Posts Tagged ‘gaijin freak


10 ways NOT to go loco in Yokohama #6: Avoid Gaijin!

The Japanese do it, and you should trust their wisdom. If you follow #6: Avoid Gaijin (Gaijin bars, Gaijin friendly areas and the Japanese girls who dwell there) it can do wonders for your sanity. You would think in a country where the natives avoid you like the plague you might find solace among people who share your fate. Trust me, you won’t.

My reasons for taking such a drastic action have changed a number of times over the years. I mentioned before what I was like when I first came here. How I wanted to be the Kokujin Anjin-san. And so I wouldn’t sit and listen to foreigners bad mouth my new home. Well, clearly I was being a little facetious. Of course I hung out with Gaijin quite a bit in those early days. That’s how I learned that they are to be avoided…at all cost!!!


For one, I’ve found that when Gaijin get together there are three constants: Alcohol, anger-resentment-complaints, and misogyny (in the case of the men…don’t know many misogynistic women). Not that I hadn’t encountered any of the above before. Hell, America thrives on all three. But, I didn’t come here for more of the same. I actually wanted to escape from it a while. Especially complaining. Why? Because, of the Gaijin unholy trinity above, complaining is my favorite vice. Or, at least it used to be.

Everyone complained back in Brooklyn so your own complaints would more than likely get drowned out in the sea of complaints around you. To be heard you had to complain louder (which was not attractive at all) or raise yours to the level of art form (which was potentially attractive.) The idea was to be creative by finding a fresh angle on the complaint, something that made it compelling to listen to. Or, find the funny in it. Make it clever and witty and make people laugh so hard they almost forget you’re complaining.

I wouldn’t say I was an artist but among my friends I could hold my own.

Complaining, for me, was like a drug: euphoria-inducing and difficult to kick. I thought I might go cold turkey here in Japan. But, in the company of Gaijin, that is not possible. Accessibility is widespread. I’d have to truly lock myself in a room. I can get my complaint fix in any Gaijin bar or Gaijin friendly area in Tokyo or Yokohama, any time of the day or night; occasionally I breakdown, fall off the wagon (in person and on the web)  and indulge myself.  Sometimes I go just to listen to complaints, without participating… Like an ex-smoker sitting in the smoking section of a cafe, or an ex-carnivore turned vegan, dining at Peter Luger’s Steak House in Brooklyn, nursing a salad, salivating over someone’s sirloin…

But usually I avoid them.

And misogyny…fuhgetuhboutit. Many Gaijin here are out of control! The worst I’ve ever seen. Perhaps there’s something about Japan that can make man’s respect of women really tank.  I’m still trying to put my finger on the reason why. The level of misogyny encountered here even puts the level I experienced back home to shame. Mind you, back home I lived in an environment where epithets like bitch and hoe get thrown around like confetti.

Personally I think it’s because foreigners get treated, in general, like shit by Japanese people. A certain level of resentment for the people and the culture develops, and these emotions need venting. Abusing Japanese women is one way to vent, and they’re such easy targets. So, I think it’s partially about revenge. However, this creates a cycle of resentment, distrust and fear that I really don’t see coming to an end in the near future. I’m a little pessimistic so I may be wrong on that tip. But trust me on this one: Avoid Gaijin.

Of course I’m not talking about all Gaijin…they know who they are!

One night back in my early days here I went to Gas Panic in Shibuya after work. It was still early so when I arrived there were just staff people and bouncers hanging around and a couple of customers sucking down Happy Hour drinks. One was black the other was white. They both looked cornfed and had low-cropped haircuts.

The black guy spots me and gives me a healthy welcome. YO! What up, man?”

His greeting made me feel a little homesick. Or rather it reminded me of the part of home I’d gotten sick of and thus it was not a deterrent in any way to my leaving it behind. Plus he had a country accent. Alabama, Texas, Louisiana, maybe. I couldn’t name that accent in 4 syllables  but I knew I was in the right region. Country black folk have a tendency to make me cringe a little.  Even if I listen to Nelly or Master P I feel it.

“What’s up?”

“Ain’t no girls here so might as well kick it with us!”

“What’s up, bro?” the white guy said. Bro? I cringed a little but let it go.

We shook hands, exchanged names (Jason and Jeff) I pulled up a stool and ordered a beer.

“Where you from, Loco!” Jason asked.


