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Chapter Fifteen: Sad to Say

February 4, 2011

You don’t even turn back, and I feel devastated.

The winds grow stronger, now, but the crowd is not moving an inch. The icy rain starts to bead on our faces like pellets. I am crying, and swearing under my breath.

Bastard…! I think to myself. The sunrise is so important that you would abandon me for a glimpse from the top. A part of me is hurt, betrayed, and another defensive, coldly rational part is trying to explain why this happened.

He doesn’t know me, I hardly know him. For him, reaching the summit and feeling that morning sun on his face is more important than feeling my hand in his. Fucker! Asshole! TRAITOR!!

The whispered words hang uselessly in the air, and disperse in the wind.

It’s OK, it’s OK, I tell myself, hyperventilating. Don’t take it personally. This Josef, you have only known him a month, he is not even a close friend.

But the memory of you kissing me just before we started climbing keeps coming up in my mind, and tears blur my vision. I am ashamed to think how completely I had fallen for your show of gallantry, of chivalry. All an empty farce…The realization hits me:

You cannot be counted on. You are big and strong and intelligent, but I cannot count on you to protect me.

Try as I might to be calm, and unemotional, the cold wind, the unmoving crowd of strangers, the winds and rain take their toll on me. I am knocked down several times as we inch ahead at an unbearably slow pace, several steps at a time, then a minute of complete immobility. I cannot feel my fingers anymore — they itch like crazy and are puffed up, swollen.  As I start scratching my fingers raw with my nails, while the tears streaming down my face. I feel alone. The more time passes, the more I am thrown off balance, and by the time we finally reach through the fog to the summit, my nerves are completely shot.  At this time, I just want to leave — I feel like my heart has been gutted, and my eyes glare at all the climbers who blocked the path for so long, I glare at the fog, cursing everything in sight.

“Yuki! Yuki!” You shout, running up to me.

When I see you, my mind doesn’t register you at first — I push you away violently, and walk around zombie-like, with no particular direction.

You grab me again, or say something, I do not remember, but I am still unable to communicate — I shout some incoherent words, muttering “fuck you,” and you say something like you were looking for me, that you stayed and waited for me awhile, but went ahead after you could not find me, and figured we would both meet at the summit.

Probably, this made perfect sense to you at the time. But I am furious, outraged and disillusioned. I am your girl…am I not? What do you take me for, expecting me to fend for myself, alone in this furious wind and ice?

You invite me to eat something. I want to refuse, to spit in your face, but I am also deathly hungry and feeling ill from the cold. I need something immediately, and there is nothing to eat…except Ramen.

It seems to be the only thing available at the summit-hut, crowded with climbers. Still in a zombie state, I sit down, angrily, and order cheap oden while you have ramen. We eat, letting the ceramic bowl warm our fingers. Somewhere within that time, I seem to have snapped a photo of you, holding up your ramen.

Our descent  —- I shuddered to think we had to climb back down —- was the same as before, you forging ahead, out of my sight and becoming smaller and smaller like a dot on the horizon, taking giant steps on the dirt road while I trudged slowly down, cursing like mad, trying to reason that this was just an experience.

I will go straight back to Shinjuku, alone, I told myself. When this is all through, I don’t even want to see your face anymore. Anger bubbles at boiling point inside my chest, and I can feel my hair going white with silent resentment. In the ending few kilometres, you wait up for me, and I ask you to not walk ahead of me for the duration of the trip. But my face is drained of expression, I am so angry and do not want to be in your presence.

On the way back, staring emptily at the black windows of the Yamanote line, I wonder if I should propose that you find a new traveling companion, a strong-legged European girl who can keep up with your pace, someone who won’t slow you down. But then I think back to your patience with me during our first dates, how you hugged me and made me feel wanted even after I screwed up. You had something, a spirit that I loved, and surely this Fujisan experience was just one minor storm, not worth jumping ship over. Seeing the Tokyo nightscape through blurry eyes, I tell myself that you didn’t give up on me when I made a mistake, so I’m not going to give up on you either.

******

For the short while after our descent from Fuji-san, I remained dazed and cautious, not wanting to get too close — it feels like a controlled experiment, where I consciously put my hand through fire to find out how long it will be before my skin will burn off.

 

I arrive home, a sense of cold dread washing over me as I insert my keys into the dingy wooden door in the cold basement. Opening the door, I am greeted by pitch black darkness. The cold fluorescent light. The

But even as my guard is on, I find I am, for no particular reason, utterly thrilled whenever we meet. For the first time, I believe I understand what dogs feel like — you are not my owner, but it’s that same strange, unquestioning sense of joy in my heart when you are near.

Probably due to my drab existence in Tokyo, my life lights up when you come into view. The way you stroke my head, extend your hand out ever so slightly to the side to invite me to place my hands to join yours, the way you hug me close when we wait at the traffic lights, or snuggle on the sheets, watching TV shows from your screen — all of these are minutes and seconds that register in my mind as crystal —

I know I cannot trust you. And yet I cannot afford to alienate you.

Chapter Fourteen: Betrayal at Mount Fuji

February 4, 2011

I am struck by the enthusiasm you have for traveling — it seems every second time I receive an email from you, you suggest a new unheard-of location where you want to travel, an obscure town or mountain trail, an hour or two away from Tokyo by train.

It eats away at my balance, and I gulp and sweat as I look up the grey numbers on Hyperdia.com, the tell-all website for everything transport related in Japan. It’s expensive…but this is the price of romance, and I’m willing to pay, rather than to save money and be lonely at home.

In my effort to keep up with your wanderlust, I look for places to travel as well, but you seem to have this down to an art, and an extensive list built up over the last month. I drop my search and decide to go along with wherever you have decided, as it will give a chance to see somewhere I have never seen before.

