Digressions... a fucking whole lot of them
May 6 2002 at 9:23 AM

As I look over the writing I just spent the last three hours on I realize this has all the makings to be an essay except plot structure or intelligent writing. But it is fucking long... that counts for something. Anyways, this was supposed to be a mere question but after I realized what an undertaking it is just to get to my point, I decided to preface this. Anyways here goes.

I have a situation that I think is going to lead to a crying Japanese girl regardless, all I can do now is try to reduce the tears as much as possible. For this I ask your advice. (Anyone seeking to chide me for being the stereotypical J-girl abusing gaijin feel free, you amuse me, but know that I already understand the repurcussions of my actions... preach only for your own amusement.)

The story starts back when I was studying in Osaka. It was Halloween of 2000 and my friend was convincing me to "take one for the team", as this girl he met through the internet insisted on bringing her friend along. He kept saying "it's all about the numbers man, you know that." He showed me a picture of his e-girl, who was halfway decent, and he naturally deduced that good-looking girls hang out with other good-looking girls. It seemed logical and my other option was to hang out with some gaijin girls who were planning to wear costumes and ride the JR loop line all night, "spooking" Japanese people. Reluctantly I agreed to go with him.

It was tricky when you are running late on the Keihan line. If you call too early and say you are going to arrive a half-hour late, the waiter will concentrate too much on the wait ahead and get impatient. If you call too late you run the chance of missing them. I found the perfect time to call was right before you went underground at Kyobashi. They have only waited fifteen minutes and when you tell them you are only four stops away, their mild frustration turns into excitement. After Kyobashi the ketai gets no signal and you are just pressing your luck. These girls had been waiting 45 minutes outside in the rain when we arrived.

I felt less apologetic when I saw the girl that I had been set up with for the evening. Everything we Young Dudes equate with being right about Japanese girls was lacking here. She was really short and stubby, unusually plum, and had such fair skin that she looked pink. I imagined what she would look like on a rotisserie with an apple in her mouth and managed to force a smile. I looked over at my friend and he restrained his laughter long enough to utter "Take one for the team man... remember."

So we were at dinner, some little Izakaya, ordered some little dish, and had some little chat. It all seemed familiar enough but one actually pays alot more attention to their surroundings when not concentrating on entertaining a cute Japanese girl with an odd mixture of English, Japanese, and Mime that so many gaijins have seemed to perfect. I was glancing around aimlessly when I noticed Japanese people peeking at me out of the corner of their eyes. They were laughing at me, in fact, and making jokes about me, whole table of Japanese observing me and using me as evidence that "gaijin truly have bad taste in Japanese girls." I overtly scooted away from her and acted out my disinterest with a series of facial gestures explaining how wrong they were about me. Part of me realized it was all in my head, but the other part forged on as a precautionary measure and served to detach me completely from the group. At the end of the meal which I missed out on, we all got up and walked out. My friend said to me, as the two girls went ahead for their shoes, "Noriko likes you man... she says your cool."

We set off for the club and walking through the rain around Umeda, we had to share an umbrella. This is where the pairing off first began. It seemed I was truly adapting to the Japanese way of thinking, because I could only put this situation in terms of its convenience. "Hu-fucking-ben" I muttered to myself. On the way, I avoided conversation as much as possible and was finally saved when we walked past a game center. I announced to the ladies what a terrific fighter my friend is and the trap was set as the excited ladies took over for me and coaxed him to challenge the boxing game. He knew I had the right to set him up for whatever and didn't offer any resistance. Now he really is a good boxer, but any man looks foolish on that final knockout stretch when the pads all come at once and you are forced to try your best E. Honda. It was funny though, he drew a huge crowd and really took this game personally, going without gloves for extra Lorenzo Lamas gaijin sex appeal. He eventually lost but drew a huge applause for his mighty effort which didnt hurt his chances with his girl.

Still basking in the glow of his showcase, we made it to our destination, Bar Isn't IT. Well IT wasn't that night, as the girls were mysteriously denied at the door. My friend looking to further cement his image as the night's hero asked in husky Japanese "Mondai ga arimasu ka?" The doorman answered back in timid English "too young" and made the "X" with crossed arms that universally explains to ignorant gaijin, something is "no good". The girls explained they were still in high school, and not dismayed by that fact at all, my friend suggested another club.

It was good old reliable Sam and Daves in Umeda and it was really something. Renaissance painters imagine Eden as a huge garden full of all sorts of flowers and animals living together in harmony. 500 years later evolution had morphed Eden into a small all-night club whose inhabitants were sexy Japanese girls dressed as Harem girls, Santa Clauses, nurses, pig-tailed indians, blond Marilyn Monroes, catholic schoolgirls, futuristic robots, and angels... and they truly were, each and every one of them. And I was floating on a cloud... "Hey wake up... Snap out of it man." Oh yeah, except the girl I was with.