“That’s what’s up!” he said. “I’m from Houston. My boy Jeff here, he’s from San Antonio.” He smiled. I could tell he’d had a few already. Jeff too. Texas ain’t nothing to be smiling about. Texas used to conjure images of Ten-Gallon hats and Oil Wells. Now I think of James Byrd Jr. being bound and dragged around by white supremacist in a pick up truck. Unfair, I know, but it was the most gruesome lynching in my lifetime. Jason here was probably too young to appreciate it and Jeff looked like he could be the Pick up truck driver’s baby brother.

“You in the service,” he asked with a look on his face that said he doubted it.

“Nah,” I said and left it at that.

“Where all the bitches at?” Jason blurted suddenly. “Shit, I came all the way over here from Yokohama for the bitches! Right Jeff? I heard there be  a trailer load uh hoes up in here. Where the fuck they at?”

Jeff nodded his agreement. They were both looking at me like I was a pimp with the answers or something.

“Yo, I’ll be back…” I said and headed towards the bathroom. I passed the exit on the way and made a detour. Once outside I took a deep breath, and headed for the station.

Another day, I stopped at The Hub in Shibuya, again, for a beer. At the bar were a couple of white guys dressed in business suits.  I sat down not too far from them and ordered.

“How’s it going, bro?”

“Hanging in there, ” I said after pausing appropriately for station identification. I don’t know who gave white guys carte blanche to call black men bro but it’s a done deal. They seemed friendly enough though so I let it go.

“You see them girls over there?” the other one said. I followed his thumb to two girls sitting in a booth in the back chatting and giggling. They were awfully cute.

“Yeah,” I said.

“We fucked them two weeks ago, didn’t we Joe? Took them to a love hotel around the corner there and fucked the shit outta them…”

I didn’t say ‘that’s nice’ but I’m sure my face said it. What always bothers me is that some white guys tend to think it’s ok to use the worst fucking language when they talk to me. Not that the language bothers me. It’s just the presumptuousness that I would indulge that kind of vulgarity. Some black people do it, too, but I don’t get sanctimonious with black folks.

“How were they?” I asked cuz they were still looking at me waiting for a reaction.

“What the fuck you mean, how were they? They were fucking great!”

“Then why the fuck they over there and y’all over here? Y’all had enough?”

“We’re waiting for these other two babes now,” the other one said. “They meeting us here in about an hour!”

They grinned egregiously and gave each other some kind of secret pound and grinned at me as if to say, ‘how you like me now?’

I didn’t. Besides I’m not keen on having sex with other guys in the room. I’d only done it twice in my life and the second time I had debilitating performance anxiety. The first time I came in about 15 seconds.

“I’ll be back…”

Another time I went to TGI Fridays in Roppongi. There were three black guys at the bar. Definitely military. I used to be military right out of high school so I can smell a soldier like a fart in a sauna. Plus their conversation about the restrictions placed on them after yet another incident involving a soldier and some hapless Japanese girl was a dead give-away.

“Yo, come over here!” one of them practically ordered upon noticing me. He was drunk. I obeyed. They had a pitcher of something with a head and poured me a glass.

“Here’s to this fucking country!” another said.

“Fuck them!” the third said.

A Japanese waitress, who apparently could understand English a bit, was standing by, smiling. I felt her embarrassment.

“Yo, you restricted?”

“Me? I’m not in the military.”

“What you do?”

“I’m an English teacher.”

“That’s what’s up!” another said. “At a High School?’

“Nah, at NOVA.”

“Man, I would love to teach at a High School here.  All those fucking mini-skirts and…”

“NOVA? Man, you must be getting mad pussy! How the fuck you get that gig?”

“Just applied and interviewed and what not.”

“How they treat you over there?” another one said. They all just kinda blended into one. That’s the goal of military training and it was a raging success with these three. They were a unit. I almost said ‘can’t complain’ out of habit but I might as well have said ‘y’all know how it is’ cuz they reacted like I had.

“These fucking Japanese, right?”

“Make you wanna choke the shit outta them!” Another said.

“After you fuck the shit out of them!” the third added.

They all laughed kind of lewdly. The waitress was still smiling. 100  buttons all over her uniform. One read “Kiss me I’m Irish.” Another read, “English OK!” Our eyes met for a moment and I saw a flash of irritation, then it was immediately replaced by her ‘would you like to order some appetizers’ customer service smile.