On the train, I bury my face into your soft, warm cotton-covered chest as the train sways. I almost have to stifle a giggle because I know how scandalous we must look to the older seniors on the train. But you are much bolder with your expression of affection/lust in public — the first few times, I was surprised to feel your hand groping down my shirt and rubbing my breast while we sat on a bench or a train.

It seems scandalous to me at first — I whimper a little in my mind as I feel your fingers in my shirt: this is inappropriate, don’t do this in public. But it is amazing how years of solitude and daydreaming of affection will warp your sense of shame. My eyes can no longer see any eyes from the people around us. I can hear no voice, can sense no fingers pointed in our direction.

Waters became rough and stormy for me in late July, as we embarked on our first “big trip” in Japan — to climb the one and only Mount Fuji, Fujisan. As a Japanese Canadian, I am mostly immune to the mythos of Fujisan, but my love of mountains and their majesty makes Fuji a desirable challenge. I read that it can be a quite difficult climb, but having watched documentaries of wrinkled men conquering its summit, I am excited at the prospect of watching the sun rise from the peak.

We meet at Ueno Station to go to Gotemba, a non-descript city at the foot of Mount Fuji. It’s our very first long road trip together, and I am overjoyed at being able to travel with you, a huggable and kissable travel companion in a strange and foreign land. You put your huge arm around me and hold me up close — the very first time anyone has ever done so — and I close my eyes in bliss, feeling your warm pulse beneath your tee-shirt. This is heaven, I think, surely even the pillows of clouds in Paradise could not feel as comforting as your chest right now.

But very quickly, I am given the reminder that I am still very much down on earth — in my position of leaning over against your body, I  have cut off the circulation to my legs on my right side, with my side folding over my thighs. Sweating, I try to move my legs slightly to get the blood flowing past my right hip, but already my foot is starting to feel numb and tingly, starting to lose its feeling. Goddamnit, I think.

I don’t want to break this beautiful union, this feeling of your body. But I want to feel my leg! So this is what they meant about “to love is to suffer” — my right foot is really suffering now.

 

The minutes tick by, and I briefly ponder if it is immoral to make my toes the martyrs of my feelings toward a for a new guy who has been with me for a fraction of the time that my feet have lived under me. Feeling obliged, I shift my weight around a bit more drastically so that the vessels are unblocked, that precious blood flows freely toward my now-pale and trembling feet. But this movement has come with a price, and now you lift your lovely arm off my shoulders, and straighten yourself in your seat so that I am separated now. Nooo, I groan to myself, and wait for the next moment to lean on you again. We repeat this several times, until we arrive at our destination — through our window, we see the majestic contour of Mount Fuji, rising up like a monument against the sky. It is enormous, nothing like the tiny gray triangle that I can see on a sunny day in Tokyo.

Off the train, though, we set foot in a lifeless, gray, windy little town called Gotemba. There is a tourist office just across the street, but even the staff look humbled and bewildered about what there is to do here — there are golf parks and amusement parks, but this is all about an hour away from town by bus. We amble through the abandoned Pachinko stores, ponder the cheap dessert and pasta house with a cartoon girl in pigtails on the advertising sign. I insist on buying you lunch, so we try to find a nice restaurant, but incredibly, everything downtown is closed, and we end up eating at a bland, creaky Chinese restaurant where I feel almost guilty for inviting you.

After our un-Chinese meal, we still have several hours to kill until the hike begins, at 10:30pm tonight. Although it was planned to be left for after the hike, you and I decide to go to the onsen with the Mount Fuji view, just to see what we are up against. We take the bus down to the onsen — there are only several buses a day on this shady green mountainous road — and we walk in to what is my first ever onsen experience, one of many for us. It’s a strange facility, glass and surrounded by trees, and I move uncertainly into the Onnayu (Women’s) section as you take your towel and stride into Otokoyu, after promising to meet me back here in an hour. I strip my clothes off, self-consciously, and cover my nipples with my bare wrists as I slide open the door to find a wide bath filled with women of all ages, filled with drooping rectangular breasts, little children running around, steam filling into the room. I had never even changed in front of strangers before — here, being completely nude was beyond my usual comfort zone but my attention to peoples’ eyes was soon diluted because I realized everyone was looking at something else.

There it was, outside the window— Fujisan’s elegant contours, glowing in the sunset.

I looked at the mountain wistfully, feeling it almost surreal that we were about to climb such a majestic slope. I watched it  as sun went down, forgetting my own nakedness amidst strangers.

An hour later, I met up with you — hair still wet, smiling — as we went outside to catch our last bus. We waited on the roadside, watching as the cars zoomed by, going down the steep slope back to Gotamba city. I looked at my watch — 5:20, the bus should really be here by now. Perhaps my watch is just fast, I shrug, and we wait. Still no bus. Finally, I begin to feel a bit anxious and wonder what we will do if we cannot catch the 7pm bus going to Fujisan, but you remain calm and keep waiting, until at last at 5:29, we see the outline of the bus and sigh in relief.

When night falls, we are waiting at the Gotemba bus station just outside the train station, along with other climbers of Fujisan. I marvel at the loud group of International students — some Korean, Chinese, others Indian — who excitedly chat as they look for the bus. Some of them are only wearing flip-flops and simple windbreakers, and I wonder how they expect to endure the long overnight climb. The bus comes to pick everyone up, and I rest my head on your shoulder as we go up a rocky, dark terrain, for what seems like days before the bus finally pulls over in a large parking lot, with some cabins nearby.

It’s about 9pm, and we look about with curious eyes as hikers pass by us, decked out in raingear, massive headlights and wooden sticks with Fujisan’s name burned into the surface. Small flying bugs plant themselves on the surface of the large light bulbs in the cabin — you wander in, looking for beer, but looking at the ridiculous pricing, content yourself for a stick of ice cream. We wait, you saying it’s probably too early now, as we will be an hour before sunrise if we leave at this moment. We quietly watch the other hikers stroll by in the dark, with their heavy coats and boots. We put on our headlights and sit in the crowded cabin, waiting.