I grabbed my friend, shook him hard, and told him to look around in fast English so his girl couldn't understand. We stared together as pretty princesses and vixen vampires walked past us in arms reach. My "shoganai" attitude towards tonights misfortunes changed into real furiousity. I had never seen a pond so full of keepers in my life. I am sure my friend understood my horror but the selfish motherfucker still had the gall to ask me to take one for the team. And I did... for a little while.

My friend immediately rushed to the dance floor to escape the situation and I immediately rushed to the bar to do the same. My little puppy followed and I changed my order to two... for me. I swallowed the reality antidote in great gulps and dragged her ass onto the dance floor. I decided dancing with her was like eating food that has been dropped on the floor. It was all in the attitude you approach it with, and you can almost convince yourself its not so bad if you concentrate hard enough. I decided to play a bad joke on myself and danced with her really close, putting on a real show. I put my hand on her large behind and even let my fingers wander under her shirt to her soft rubbery stomach. This served as a decent distraction for her and being close like this, she couldn't see me look over her shoulder at other girls. It must have been a sight, me dancing from side to side, popping up on her left shoulder making an estranged facial gesture to a beautiful J-mummy and then resurfacing on her right shoulder to a J-French maid, pointing at my partner and shaking my head. It went on like this for a little while until she pulled me close to whisper in my ear "this is my first time for dancing like this". I realized I didn't want this girls virginity in any category and told her I had to get a drink.

She may have seen me go to the bar, she may have seen me order a drink and drink it, she may have even seen me go to the bathroom. But I guarantee she didn't see me come out because I did the stealthiest goddamn manuevering that a 6 foot hakujin in a crowd of Japanese could possibly. I headed straight for the dance floor and there I hid. I knew she didn't have the balls to take on the dancefloor alone, so as long as I stayed at the far side I was okay. This is where I met Aiko... (fuck I sure have digressed alot, she is the girl who my question is about) She was dancing with a group of three or four great looking girls and I had spotted her friend out of the group and tried to make a move. I normally consider this not a strategic move, the 1-on-4 is almost a sure shot for failure, but I didnt care. If I missed out on her, there were only (insert infinity sign here) girls left to try. Anyways, I am a joke of a dancer here, I mean my friends actually make fun of me, but in Japan I somehow got attention. Still unless you are a really smooth dancer and can make your choice seem coincidental, when you are attacking a group of four, you kind of just let nature take its course and end up with the girl that is left closest.

It was Aiko and I decided to make a move. I asked her all the usual jazz, what is your name, do you come her often, where do you live, how old are you? (My advice: Don't ever bite on the guess how old routine... I usually just respond sardonically "young enough to enjoy childish games" and when they don't understand, I just ask how old they are again as if I never heard them.) She said she was 25 and my natural response was "Sugee... watashi mo!" This is always exciting for them and gives a 20 year old guy like me a chance with older women. My last question to her necessarily was "Do you have a BF?" It was only on this question that she answered wrong. She said she has and I tried to salvage the situation with something unoriginal like "I will go cry now" in Japanese and then did a Seppuku motion. She laughed and told me to stop and surprised by her playfulness I thought "fuck it". "Can I have your number anyways?" "Okay" she agreed and took out her phone so that I could give her my number. She typed it in at lightning speed that only Japanese can achieve and called me so I could save her number in my phone. It was always a relieving feeling finally getting that call, because there are so many steps in this awkward process, and all the meanwhile you are both looking at eachother feeling embarrassed like devious schoolkids.

It was getting late so I told her I had to go and searched for my friend. He looked at me scornfully but not hopelessly. His girl had stayed, but no thanks to me he explained, evidentally my girl ran out of the club and went home by herself humiliated. (Shit... sorry) The friend felt guilty for letting her friend leave alone when she saw me and decided it was time for her to leave to. My friend nobly declared we would walk her to her far away train station and though any extra walking at 6:30 in the morning seemed uncalled for, I dually didn't have the energy to argue. We walked her to the station, he carried her part of the way, a real showman, and evidentally got a nice kiss from her on their parting. We dragged home with mixed feelings about the night, happy we scored those girls, but sad about the many that we did not.