“She’s cute right?” another said. “I’d like to choke her with my dick.”

They all laughed. I grimaced.

“You know what fucks me up the most? I can clearly see why we shoved two nukes up their asses! They’s about some arrogant mother fuckers, ain’t they?”

“Word!” another agreed. “And the only thing standing between the Dear Leader- Kim Jong- whatever the fuck his name is- shoving a couple more up that ass is us! And they got the mother fucking audacity to be putting on airs with me. When they should be worshiping my ass like the Buddha!” He looked in the direction of the waitress standing by. “That bitch there…you know what she did?”

I almost said ‘what’ instinctively, distracted by my musing about a trip to the “bathroom”. I looked at him and I could tell he was waiting for the ‘what.’ I’d fucked up his rhythm.

“I’m sorry. What?”

“Man, stop your fucking whining,” another one said. “Can’t you see the man ain’t trying to hear about your failed conquest? Nigga fucked one waitress at Outback’s one time and now he think he’s the fuckin’ mack. Motherfucker, it was luck!”

“And,” the other added, “As many bitches as there is up in here. you need to stop whining over that button chick and get back in the game, nigga. You embarrassing yourself, and us. Shut the fuck up about that bitch already!”

“You right, you right! But that was some foul shit she said!”

“Bitch don’t know English good…what the fuck? Cut her some slack!”

“She supposed to be the mother fucking ‘English Ok‘ bitch up in here! How the fuck they gonna claim they got English speaking staff while they got this bitch and she don’t even know the difference between mother fucking…”

I whipped out my cellphone and snapped, “Moshi moshi!”

“Ima doko?” Where you at?

Roppongi ni iru.” I’m in Roppongi.

“Hai, wakatta. Mata ne.” All right, got it, later.

“Well, fellas…booty, I mean, duty calls. Gotta run! Thanks for the brew!”

They bought my fake call, I think. I didn’t care. I left.

Another time I was in Roppongi, at some bar. There were two cute girls sitting at the bar chatting and giggling and looking entirely approachable. So I approached them.


One turned, looked me up and down, winced a little like some foul odor had invaded her nostrils and turned back to the other without any further ado. What the fuck! I looked myself up and down, gave my underarms a quick sniff… No odor, nice suit, decent shoes, and I had a fresh shave and a haircut. The look she’d given me reminded me of the look some Japanese people would give me on the trains…a snub that wanted to be seen and felt. It also was reminiscent of the look club chicks in NY would give me. I’d accept it from the chicks in NY, but from these Japanese chicks? They had to be outta their fucking minds…

“Fuck is your problem?” I shouted. “Motherfucker say hi to y’all, respectfully and what not, and you give me your ass to kiss like you all that! Bitch, you ain’t shit!”

They were both looking at me, a bit stunned at my outburst. I wasn’t even sure what had prompted it. I’d never done anything like that before. I was more likely to walk away with my tail between my legs or pretend I hadn’t said anything to them. I’d never gotten aggressive with women in clubs before. Never! In NY it wouldn’t have been wise, anyway. Might get your ass maced.  Something about these girls just rubbed me the wrong way.

The bartender came over and said something to the girls in Japanese, they kind of offhandedly indicated in my direction as if to say but this one over here can’t take no for an answer…

The bartender was your typical skinny, friendly, perfect hair, half-gay looking Japanese guy. But the bouncer he’d signaled to come over to the bar was big and black and mean looking.

“Yo, is there a problem?” he said but it felt like he said ‘do YOU have a problem?’ His voice sounded like he had a zero-tolerance policy that had nothing to do with the bar’s policy. It was his personal policy.

Still, I didn’t like the way he presumed I was the problem and not these innocent fucking Japanese girls.

“Why don’t you ask them?”

He looked me in the eyes, deep. And he seemed to move a step closer to me, though I don’t think he did. “Cuz I’m asking you!”

I don’t know why – he was twice my size and obviously not accustomed to being challenged by sober people- but I didn’t back down. “Yeah, there’s a problem. You the problem solver?”

“That’s what they pay me for!” he said, but he had lost a little of his edge. “Why don’t you let me buy you a beer and we can talk over there.”

I liked his tone now. “Sounds like a plan!” I said. “Smells like rotten sushi over here anyway.”

We walked over to his station by the door. A waitress brought me a beer.

