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Chapter Six: Soba dinner

January 26, 2011

Outside of Shinjuku Nishiguchi Oedo exit, it is the grimy, noisy, dirty part of Shinjuku where the homeless hang out, where the cheapest eateries are to be found. I ask Josef what he wants for dinner, he says something with not too much meat. I think, and walk with him down the stores with the dirt-covered, age-destroyed signs and come across one place with a beautifully clean and simple interior.

 

“Is this place alright with you?”

 

We walk in, there is no one else there. The menu is in Japanese, and Josef asks me to order for him: something with no meat, he’ll trust my choice. I order him something with ume.

I study your face a bit more. You are actually rather handsome, with ruddy red skin rather than the sallow face I saw in the photo, deep-set blue eyes, and an even expression. Your lips are too small for your face, looking fragile and underdeveloped like a child’s mouth, but anyway that’s only one side of you.

 

We eat, and I ask him, “What do you think is your greatest motivation for people in life?” I ramble on. “You know, some people are motivated by money, by ambition, by desire for fame…”

You say with a stone-cold straight face, “That is easy. Sex.”

I am so shocked my jaw actually drops, but you carry on.

 

“Sex is the greatest motivation of every human being on this planet. The brain is programmed to think of sex as priority.” and you explain your stance, but your English is unclear and I’m not following.

 

We finish our noodles, soba, and each split the bill. We walk back to Shinjuku Station, few words between us. I think the dinner went alright, but the train mistake was utterly unforgivable, un-redeemable. The curse has not ended. This is definitely the first and last date, I sigh.

 

We arrive at the underground stairs to part, and Josef hands me his business card. It says

Josef S.

Researcher

 

QUANTUM MECHANICS

 

I’m familiar with this ritual. We exchange business cards as a kind of consolation that we shall never ever contact each other again, and after a year has passed, and we are doing our spring cleaning, the card will go into the garbage.

“Thanks…here’s mine,” I say weakly, and hand him one of my unused, never-before-given business card. It’s all in Japanese, of course, so you can’t read it.

He awkwardly puts his arms around me for a hug, and I am comforted by the warmth of your chest. He treats me like a child, not like a woman, I think gloomily.

 

We part ways, and I feel my knees weak with discouragement. Oh well. It was worth a try. I hurry home to catch some sleep before an early shift the next morning, at 7am.

 

************

I am at work, bored as usual, pretending to work. It’s an uninteresting job — better than others, but I constantly feel bored and underutilized.

I check my email, waiting for the usual “biznews” update, but am surprised when I see one new message with the name “Josef S” — subject line “Hi”.

Anxiously, I open the message.

 

“Hi Yuki,

 

How do you do? Are you hard at work or hardly working? Would you like to meet for a drink this Saturday?”

 

I am astounded. How could anyone want to see me again after that non-date? Furtively, I write back,

“Yes, I would love to, but in the future could you please send all emails to my personal address at jUhugusuku@gmail.com?”

I wrote it as if to accuse him of something. Of course he wrote to my

 

Josef S

to me

show details 6/28/09  

 

 

 

Hi Yuki,

I’m also at work, but I guess unlike you, I’m hardly working right now:)

 

Ok, 9pm is fine. I could leave work earlier (basically it is up to me) and meet you somewhere close to your office.

 

 

I also like you Yuki, you’re smart and cute – a rare combination indeed. I’m thinking about a “light romance”, spending time together, having laugh, traveling, having a hug or kiss and sometimes maybe more. Somewhere between friendship and love relationship. What is your view?

btw: I found out that it is easier to talk about such complicated matters off-line, one is not under pressure to answer immediately and has enough time to think….

 

If you are ok with my “view”, what about the drink tomorrow or on Wednesday?

 

See you,

J

 

 

PS: don’t worry, you can reply in the evening or tomorrow (when no one is reading you emails).

 

 

Reply   Forward        

 

 

Reply

 

|

 

Yuki Uhugusuku

to Josef

show details 6/29/09  

 

 

 

Hey Josef,

 

My thoughts exactly, actually. You mentioned that in your profile, and I’m temporary in Japan (may leave for Canada any time) so can’tget in too deep with anyone living here.

I do, however, think you’re a real gentleman — not so common among Japanese guys — and have the kind of wise attitude that I seldom find in people.

How about Wednesday, then? Maybe 9:10pm or so at Shibuya station (or somewhere near there?)

 

Take care,

 

Yuki

– Show quoted text –

On Mon, Jun 29, 2009 at 12:46 PM, Josef S <jS@gmail.com> wrote:

Hi Yuki,

I’m also at work, but I guess unlike you, I’m hardly working right now:)

 

Ok, 9pm is fine. I could leave work earlier (basically it is up to me) and meet you somewhere close to your office.

 

 

I also like you Yuki, you’re smart and cute – a rare combination indeed. I’m thinking about a “light romance”, spending time together, having laugh, traveling, having a hug or kiss and sometimes maybe more. Somewhere between friendship and love relationship. What is your view?

btw: I found out that it is easier to talk about such complicated matters off-line, one is not under pressure to answer immediately and has enough time to think….

 

If you are ok with my “view”, what about the drink tomorrow or on Wednesday?

 

See you,

J

 

 

PS: don’t worry, you can reply in the evening or tomorrow (when no one is reading you emails).

 

 

 

 

Yuki Uhugusuku

 

 

 

Reply   Forward        

 

 

Reply

 

|

 

Josef S

to me

show details 6/29/09  

 

 

 

Yuki Uhugusuku wrote:

Hey Josef,

My thoughts exactly, actually. You mentioned that in your profile,

yeah, but I want to be sure that you understand. I don’t really want to hurt you;-)

 

 

and I’m temporary in Japan (may leave for Canada any time) so can’tget in too deep with anyone living here.

any time you say, so let’s go to the Fuji-san in July.

 

 

I do, however, think you’re a real gentleman — not so common among Japanese guys — and have the kind of wise attitude that I seldom find in people.

It’s not that didn’t grab your ass when I had the first opportunity ?:))  (just joking)

 

 

How about Wednesday, then? Maybe 9:10pm or so at Shibuya station (or somewhere near there?)

9:10pm (or so, I wasn’t able to find metro time schedule on the web anywhere)  Shibuya it is.

btw: Do you know whether there is a supermarket close to the station? I need to buy a tracksuit (for iai keiko, it will take weeks to get hakama).

 

Sweet dreams Yuki

 

 

I sigh. Wednesday, 9:10pm. Finally there is something to look forward to, something besides work.

 

 

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