Finally, the clock turns past 9:45 and we decide to go steadily, commencing our all-night walk. I walk with you to the foot of the mountain-forest path, and just before we plunge into the mountain, I see you turn around and look at my face,, and am confused for a moment as you cover my headlight with your huge palm, your half-closed blue glowing eyes the last thing I see before you cover my lips with your kiss. It’s a sexy, unexpected kiss that will remain forever etched in my memory.

We walked and walked uphill, along with a great deal of other Japanese climbers. The first several kilometers were claustrophobic, impossible to walk in a straight line without bumping into somebody, so we swerved and weaved and dodged our way past crowds, until after about an hour, the hill suddenly became very steep. Whereas I saw step-like paths and dark forests for the last while, now I only saw a steep slope, barren and only spotted by a few short trees along the way. Climbers like us were making their way up the hill like ants on a sand-hill, slowly, struggling, slipping every now and then. You and I are fairly strong hikers, so we took advantage of this spot to forge ahead of others who had collapsed for a rest along the slope, their presence marked by clusters of loud chatting and heavy breathing in the dark.

After charging uphill for awhile, I gasp at the scenery before us. We are now completely exposed, no trees to protect us, beneath a star-sprinkled blue sky — it is nothing like the fresh, clear, powdery blue of daytime , but a deep, rich, incomparable sapphire shade of deep ocean at midnight — the mountain slopes stretch out bare, majestic, lonely and bare before our eyes. Everything now is at a steep angle, and we must take caution when we walk, especially now that the cold mountain winds have begun howling, and the clouds are moving quickly across the sky, covering up parts of starry sky.

We walk and walk, and finally take a bit of a rest when you find a space behind a large, slanted slab of rock, which blocks off the slicing razor blades of wind. We lie down on the grass, hearing the wind howling with uncertainty. Somehow, even though my insides are nervous about a coming storm, I feel very calm and warm here, laying behind this wall-like rock, comforted by your huge, warm body amidst the cold mountain weather. You pull out a bag of beef jerky from your bag, and we chew, contemplating the scenery, in silent communion with each other. I peer out from the rock, looking above, and see that the full silver moon floating in the sky, like a goddess. The moonbeams are so bright that we do not need a flashlight — I can see the stretch of mountain before us, I can see your face.

After several minutes, we crawl out of the rock like wild animals, and begin to trudge uphill again.

It goes on like this for a very long time, and we pass through, from checkpoint to checkpoint very smoothly. At one checkpoint, there is an irritating amount of people, but we stop and have hot chocolate — 400 yen for a small cup — because my hands are freezing and I feel we need a rest. It is 4a.m., and you are quickening your pace, wanting to reach the summit before the sun rises. I feel my energy draining from the cold — my cold blood slowing me down — but do not say anything, hoping that we will have a smooth finish.

Yet the further we go uphill, it seems, the more crowded it gets, the more clogged the path becomes, and the weather is collapsing. The starry, clear skies that we saw on the slope is a distant memory now, it is starting to rain.

The terrain gets rockier and rockier, and the wind is so strong now that it nearly knocks me down when a strong gale whips through the high altitudes. A fog has settled in, and we cannot see straight ahead.

Around this point, something about our journey crumbles. From my perspective, that is. I realize this is the first strong manifestation of my worst weakness —- poor communication, I have the language and a voice but am so unconfident that others will understand what I say. I am tired and in a bad state from the weather, but cannot bring myself to tell you that I am tired and need you to slow down for me, that I am about to fall behind if you don’t slow down. I know that you want to reach the summit before sunrise, and I don’t wish to slow you down — I am also deathly afraid of being seen as a poor climber, and a part of me really just wants to push myself, see if I can push myself and show no weakness or slowness in the final stretch ahead. But it doesn’t work, I slip and fall several times, and I somehow believe that you will notice my heavy breathing and stumbling and slow down for me. The terrible weakness of Japanese culture, ingrained since childhood — this misguided belief that things do not have to be said out loud, that people will pick up on the clues and do for us what we are too shy to request aloud.

It doesn’t work. My footsteps fail, and as we reach the foggy, cold final stretch of the mountain, we are caught in a traffic jam of climbers, winding snake-like up a narrow rock path leading to the summit. The winds are strong now, and people are grabbing a rope for balance, not to lose their way. I see you frustrated, muttering something, and break away from the crowd to race up the hill with your strong legs, scaling the hill.

“Wait!! ” I scream. Or believe I scream. Probably, my pride prevented me from screaming while you were still within hearing range. When I see that you are climbing ahead without me, I scream, aloud this time, “Wait!! Josef! Wait for me!!”

Perhaps I have only screamed because I know you will not have heard me, but before I know it, tears are flowing down my face as I watch your back become smaller and smaller, and fade into the long line of people grabbing on the rope.

Chapter Thirteen: Tabooed Love

February 3, 2011

Everything seemed slightly different after I lost my virginity. The longing for sex, always eating away at my consciousness like hungry mice, had suddenly disappeared. I looked at couples holding hands, and no longer felt aroused with jealousy. Seeing my reflection in the mirror, I smiled at the curves of my body and felt like someone who had proven her woman’s worth in the real world — sex, a tragic experience for many women around the world, was to me like passing a job interview, getting a high-school diploma, or getting a driver’s license. It was a kind of certification that I was a real woman.

But it was just that, a certification — it created some sense of confidence, but did not radically change who I was.

Becoming a “woman” did not make me any more mature or self-confident: I was still a clutz, with a permanent adolescent awkwardness around men that clung to me despite my gray hairs and fine wrinkles. My silver RMK lipstick remained mostly smooth like plastic, untouched. My red high heels and purple mules gathered a film of dust, then mould, as they sat unwanted on the windowsill, away from my ugly gray-concrete doorway.