“Where you from, man?”

“Brooklyn,” I said.

“Word! I’m from Newark!”

“Fucking Jersey?” I almost laughed. New Jersey is a joke, and the punchline, to New Yorkers. But, Newark ain’t the funny part of Jersey. Newark is to New Jersey as Brooklyn is to NYC. “We’re practically neighbors. How long you been over here?”

“Too long!” he said. “But, ain’t shit happening in Newark so what the fuck!”

“I feel you, bruh,” I said. “What up with them chickenheads over there?” I said referring to the two girls I’d practically accosted.

“Man, don’t fuck with them. That’s this Yakuza cat’s daughter and her friend. They ain’t worth it. They like to come up in here, mini-skirts up to here, thongs showing, dancing like freaks on ‘X’ to Hip Hop and dick teasing motherfuckers. But, everybody know who they is except niggas like you just come through for a breather. So, sometimes I gotta straighten some niggas out, but, you seemed pretty real,  and you ain’t been drinking so…”

“Damn, yo!” I said. “Good looking out!”

“You lucky they don’t know English,” he said, and smiled.


Next up:#7: Escape fromYokohama!


A little about me and Japan: Part 1- Aiko


We first met in Spring, 2003. I was riding my mamachari around Urawa City, mainly exploring and looking for some trouble to get into, when I rode passed this hostess bar. I can’t remember the name, but standing in front were 3 girls, all kawaii to the fullest. At least I thought so then. Two of them had that Harajuku gya-ru look: tanned, sparkly, streaked hair and heavy makeup, and what not. The third one was a beauty minus the adornments and transfiguring. She was dressed in a Yukata, a light summer kimono, and her hair was pinned up revealing her lovely neck and cheeks. Not the one of them looked over 20.

As I passed, I gave them a little smile of acknowledgment, and they being business girls, gave me open, welcoming yet perfunctory cheese. I was half a block away when I heard their voices call after me. I almost crashed in my haste to acknowledge them. I turned and cruised back trying to look less eager than I felt. I had been in Japan about two months by then, and suffice it to say I was open to Japanese girls. Wide Open! So open, that I hadn’t even noticed that I was being hailed in English! Fairly good English at that. The kind of English acquired living abroad for a short time or through regular association with gai-jin.

It was the un-tanned girl that was doing the talking. I rolled beside her and she began to pitch the business. “Only 5000 yen and you can sit and drink with me!” I told her straight out she must be mad. Back in the states, we rarely pay that much without a guaranteed happy ending. She laughed out loud. “This is not America!” The banter continued, she saying that a roll in the hay, with another girl of course, not her, would cost about $5000 US, and it was my turn to laugh out loud. The ice was broken between us, and after we’d established that I was not a potential client and she was not going to be serving me for cash, the conversation shifted to something typical of what would take place between two people who are attracted to one another. She’d initially given me her stage name “Reira” but after the biz talk had ceased, she confided her name was Aiko.

“I’m a university student, studying psychology,” she said.

I wasn’t surprised, I told her. Many college students, even in the US, do similar jobs to make ends meet. “Maximizing your assets” I said and she laughed. It was so refreshing to have someone Japanese laugh at my jokes…usually they would giggle at how entertaining and unusual the foreigners were. But humor was totally missed; a cultural and language gap that for many would never be filled. But. Aiko was right there in the gap with me.  Raking up cool points. We talked until it became clear to the others standing around, including her Yakuza boss and what-not, that it wasn’t business. Before I left we exchanged text message addresses and promises to keep in touch. I rode away with such a high that I sang all the home.

Now, at the time, I was seeing this girl, Rico. She too could speak English a bit, but, to put it mildly, was too bland for me. I’d met her my first night in Japan- at a club in Roppongi, no less. We connected and a couple of days later we fornicated and for my first taste of true Asian loving, it was incredible…mentally anyway. Otherwise, it wasn’t much different than the tastes of home.  After that mental charge wore off, which took all of a month, my eyes were roving. The week after I met Aiko, I broke it off with Rico.

