourth floor away from the noise and traffic, as I’d requested twice previously when I had noticed the difference between the relative racket of the 2nd floor when compared with the tranquility of the third and fourth floors. I’ve never had to ask a third time, like they’d recorded my preferences in that computer of theirs or something.
They also know I want a private room with a reclining chair. They know I want to be in the well-ventilated smoking area. They know I want to stay a minimum of 3 hours and a max of 5, so they offer both packages. I chose 3 hours. It cost about 1000 yen. 5 hours would run me a couple hundred yen more, but I usually don’t go for 5 unless I plan to stay until morning. They reminded me to take an ashtray because they know I’ve forgotten several times to grab one and wound up having to come back down to the 2nd floor staff area where the ashtrays are kept (for some reason beyond me.) Yep, the staff at the front desk know me well…maybe they don’t get too many Gaijin regulars.
They smiled and bowed me towards the elevator to the fourth floor. I bypassed the DVD section…there was nothing I wanted to watch. All along the walls there are copies, it seems, of every Manga ever published, like a massive library. I bypassed them as well. Nothing I wanted to read. I bypassed the free drink area with Coke and Calpis for thirsty patrons. I had my Sutaba (Japanese foe Starbucks) so I was good to go. I just wanted to smoke and drink and write. I checked the signs on the walls for directions to my room number, 107. The corridors are labyrinthine and a GPS would be put to good use but I’ve learned after getting lost several times how to navigate them.
I found my room where I would reside for the next few hours, immaculate as always. I took off my shirt, hung it up, took off my shoes, slipped on my slippers and got to work. My nicotine and caffeine Joneses were ever so grateful at finally having their patience rewarded and proceeded to show their profound appreciation by forking over the rush I needed to hammer out 1500 words or so on the little things that make a big difference in Japan. Like Manboo…
Yep, Nic, Star and I are tighter than white on rice. We go wayyyyy back.
The Internet cafes in NY are totally different, and unless they have changed significantly since my last visit, not even worth mentioning in comparison. I’ll just sum them up by saying the most prominent of reasons they can’t compare: Smoking is prohibited! Shit, in NY, you are second only to Osama Bin Laden on the list of enemies of the state if you smoke.
After all my Joneses were appeased, turned out to be 5 hours later, I packed my stuff and headed back to my smoke-free thus creativity-free environment I call home. Upon my return I could see the gleam of my new mistress through the window. As I entered the room I could almost hear her cryng, “where the hell were you? It hasn’t even been a week and you’re straying already?!” I didn’t know what to tell her. I thought to explain that there was someone before she’d come along…someone special. That I ♥ Manboo and she would always hold a special place in my heart. But, I hate explaining myself, to tell you the truth.
She watched my every move with that one good Motion Eye of hers. She could see that I was glowing, the way I do when I feel like I’ve been particularly productive. The clicking of her processor was not unlike a foot tapping impatiently, only faster.
“I don’t believe you!” she whined, seething with jealousy. “You’ve been fooling around, haven’t you? I’m not stupid, you know. You smell like tobacco…and is that a coffee stain on your collar?”
“What happened to all that Go-shujin sama business you was kicking to me earlier?” I snapped defensively.
My previous outmoded drag queen work horse of a PC, who had been sitting on the floor where I’d placed and forgotten about him as soon as I had arrived with my new babe in burgundy, let out a laugh and hollered- with a metallic, gut-wrenching grind I’d come to hate (which had prompted my new purchase in the first place), “See! That’s what you get!”