Was I in love? Yes, I was in love! Josef, I want to scream your name from the rooftops! Oh, Josef! Dear Gods, thank you for making my first experience so beautiful, I thanked the Tokyo sky deliriously, conveniently forgetting that the decision to go out with Josef was precisely my first conscious act of defiance and betrayal against divine will.

The blue skies stared back at me blankly, showing neither approval nor overt disapproval.

Convinced of it, in fact, so much so that I was giggling to myself and skipping with arms outstretched as I traveled alone down the narrow, white-walled residential street to buy my daily groceries.

But every time I became too happy about my lovemaking experience, a black sword slashed away at my happiness, engraving words into my consciousness, leaving blood dripping from the wounds.  You are the Other Woman, the sword wrote. You are not the One he loves, You are not his girlfriend, he is not your boyfriend. You are a cheap sex friend, a fuck buddy, a time-killer for his lonely foreigner life.

These wounds, I bandaged them up the best I could, but they began to pulsate and bleed when I saw signs that Josef did not want to try too hard to impress me. At start, he rarely took me out to dinner: we ate bread and onigiri from the 100-yen shop. I did not expect him to wine and dine me, but I was troubled when he only gave me meagre bites of his onigiri for dinner, just rice, no meat, no vegetables. This was simply how Josef lived, austere and simple, but I blamed myself mercilessly — surely, if I was his girlfriend, he would have .

The first flowers he bought me were fake, orange-and-white cloth flowers, which made me so sad, so pathetic inside that I could not even fake a smile.

I am not even worth a real bouquet of flowers, I thought to myself, fingers wrapping limply around the clear plastic wrapping.

He called me “beautiful” in his emails, “sweetie,” “my little flower”– even if these words were tattered cards used  by every playboy in the world, they made my heart soar.

But “love” was taboo.

This is the word we consciously avoided in our communication, blacked out like a scene from 1984. “Like” was fine, “admire” was acceptable, but “love” was not allowed, and not appropriate for a temporary coupling that was only to last a year or two at best, with Miroslava still waiting in the Czech Republic.

After the rush of the first night, the subsequent times we made love always left me with mixed reactions.

Of course, I loved the act of making love — I loved the way you inhaled open-mouthed with pleasure when you pushed yourself fully inside me, I loved your dreamy, tender smile as you brushed your hand on my face, I loved the way you tenderly kissed me on the forehead. I was surprised and awed at the way you loved to tickle me, how you tied me down with cloth ribbons and tickled me until I was sure the floor was shaking from the sound of my squeals of laughter.

All this was like heaven.

But what brought me down was always moments alone, after our lovemaking, when I reflected on the reality that you do not plan to fall in love with me, or take any responsibility for me after you tire of me.

What kind of circumstance was this? If we are not making love, what are we doing? What was I doing with a man who wanted to have my body without giving me his heart?

It was during this troubled, feverish summer that I experienced the first storm in our relationship.

Chapter Twelve: First Night

February 2, 2011

Our first night is on July 27th — a summer day. The God of summer in Japan has a slightly malicious streak: he makes the air in this city so sticky, unbreathably heavy: he cranks it up like a sauna so that people ooze sweat as they walk down the street, trying to look dignified in their black suits.

Our first night. It’s official — tonight is the night you will take me.

We are at your place, and kiss passionately with our clothes on, standing in front of your bed, when you pick me up and lift me up high, so that I am above you was we aggressively kiss each other with our tongues inside each other, rocking together, and you lower my body slightly so that the tip of your erection brushes against the contour of my panties. You suggest that we have a shower first before taking things further, and I breathlessly agree.

When I take off my clothes, you notice,

“Ah! You shaved everything.”

“Yes,” I blush. “Isn’t that what you wanted?”

“No, you can leave the hair here,” you say, brushing your hand on the now-hairless triangle of skin between my legs. “This will be very itchy for you when it grows back,” you say sympathetically.

“I see, sorry, I didn’t know,” I apologize, blushing.

You brush it off, saying it’s okay, and lend me your red tank top as something to cover my nude body as we head toward the shower.

It is still quite new to me to have a shower together with a man with your skinny, bookish male floormates fully aware of the sounds coming out of the shower room. But I learn to ignore my self-consciousness and love the claustrophobic space of the shower, water streaming down as your enormous hands soap as you lather me up, your eyes gazing into mine as you slide your index finger up my pussy, cleaning it out gently before you do your thing. I moan softly and look up at your face: your expression is so serene, like an angel.

We make quick work of the shower and walk back to your room, the jealous gaze of floormates following our backs as they sit resentfully in front of the television, alone on a Friday night.

You close the door and turn off the switch, leaving only the dim glow of your bed light. You lift me onto your bed, with my legs dangling out over your elbow like a fairy tale princess, and set me down gently on your covers.

As I lie down, naked on your bed, heart pounding, I see you fumbling with your laptop on the bed. Eyebrows scrunched, I wonder what it could be — are you checking your email when we’re about to make love?

But then you motion for me to watch the screen, and I see: it’s a BBC program, a kind of tutorial about sex. A smile penetrates my face, wiping away the look of anxiety I must have had only a moment earlier. I watch in eager fascination as the screen shows me the inner workings of an orgasm, what the brain is feeling as it reaches climax. It is slightly horrifying to see the woman’s thermograph-outlined body jiggle violently like earthquake jello at the moment of her orgasm, whatever that is.

Half my mind is still focused on your meaty, muscular torso lying beside me, the delightful ruddy colour of your cheeks as you watch beside me. Even though you are much larger than me — well over a foot taller in fact — the size difference between you and me is extremely endearing.

I am not sure how it looks in your eyes, whether or not you are pleased with having a miniature partner.

But to me, having such a large man to hold gives me a similar feeling of sitting at a table with a huge buffet, or lying on a King-sized bed with a feather and silk blanket all to myself. It’s a feeling of superabundance, a kind of richness and the satisfaction of knowing I will not have to restrain myself in any way.