I met up with Aiko again that week and we went for a stroll around my neighborhood. A tree-lined path I hadn’t really explored well, lead to a park with a lake, surrounded by a path. We walked along it, in the darkness, talking. She talked about her hobby, singing.aiko-singing2 A jazz singer, at that. I was and still am a great connoisseur of jazz so we had a lot to talk about. I told about the history of jazz. She knew bits and pieces and I knew a bit more than she did. She listened with eyes that devoured my words. We also shared admiration for Chomsky and discussed some of his ideas…and movies! We both loved film. She knew director names and filmographies and what not and we could talk endlessly about them. It was well after 11pm by then, and she’d ought to have been headed home, for the last train to her home was around midnight, but she didn’t stop. Neither of us wanted to. We took a seat and sat hand-in-hand, and talked all night. I was annoyed by the bugs and she was afraid of the bats, and we were both taken aback by sounds and motion seemingly coming out of the darker places in the park, but we didn’t vacate until sunrise.

A couple of weeks later I convinced her to be my girlfriend. I didn’t know it then, but girlfriend/boyfriend selection is a bit more complicated in Japan than in the US. The thought process is very different. For me, it was just assurance that we would be having sex soon and that I would have the companionship of the most interesting person I’d met since I’d been in Japan. But, for her, well…it was absolutely crucial, for the boyfriend title is taken very, very seriously. Maybe it’s the same in the US and all these years I just hadn’t noticed, because I never took it too seriously. In my young days, it was just about sex for me. If I asked you to be my girl, it meant I wanted to fuck you. And, if we were having sex on a regular basis, without our status having been discussed, then we were just seeing each other, but I might let you tell others I’m your man and on occasion I might tell others you were my girl…of sorts. But, if I made it official, that is, actually saying the words “be my girl” it meant that I was seriously considering fucking you and only you…

Aiko and I hadn’t had sex yet when I sprung the question on her. And she resisted, put up quite a fight as I recall. I told her that I wanted to have fun, and isn’t that what being bf & gf is all about? But, though Aiko was a college student, she was 24 years old already, and in Japan, that’s approaching old maid status, so, many things had to be considered before saying yes. And she considered them all. I know! Maybe not aloud (in English anyway) but she had the kind of intelligence and mental engine that molded her face into a mask of beautiful brilliance. I hadn’t known it then, but that was when I fell in love with her. The time  period between the walk in the park and  her simply saying “yes” to me. I mean, she used language, primary language, which is the only way we could communicate initially, but my mind, my native dictionary, gave her words the depth I’m certain they would have had in her native tongue.

After she said Yes, that’s when things started getting rocky. She quit her hostess job and got a regular job and I got complacent. Unaccustomed to the amount of attention I was getting from women, I became something of a predator. I had girls lined up. At the rather late age of 38,  I was finally sowing my oats the way I never had in America. I was regressing into an almost adolescent mindset of  conquest nearly without remorse. But, Aiko, poor Aiko, was always home to me. We fought and argued as couples do, about “where were you” and “your friends are more important than me” and “Are you seeing another girl,” etc…And also about some new (to me) issues that I believe (but I could be wrong, and probably am) resulted from our totally different cultures like, “you are so rude” and “why don’t you keep your promises” and “you don’t have any respect for me or my culture,” etc…

But, otherwise, we were very good together. We had so much in common. We both wanted to travel and study. Her particular branch of psychology explored the psychological impact of cultural differences. In other words, she was fascinated, and borderline obsessed with her people’s fixation with Western Culture. She was totally disgusted by her brethren inability to see the individuality of foreigners, their tendency to overlook the gaijin’s glaring issues in favor of their unusualness in what has to be one of the most homogeneous cultures remaining in existence. She called these people “Gaijin Freaks” and she had decided to make a documentary exploring this national phenomenon. But, before she could do that, she had to explore it on a personal basis, I believe. I think that’s where I came in. Also, I told her I was writing a book about my experiences in Tokyo, comparing and contrasting the differences in culture with that of NY. She loved the idea and we decided to work together to accomplish each others goals. We bonded in this way, and so our discussions on the matter, which were often heated, were also enlightening and educational for both of us.

We went on like this for many months, seeing each other a couple of times a week, talking, fighting, loving, and learning from each other. She helped me with my Japanese and I helped her, when requested, with her English. However, most often my assistance was not sought directly. She resisted for some reason I always had  difficulty putting a finger on. Perhaps it had something to do with the stigma that girls in Japan live under…that they fuck with foreign guys in order to get free English lessons, or for their dick-size, or for some kind of status symbol (English ability and capacity to interact with foreigners being a sign of a “globalized” mentality or merely cool) or just a kind of Jungle fever, being that most foreign cultural ideas are considered at best unusual  and at worst bizarre and uncivilized by most Japanese. But, in any event,  she resisted.