Time Lapse to about two weeks later. It was my college's festival week and I had done little but drink and talk up girls. I met my future girlfriend of more than a year that day in a drunken blur. It was late now and I get a call from Aiko, asking me if I wanted to go out that night. I was far too drunk, but asked her if tomorrow would be alright. She agreed and we went out to dinner and had a pretty decent time. She was very Japanese and spoke next to nothing English. I didnt realize this however until about halfway through the date. It was bizarre because I spoke in English for a long time too... I told her about Florida beaches and Miami and all the stuff every gaijin does to make their world seem exotic. I think she complimented my Japanese in a gomasuri fashion, when I admitted that I felt bad that I only knew English. She curiously asked "They only speak English in Poland?" Inside my head, "What the fuck... Poland? What are you talking about?" I didn't realize until much later that when we were in the club she asked me where I was from. But I heard "what is your name?" and I replied "Paul and you?" That whole hour we had talked she didnt understand a word I said or she would have caught little details that clued her into where I was from like the always popular "I live only one hour from Disneyworld" Anyways, I tried to speak more Japanese after that and the remainder of the date went okay and she took pictures of us together and we kissed goodbye.

Flash to about a week later. I had just written an email to my father beginning with the line "Please dont show this to Mom". I was explaining to my dad how great Japan was and about these "four bitches I was juggling". That is how I wrote it, I dont remember why now, and probably would never have thought about it again if I didnt get a call the very next morning at the crack of dawn. It was a semi-familiar voice but it was too early to decide. The first thing I heard was "SO, you are juggling four bitches I hear?" I was completely sobered by the harshness of my mothers dissaproving accusation and got really angry, but realized it wasnt at her that my anger was directed. I felt a great deal of shame and I was beginning to get serious with this gorgeous J-girl so I vowed to give up my womanizing ways and pursue this girl seriously. What I forgot about was Aiko.

She called me numerous times but I either didnt answer or promised to call her back later and never followed through. She was patient and continued to call occasionally but I ignored her. It wasnt until the night before I left Japan that we actually spoke again. I was at my friends homestay and he was having a party. I was drunk and confused and sentimental, and she called at just the right time to receive my sympathetic ear. We talked for a while and I told her I am leaving but would be back soon.

Soon came in the form of summer 2001. We had talked through emails occasionally and she wrote me letters in her neat print with little panda stickers(because after all that was her favorite animal... so cute man). I knew I would be coming to Japan to see my girl and Fujirock, so I made plans to meet her as well.

So we get to Kobe, which I gotta say is probably the best place to take a girl in the world. I have been three times, once accidentally stumbling upon a lazer light show and fireworks display, the second time there was a free concert with some cheesy singer that the girl recognized and lastly there was the Luminarie. Match those with the Port tower and the Ferris Wheel and you are guaranteed to get laid. To make a long story short, we got a hotel anf the guarantee did not falter. (Oh yeah, and along the way she told me she loved me and mentioned marriage) The morning after I am always a man on a mission, I wanted to part ways with her as soon as possible and get back to being lazy and comfortable with my girlfriend. We parted ways in Osaka and I wondered if I would ever see her again.

Anyways, the vacation was cool but had to come to an end and I was back in Florida studying. Aiko sent me all kinds of emails, telling me how happy she was for our time together and said it was the happiest moment of her life. I was really moved by all of this, but I knew it would be a long time before I could see her again. Besides I didnt really like her that much, my exaggerated memory of her from my first stay in Japan had made her far more beautiful than she actually was. There are a number of reasons that I never emailed her back, never responded to any of her sad letters, and didn't even thank her for the thoughtful Christmas card she sent after about 6 months with no word from me.

Finally after almost a year since we had talked last, I was in a sentimental self-amnesty type of mood that mixed with fear I gained from Kawama about leaving bad tracks in Japan for other gaijin to follow, I emailed her. I said that I was ashamed for not emailing her, that I was confused about our relationship, and I didn't write her because I knew I would not return to Japan for a while. I figured she would have a new boyfriend by then and probably wouldn't return my message and I felt satisfied with that.

Unfortunately today I got a Panda-stickered letter. It says: Dear Paul, thank you for your email. I'm fine. I'm glad you still remember me. I was about to give up on loving you. You really hurt my feelings and I felt so bad. I am crying now. I have been thinking about alot. I can't to forget to you yet. I miss you and I would like to see you soon. Love Aiko.

Well if you have gotten this far I commend you. There really was a question intended in all this mess. I even had a clever title made up to suit the question but I realize that I will have to change it now. For the survivors, what should I do? All I want is not to hurt the girl anymore. I dont want anything with her, but I don't have it in me top tell her that directly. She is 26 now and her time in Japan is getting near. I dont want her to waste that on me. But for some reason I really dont want her to think I played her and get a bad perception of me all gaijin to follow. I know she likes gaijin and I am sure there are some good ones out there that can do her right. Anyways, I usually use this forum to make jokes or provoke others only, but if anyone would look past that and offer me some real advice I would appreciate.

P.S. K, if you can think of a way to edit this question without all the story feel free.

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