After a few minutes, you reach over to the keyboard again and press a button.

I hear the wafting music, a blurred police siren, and dreamy, echoing tremble of Mylene Farmer’s song echoing in through the room. C’est sexy le ciel de Californie….

I am speechless in amazement, unable to articulate my delight. How did you know....? Did I write you once that this song is my favorite, permanently bookmarked in my mind as the sexiest song in living memory?

You turn me over on my back, holding my hands down. Perhaps I’m doing this caressing thing all wrong, and that’s why you keep pinning my hands to the bed, I think, but it dawns on me that you like to be dominant, and once this is in mind, the pressure is off me. I stop worrying about kissing your body the right way, and close my eyes to enjoy the music and the sensation of your lips planting soft kisses on my neck, my shoulders, the space between my chest, my left nipple —- oh, that feels good —  and then my stomach. I worry that I will burst out laughing, but only inhale hard — it is truly a beautiful experience.

“What is your fantasy?” I hear you whisper in my ear as you plant kisses on my shoulders.

My mind freezes. I have never been asked that before, and it seems like the fantasies I have are buried in the deepest darkest corner of my closet, in a hidden folder within a journal that no one ever reads. Probably for other people it is more like a folder in plain sight on the desk. To tell you might be a social faux-pas altogether — as a teen, I rather disturbingly got turned on by mild violence and pain-induced moans, but would rather not give any misleading ideas of me on the receiving end of a fake torture session (it used to be the reverse that turned me on, but I am not sure this would get me so excited now) — so I am left with words building up, catching in my throat.

“What do you desire?” you ask again, looking into my face. This time I think more realistically about what I want.

“I desire….I’d like to be tied down,” I say. Not bound on the floor, like some people, but tied by the wrists and ankles, and penetrated hard. This is perhaps commonplace, but no an easy one to admit because it is similar to the images of girls in third-world brothels being tied to their bed and dozens of clients a day. While being abused is hardly sexy, I would like to be “taken” this way, my breasts licked away like softened ice cream and penetrated while on my back, with your face in full view as I watch you fuck me. I am not a fan of being on top, and have rarely fantasized about doggie style — ideal sex for me is to be completely horizontal, not bent in a perpendicular angle. Anal sex I slightly want to try, but fear the inevitable mess and stench and probable bleeding would not be worth the curiosity satisfaction.

I would also like my clothes cut off piece by piece with scissors and have honey or cream licked off of me one day, but the tying down is the most appealing for now.

“I’d like to be tied to the bed, my hands tied up,” I murmur. You nod and say fine, this can be arranged, soon.

Your hands move further south, below my belly, and you reach the vulnerable hairless opening, and I feel your fingers part my labia, stroking the wet opening with a soft touch. You then roughly rub your palm over my clitoris, my juices flowing all over your hand as you pinpoint your focus on my clitoris, stroking harder and harder.

I look up at your face, and realize I have never seen anything so sexy and beautiful as your smiling face in the dim light, eyes half-closed as you look into my face, attentive, dreamy. Just looking into that face, I feel like my barriers are crumbling down. I am no longer afraid, I want to feel you inside me.

You ask me if I feel ready, and I nod eagerly — yes, I want you to come inside me now.

I see you spread my thighs, and pull back to position your intimidatingly long, hard erect penis. Only for a moment, I feel frightened at the thought of such a thing inside me, for you soon push the tip against my wet lips and gently rub against the opening.

Quickly, your hand reaches for the condom and you separate yourself for a brief moment as you roll the condom on your erect penis like a glove.

As my gaze is fixated on your now encased condom, you put your arms around my thighs and pull back into position, smiling at me, your lips turning slightly serious as you push your wide head inside — I feel a slight, sudden pain, like something too large is going to tear its way inside. I open my lips to whisper, please go slowly, but you are careful with me, I can trust you.

Time and space seem to lose meaning as I lay back and feel your manhood penetrate deeper and deeper, centimeter by centimeter, pain followed by waves of pleasure that I have never felt before.

I feel lightheaded, not longer fully part of this reality, as something

Finally, when I think I feel completely filled, like I cannot accommodate another inch more, lean forward onto me, your naked torso now rubbing against my breasts.

Exhaling sexily with satisfaction, you murmur in a low voice in my ear the words I will never forget: “You’re a woman now,” you breathe.

At those words, I felt as if a wall inside me had been shattered. You pin my wrists to the bed and start to thrust your hips, slowly, rhythmically, inside my body, my fluids dripping as your penis pushes in, and out, in and out. I am in an intoxicated state of consciousness, too much sensory stimulation to take in all at once. You grab my breasts with your hand, squeezing them, sinking your lips and teeth into them briefly, and feeling my nude body all over as you continue to push inside me, deep and hard. The thrusting rhythm picks up pace, and my first small moans start escaping my lips as I hear the sound of sex for the first time ringing through my ears. My pleasure builds and builds, like a pyramid being constructed in my nerves, and finally I hear you breathe out hard, the distinct sensation of warm ejaculation inside your condom.

You pull out, breathing hard, heavily, spent. Thank you, I whisper to myself, my gaze on your sweat-soaked forehead as you pull off the condom, and still muster the energy to rub my pussy as you lie down beside me, your chest rising and falling, your heart beating against me.

I’m now no longer a virgin.

We’ve made love.

Something inside me has changed.

Chapter Eleven: Tickle, Tickle, Tickle

February 2, 2011

Even as my pill Odyssey continues, we are still seeing each other. All-natural sex without is still awhile away, but we’re meeting again, and my heart skips and dances a jig as soon as work ends because I can’t wait to see you again.

Later in the week, I meet you at Akamon for the very first time — I am amazed as I see the gate to the famous Todai (Tokyo University) campus, where all the best and brightest from Japan congregate. The buildings are old, brick, turn-of-the-century and exude the hopes and grandiose ambitions of Japanese from a past era, striving to stand level ground with their Western rivals.