At the same time, I was still notching my belt,  so to speak. I’m not exactly proud of my behavior, but I had some good times, and I was definitely in that state of mind from the time of my arrival here. Having a good time was high on my priority list. Aiko was a still a university student, working part time, and living with her parents, so I couldn’t see her whenever I wanted to. I guess I could’ve seen her more than I did, but I used her restraints to rationalize my exploits.

One day I told her, out of the blue, that I needed a break. That I had some serious concerns about our relationship, which I did, but not enough to refuse to see her the way I did. She didn’t know it at the time but it wasn’t because of her but because I had a fever blister on my mouth and I was ashamed to see her or even go to work. I don’t know why I get that way about cold sores. There shouldn’t be any shame but maybe it’s because of it’s placement on the lip, in the most conspicuous and intimate of places, making it the bane of my existence on this planet. My vanity, or my self-consciousness, projected into the minds of others…and oh how I am concerned with what other people think of me!  Once or twice a year, an outbreak occurs, and that is the source of my anguish. Depending on the size of the blister, I can either weather it or cower in my house for days, avoiding contact with all humans I know, whose judgment I worry about. I hate the power it has over me, the fear it induces in me, but I’ve  allowed it to happen for over 20 years now. How could I expose this to Aiko, I wondered. I wasn’t prepared to do that, yet. I needed more time,  I said to myself, so I went into hiding. I guess I could’ve come up with a better excuse than I need some time to think about our relationship, but I get so emotionally unwound when an outbreak occurs that I just lose it and the feelings of others take a backseat to my own. She simply couldn’t make sense of this sudden flip.

A week later my lip had healed up and I tried to resume relations with Aiko, but, as I should’ve expected, my behavior had changed her outlook on our relationship as well.  She was very much in love with me, I knew, but now she was leerier. She became much more independent. Hanging out with her friends, looking for work. She started teaching private lessons, too.  She wanted to do research to better understand foreigners, I guess, and make some extra money, so she started teaching Japanese. She placed an ad on a website frequented by ex-pats and the responses came in. One student, in particular, she began to have unusual conversations with. At the time, I thought she was losing her goddamn mind, holding lengthy, giggly conversations, in my house with this guy. I didn’t fully realize she was crying out for attention by making me jealous. I’m so blind to shit like that some times. I was utterly clueless.  Meanwhile, I was beginning to believe that I couldn’t possibly love her if I was capable of doing the things I did on the side. How can you see other women if you are in love? I wasn’t raised that way. The culture I was reared in certainly didn’t encourage that kind of behavior.

So, I broke up with her in my typically cruel fashion, the combination of jealousy and guilt propelling me,  using words like “I can’t stop you from fucking anybody. All I can do is trust that you don’t.” At the time, I didn’t think these words were particularly harsh, but she found them to be devastatingly indicative of my lack of emotional investment in our relationship. And, with a thud, we broke up. I took on another girlfriend, a girl that I had been cheating on Aiko with, one who’d shown promise as far as a future together was concerned…We began to see each other more regularly…I proceeded to try to replace Aiko with her, transfer my feelings for Aiko to this new entity. In my mind, at the time, Japanese women had become that transitive. They basically behaved the same, thought the same, felt the same, looked the same, fucked the same…I thought it didn’t matter. In other words, I was slowly dehumanizing them, again, in my efforts to rationalize my exploits. And, it worked…for about  4 weeks. During which I began to feel, see, taste, hear, and smell the difference between this other girl and Aiko. Between ALL other girls and Aiko.

Meanwhile, Aiko had taken up with some other guy, too, (the same student she had been all giggly with on the phone) and I would learn later, was experiencing something akin to what I had.  I began to communicate with her again. I wanted to be friends, I told her. What I really wanted was to feel her energy, her vitality, her gentleness and kindness, and anger, and fury, again. She was unique! So, we became friends, of sorts. We talked, and argued, especially when she talked about how happy she was with her new beau. I was jealous, I tried to subtly undermine their relationship, then soon progressing to not so subtle attempts. In my heart I wanted to stalk, to prey, to take what I believed to be mine! But, Aiko, stubborn as she was, resisted, with a calmness, a nonchalantness, that only fanned my anger. Eventually,  I gave up, at least with  the aggressive stuff. And, we really became friends. I told her “feel free to talk to me about anything, even him.” And, she did, to a certain extent. I became calm, resolute. I figured, it’s all for the best. I will probably fuck it up if we were to ever get back together anyway, I told myself.