We pass through the campus, and begin our first in a long string of ambulant walks from Akamon to your room in Kuramae. We walk around the beautiful Ueno park lake, you sitting on the bench to view the landscape and bringing my hips down to your lap, so that we can view sun setting over the lake, ducks swimming by, bobbing in the water. I put an arm around your broad shoulders and suddenly feel so small, you’re able to lift me up easily like a sack of rice. We kiss, cuddle, and I feel like I’ve known you for a thousand years, how naturally your touch feels as you put your hand in my shirt and cup my breasts.

We walk and walk, up to Ueno park, passing through to the large temple, crossing over the street to the bright and lively Ameyokocho, guarded by a giant pachinko parlour filled with deafening sounds and mind-assaulting displays on the machine’s screen. Our hands held together, we amble quietly past the market, up to the Korean corner of the district, then into the darkness of the road to Kuramae.

Arriving in your room at last, we strip down and hold each other on your bed. I let out a muffled giggle your fingers run softly along my back, like a flower touching skin surface.

As you stop and look inquisitively at my face, I give my second confession.

“I’m actually really ticklish, so please don’t be offended if I start laughing.” I warn you, a laugh already building up on my face.

“Really? ” you sound intrigued. With your intense blue eyes fixed on my face, you lay me flat on he bed, holding me down with your muscled hands so I can’t move.

I inhale, looking up at you in anticipation as you wiggle your fingers in the air for two seconds like a spider before eating its prey.

Without warning, your wiggling fingers land on my stomach, causing me to burst out in explosive laughter.

“Ah-ha-haaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!” I squeal. “Oh God, stop! Hahahahahahahaa!”

You look positively ticked yourself to find out I’m so sensitive toward tickling.

“Wow, you really are ticklish,” you murmur, an amused look in your big blue eyes.

You take both of my hands and put them together, holding them down on the bed with one of your huge ones, and look into my eyes mischievously as you sit on top of me.

“Uh, what are you . . . ?” I ask, but am auto-interrupted by screams and laughter when you let your left hand weave and draw squiggles across my exposed belly.

“Oh! Oh God! No! No! Nooo-hahahahahahahaha!” I scream, and laugh uncontrollably.

“Hmm, this is really fun,” you say, eyes shining with bemusement.

I was laughing and squirming on the pink sheet under the touch of his fingers, as though they were giving me electric shocks.

Leaning over me, you did the first of a joke you would often repeat:

“Shhhhhh. Be quiet, there are people trying to sleep,” you cold me in mock seriousness, all the while tickling me more and more until my face turns red and I am emitting a kind of cackling sound along with my laughter. I tried — badly — to hold my mouth shut and to wrench away from your grip, but it’s no use, I can’t avoid the 200-lb tickling machine.

Finally you decide I’ve had enough teasing for one night, and lie down beside me as I pant, trying to catch my breath.

“Hmm,” you contemplate. “this could be very interesting”.

We embrace each other, kissing, your hands now switching modes from tickling to caressing.

Your hand moves to touch between my legs, and draws away slightly after you notice that I have not shaved .

“It’s not that important,” you say to me, shrugging a bit, “But actually I prefer shaved.”

D’oh, I think, knowing that you had asked me to shave before, and I had merely given my nether-hairs a careful trimming. But am thankful that you have suggested it, rather than demanding that I be hairless before you even consider sex with me. With an embarrassed nod, I add that on my “to-do” list for next time. You are mercifully not obsessed with the notion, so continue to kiss and caress my naked body like before.  With a hesitant hand, I touch your penis, tugging at it and tightening my grip to make it grow harder.

I lean in and lick the head of your penis, putting the tender flesh in my mouth and sucking on it with my moistened mouth. You put a hand on my head and entangle your fingers in my hair as you begin to move your hip rhythmically, pumping so hard I am afraid I will choke on your penis. I wrap my right hand vigorously around the base of your penis, hoping it could absorb some of the impact at the back of my cock-filled throat. But you are so careful, making sure that I get a stop when I need, and within moments of when I feel I cannot hold on any longer, I feel a slight bitter taste in my mouth and then the squirt of liquid, streaming into my mouth.

It’s a bitter taste, but I swallow. It does not occur to me to spit.

So this is what will soon be going on inside me — I wonder if  we can last the full two weeks it will take for my pill.

Chapter Ten: Pill Odyssey

February 1, 2011

Pill, pill, pill.

 

I wander through the crammed, disorderly shelves at the corner drugstore, passing through the shimmery rainbow of cosmetics palettes and the boxes of chocolates and green tea piled up on the floor. There are headache medicines, cough medicines, vitamin pills. I move a few shelves down and spot the condum packages, absently picking one up as I look for the elusive pill. I’ve never even seen a package of pills before, only in magazines, most recently in a French magazine proclaiming pills to be the most revolutionary invention of the century, for letting “women take control of their bodies”. I have no idea what they look like, and after minutes of fruitless searching, finally ask a middle-aged man from the front counter.

 

“Anooo, suimasen,” I say, waving my hand gently to catch his attention. He looks up, and I lean in to whisper, “Do you happen to have ‘the pill’?”

The man raises his eyebrows, and shakes his head vigorously, waving his hand in front of his face.

“No, no, we don’t have the pill here!” he replies in a harsh, condemning whisper, turning his face away as he got back to organizing his batch of small batch of stomach medicines.

 

I encountered the same reaction from another store, before finally a lady employee who I asked gently told me, “You can’t find ‘the pill’ here, miss. You’ll have to get it from your doctor, a women’s specialist doctor.”

Really?” I ask in disbelief. Here, I had thought the pills could be bought as casually as cough drops.

 

“Yes. You need a proper prescription for them too. Go see your doctor for those,” she said, in a hushed voice, as if we were talking about a deceased relative at a funeral.