Not two days after I came to this resolution did Aiko call me to say she missed me and that she did not feel about her boyfriend the way she felt about me, and indicated, for the first time, that she wanted to re-conciliate. I was walking back from the 7-11 when I got the call. I was half-way home, a bagful of junk food, ready to couch potato the night away, when I received her call. I stopped there in the street and we talked. I fell in love with her again that night. or maybe it just deepened a bit.

But, still, it was not love like I had known before. Maybe love is different with every person, every relationship. Or, maybe I have some serious emotional issues that make me incapable or hard-pressed to feel and behave the way I’ve been taught that you’re supposed to when you’re in love. I really don’t have the answers. All I know is that night I felt more satisfied with myself than I had in a long time. Maybe it was as simple as she had chosen me over him. Simply a victory over an adversary. Victory feels good doesn’t it? I felt great! I was perfect…I contained my glee, I didn’t beat my chest, although I felt like it, I did a little end-zone dance in my heart and mind, while I said words like “I’m glad you feel like you can come to me when you’re unhappy…that’s all I wanted.”

A couple of weeks of negotiation later, we were back together, with a renewed resolve to make it work. I cut down considerably with my philandering and focused more on studying and making money.  And we had some good times. It had been over a year since we’d met. Our routines were basic but very nice. On Saturdays, she’d meet  me at Starbucks and we’d have some coffee and talk about various things, or we’d help each other with language stuff. Or, we’d go to an izakaya and have dinner, and smoke and joke, or fight and argue, but we were together. Then, we’d go to my house and make love and talk until it was time for her to go home. Sometimes she’d stay, but most often that would cause problems at home. Arguments and fights with her parents…which she didn’t want to get into. Sometimes we’d go to the movies, or to a restaurant in Ebisu or Shinjuku or Shibuya or Omiya. She loved good food and coffee as much as I did.

I used to give her coupons when I fucked up. A coupon which entitled the bearer to something like: For one week, I will or will not do something she liked or disliked, and she loved it!  And I’d always keep the promise, conspicuously. She loved promises to be kept. She was a very simple girl on many levels. Just that she was involved with a much simpler man, me. I could never be like her father…not entirely. He was a descendant of samurai, and had what she called the Bushido spirit, which I think she had, too. My spirit is derived from my mother, which is more of a motherly, nurturing, emotional spirit. But, somehow, she was able to see and embrace the best in me. When we fought, it was her fire, her stubbornness, her pride, that borne her. She was not passive, not weak, not angelic or baby doll like, and yet she was soft, and pliable, and sweet and tender and delicate.

In the summer of 2004 she had asked me to feel something growing under her skin. It was a tumor. She went to the hospital and they tried to remove it but could only remove part of it. She spent a couple days in there and all of her friends came to see her. She was a little depressed about being in the hospital, and I spent as much time as I could with her. She had to go back and forth to the hospital throughout the summer and she’d hated it, while the doctors tried to ascertain what was causing the tumor, and whether it was malignant or not. They never did find out.

Summer 2005, a new tumor came, in her back, followed soon by a third in her leg. But, she did not want to spend another summer in the hospital, so she decided to spend it with her friends and with me. But once the summer was over, she could no longer put it off. There was pain. She called them her children, like little fetuses springing up all over body. By winter,  I had lost count. 10 or 15 tumors…she had to be hospitalized repeatedly. Test after test neither confirmed nor denied their malignancy. But the doctors treated them like malignancies and gave her anti-cancer drugs and pain medication…

February 27th 2006 Aiko passed away from complications due to these malignancies.

I loved her very much and I still miss her. She was Japan to


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Copyright © 2010 Loco in Yokohama / All Rights Reserved

Please know that this blog is my original writing and may not be reproduced in any way without the expressed written permission of the author (that's me!) Thanks!

Words I love…

Everybody is a star
I can feel it when you shine on me
I love you for who you are
Not the one you feel you need to be
Ever catch a falling star
Ain't no stopping 'til it's in the ground
Everybody is a star
One big circle going round and round

Words by: Sly Stone

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