 

This is the thing that slightly bothered me about culture, not just here but everywhere. The furtive, panicky stuffing of menstruation pads inside paper bags, the hushed talk about condoms and and all things sex-related. It’s as bad as if I was buying medication for an anal infection or foot fungus. Was it such an embarrassing thing, this pill?

 

I walk out of the store, crossing my arms in contemplation as I cross the street. My doctor — I actually had no doctor yet in Tokyo. I had seen a doctor, in a clinic before, but was furious to find that I was being charged for it — Canadian clinics were free — so had lost my desire to deal with the doctors here, until now.

 

The next day, I walked outside in the morning sunshine with a map in hand, visiting three “women’s clinics” in my area to request the pill.

All three said they don’t prescribe it, the second doctor giving me such a cold, unblinking look as she said so that I wondered if this medication was something highly immoral in Japan.

 

Now that the clock is running near 11am, I have to head toward work — I walk over to Shiinamachi station, baseball hat blocking the bright sunlight, walking past the small family-owned veggie stores and fruits stands with hand-drawn signs cardboard signs poking out of piles of produce. Owned and operated by wrinkly, elderly men and women leading small lives, with the overwhelming, large drama of Japan’s past 50 years emblazoned in their cloudy eyes.

 

The ride from Shiinamachi to Ikebukuro station, and transfer to the Yamanote line is never pleasant. There is always something restless about Ikebukuro station, the droves of salarymen in black suits speed-walking toward work, the youth in expensively garish clothing looking for quick work in the city’s seedy gambling and prostitution dens, and the homeless, busy at work in their drinking and mind disturbances in the dirty underground floor of the subway station. Next to Shinjuku, it is the least liked station in Tokyo, and I always make a short run to the Yamanote train platform to avoid lingering too long in the station. And once on the Yamanote line platform, there is peace — and the slight butterflies-in-stomach as I reach INT, thinking and anticipating what news will be in the works this time.

 

As I get off Harajuku station and make my way past the shady green Yoyogi park to INT, I should be thinking about the business news, but I am preoccupied by the thought of pills.

What would it be like? Would I get fatter, start to produce milk or something? Would I still be vulnerable to STDs even if not pregnant? And what about the first sex experience? You are huge, as are your man parts: what if it hurt like hell, would I be able to bear it and go with it to the end?

 

What if I were incredibly dry, or (horror) revealed to have a really shallow vagina? Surely that would be a deal-killer. I had once heard of a girl who was rushed to the hospital her first time because her boyfriend’s rather long penis had pounded into her cervix — she had heard the first time was supposed to hurt, but didn’t expect to be vomiting and being carried out of her love nest in an ambulance. Shuddering, I think so long as that doesn’t happen, I should be fine.

 

I show my security card to the guards and walk up the stairs to the 7th floor — a form of exercise, and a calming ritual before the chaos of work. In the large newsroom, it feels instantly 2 degrees hotter than inside: there are so many, many people wandering about the room, the room is continually stuffy and lacking personal space. Pulling out my laptop from the cabinet, I squeeze uncomfortably between Naminori-san and Nao-san, who exchange greetings with me as I sit down.

“What’re you looking up?” asks Nao, bright eyes curious.

“Just some women’s clinics,” I say quickly, half-shutting my laptop. “I don’t have a doctor here yet.”

Naminori-san pipes in English, shaking her long, light brown surfer’s hair, “Ya know, there are some really good ones near Shibuya station, in the Ebisu direction, you should check them out.” Being the “big sister” personality that she is, she starts looking up several on her laptop, murmuring, “hmm, there are quite a lot of AIDS clinics and abortion centres….”  but I find one on Google and instantly feel this is the one.

 

After work, I walked out into the cloudy skies toward Shibuya station. The clinic was small, cozy, and the doctor — an elegant, tiny elderly woman — was completely different from the other doctors, patting my back and congratulating my “pill” decision.

 

She said, however, that insurance would not cover the costs, and that I would need various health tests in my woman parts before I could buy it, which would take a few more weeks. Having not done my research, I grumbled a bit about being in fine physical health, no need for testing. Mostly I was anxious about making you wait the extra time, but there would be no pill without a body exam, no questions asked.

Sighing, I scheduled my appointment and plodded down the stairs, thinking how many years ago I should have experienced this were I a normal girl.

 

Droplets of rain hit my face as I look up at the cloudy sky. Pulling up my hood, I walk down the busy streets, dreaming of warm vegetables and rice.

 

Chapter Nine: The Almost-first time

January 28, 2011

 

Wednesday, Shinjuku station. I am panting and sweating and out of breath — the hot summer air is sticky and clings to my skin. My workplace kept me until 9:15pm, and I’d been sprinting down the streets in the Shibuya district to try to meet you, like we promised, at Higashi Shinjuku Oedo Line Station. You finish your Iai practice somewhere around 8:30, so will meet me after I finish my work at 9:00pm. But alas, there was a meeting that droned on past 9, and I am running late. I am so nerve-wracked I can barely stand still on the Yamanote Line. Please, please go faster! I plead madly to the train, as if it could hear my thoughts. Why can’t we just skip Yoyogi, come on! It’s almost like an altered state of mind: even the two minutes it takes to reach the next station feels like an eternity.

 

The clock is already turning 9:35pm, by the time the Yamanote Line gets to Shinjuku. I slice through the crowd on the concrete stairs, running down at twice the speed of the Salarymen and young girls making their way to Shinjuku’s myriad bars, but when I reach the station’s interior, my feet come to a halt.

 

Where the hell is Higashi Shinjuku??

I run and run, hoping that I can reach the right way, but I have to stop in my tracks several times, the station is like a labyrinth. Higashi Shinjuku….Higashi…I decide the quickest way to reach you at this point is to go to the Toei Oedo line and meet you at Higashi Shinjuku. It’s already too far gone to be “fashionably late” so I call you up.

 

“東京なんて嫌い!(I hate Tokyo!)” I blurt out, almost sobbing, and the a few startled passerbys turn my way. Go ahead and stare, your train stations are a nightmare for people who are in a rush.

 

“Hi Josef! I’ll be there in 5 minutes!” I blurt out. You say you’ll be waiting, and I hope not to keep you there too long.

 

But as I jump onto the Oedo Line, my heart sinks to my stomach I see that the train is headed not toward Higashi Shinjuku at all, but to Tochomae.

 

“What the hell?!” I whisper, looking at the line’s trajectory. It turns out the Oedo line is a loop, and Shinjuku station is not, in fact, connected to Higashi Shinjuku: I have to now transfer at Tochomae, running through an overhead corridor, then take the train that will take me first to Shinjuku Nishiguchi, then finally Higashi Shinjuku.

By this time I’m so exhausted from the running and frenzied map-gazing, I slump down and call you again: I am going to be yet another 10 minutes late, possibly 15.

 

I feel disgusted with myself. Lateness is a form of disrespect — even though I ran as fast as I could, I am still going to be over 30 minutes late. Josef has probably already left….I would be burning in irritation if I were made to wait so long, just after all that waiting on our first date.

 

As I bolt out of the Higashi Shinjuku stop, however, I see you there, in your green tanktop, a sports bag over your shoulder.

I run up to you, rambling incoherently, explaining my lateness.

“I’m so sorry! So, incredibly sorry I’m late..the line…stopped— Tochomae….”

 

But you just look at me sympathetically with those big blue eyes and hug me close, and murmur “Otsukare,” patting your hand along my bristle-hard black hair.

Even though you are just one year older than me, you are so mature, I can’t help but feel like a small child in front of you.

 

I think in shock that you are the most patient man I have never seen — surely, even I would be oozing disapproval if I had to wait around for an hour-and-a-half after practice for my map-illiterate partner, but you seem to take it in stride and recognize by my panting that I wasn’t late for . I recall in your profile that you had a lot of empathy, and I now believe this.  and we take the Oedo line to Kuramae,

 

We walk up to to the third floor of Sakura House. I walk past some young people in the kitchen, wondering what they are cooking.

 

Your room is 304: we enter.

 

It’s austere and sparse, but well-lit and very roomy. There is a triangular black clock on the desk, a computer, and a simple bed.

 

You go take a shower, as I wait on your bed, leafing through the Lonely Planet “Japan” guidebook and some Czech books on your bookshelf.

 

And to be honest, I don’t even remember what happened in the first few moments after you come back from the shower. All I recall is that I didn’t even have too much time to be embarrassed or self-conscious, for you are suddenly stripping yourself naked and pick me up off my feet.

 

“Oh—-!” I yelp, feeling weightless in your huge arms.

 

With a flop, I feel my back hit the bed, and you industriously pull my clothes off — I don’t recall what it was, probably a dress — and a shudder goes up my spine when I see the expression on your face. You’re staring straight at me, eyes half-closed as if in a trance, a small, pleasurable smile on your parted lips.

 

And I had no idea a mere smile could make my cheeks feel so hot.

 

As we begin to move together, and I feel the naked length of your body, you grab my breasts and knead them in your large, muscular hands.

 

“I have to tell you something,” I murmur, bracing for apocalyptic humiliation.

You stop kissing me, and look straight at me.

 

“Um….you might have to go slow with me because….I’m a virgin. This is my first time.”

“——-Really?” You say, your voice incredulous. I fear that I’m coming off as a creep, like the 40-year-old virgin.

 

But I’m a plain-faced, short-bodied Asian, so why should it surprise anyone that I’m a virgin? I wonder if I should tell you that you’re also my first boyfriend.

“Yeah. um…” I say, turning redder and redder from embarassment. “I uh, I fooled around before with other guys but I believed in waiting until marriage for sex and…well, I figure now, it’s like,getting  too late…”

What am I saying? Have I lost my mind? Am I implying that I’m one of those brainwashed women who wait until marriage for sex, that I fear I’m getting too old now, and that I’m now settling for you? I fear he may think so, because this because it’s all true.

 

“Ok,” you say, laying on your side beside me. “This is dick,” you say, putting your hand around your penis and swinging it around (I notice that it’s limp, maybe because of my disclosure?)

“And I put it into your pussy,” you say.

“Right,” I nod awkwardly. No shit, Sherlock! But I turn my eyes away miserably: the agony of being a newbie, a noob, is gnawing away at my confidence.

“Touch it,” you say, and I wrap my fingers around, where yours were. It starts immediately to harden in my hand, I feel the blood rushing through the rubber tube-like veins underneath. I blush, feel excited.

It starts to get erect, and it rises, rises, rises until it’s a stiff pink snake, reaching to touch your belly button.

 

“I don’t like using condums. It doesn’t feel as good, and I think it doesn’t feel as good for the woman too.”

“Uh, okay…” I say. “But we are going to use protection, right?”

 

 

“Have you ever been on the pill before?”

“No,” I say.

“I would like it if you take the pill,” you say, leaning back, muscles rippling like a marble statue of a Greek God. “I don’t like condoms, and It feels a lot better for the woman as well.”

 

Where do you get this aura of confidence, without sounding the slightest bit arrogant? I worry slightly about disease — sex without a condom would imply exchange of fluids, and that equals the risk of diseases….

You silence my thoughts by turning to me to kiss me on the lips, and tell me that we can wait for sex until we get the pill, so that it will feel special.

I agree, and am secretly anxious about what you think of me, but resign myself to letting it go for tonight.

I have managed to get into bed naked with a man, and this is more than I have had in the last 10 years or so. What creates this feeling of soul-hurting, this feeling of emptiness and a yearning to go back to time past? It is the disconnectedness with the moment, it is the loss of relationships that crystallize the perfect moments in life. I yearn to feel passionate and hopeful again, as I did in Paris, and I hope to recover that joie-de-vivre with you.