It occurred to me that maybe if I write weekend reports I could keep a better record of my time here, and it might be more interesting, than if I make giant, rambly updates every few months. We’ll see! Let’s try.
I’m trying to run at least every Friday (and actually this week I ran Wednesday too, I’d like to run twice a week from now on) so I joined my running group for a run after work in Myogadani. None of my other friends (20s/30s Americans) I usually see there had showed up though, so I didn’t stick around for the snacking/drinking time after the run like I almost always do (I did know other people there though, just not as well), since I had a German friend’s going-away party to go to. Well, I’m actually not that close to her and I’d only met her twice before this, but another friend I really wanted to see was going, so I made the effort.
The party was in Kabuki-cho so I enjoyed a delightful walk from the station through host/hostess/cabaret bars and love hotels. But the venue itself was a cute little bar they had apparently rented out just for the party. I was happy to see the girl whose party it was and my friend, but I didn’t know any of the other 25 or so people there. Most of them were either Japanese or French (the girl who’s leaving has a French boyfriend) and most of the Japanese people she had met through English language exchange, so they were all keen on speaking English and making non-Japanese friends. Unfortunately, I am currently feeling extremely burned out on getting spoken to in English and having a bunch of things assumed about me based solely on the fact that I have a non-Asian face, so I really wasn’t in the mood to attend what basically amounted to an international party. One guy even said to me “So, you’re an English teacher..?” No. (eyeroll)
And it cost 3,500 yen…
Pestering my landlord paid off and he sent someone to investigate the holes I found around the attic ladder area which is almost surely where the cockroaches are coming in from (I’ve taped up the holes best I could for now, but they should be properly caulked in). Anyway, the guy agreed and said he’d come back the following weekend to caulk them. I went back to bed after that and then woke up and got ready to go meet a fangirl friend in Ikebukuro and do some doujinshi/manga shopping. 8D I got everything I wanted and then some, so I was quite pleased.
Did that and then we went to Otsuka to meet up with the guy who founded this minimally successful, extremely small-scale publisher we occasionally translate for (for free) and have dinner with him and his family. He and his wife have three triplets, age 8, who my friend had met before but I hadn’t. I wasn’t sure what to expect going into the dinner, but I was not prepared for, soon after we sat down and ordered, for him to announce that he wanted us to speak in English to his kids so they could get English conversation practice!!!!!!!
And OF COURSE that didn’t happen! Japanese kids are extremely shy and getting even those who have been taking regular English lessons to actually speak English is like pulling teeth! It’s a very very difficult task and you basically need to be getting paid to make it worth your time (yes, he did treat us to dinner, but if I had known this was the price, I wouldn’t have agreed to us).
The dinner ended up basically my friend and I playing with the two girls while the mom bugged us to translate certain phrases she wanted to learn so she could help lost foreigners in a bus station (???), only she couldn’t understand the English we gave back to her and was writing down the sounds in katakana, not actual roman text words. ?????????????? If you can’t even pronounce English, how the hell do you expect to help lost tourists?? Just give up. Ugh.
Anyway, as the kids got more relaxed around us they started just basically using us as fun exotic new toys, attempting to handcuff us with toy handcuffs, shooting nerf arrows at us, and generally pestering us to no end. Or mostly me. Look… I wasn’t paid to be a babysitter OR an English conversation partner (of course in the end, no English conversation happened anyway, not like I wanted it to), and all of this was sprung on me right there and right then. You know how you hear about how nice and polite Japanese people are, and how they themselves are only too happy to promote that reputation? Yeah, well, it’s not so nice and polite when people basically view you as English speaking machines they can use at will without even asking “hey, would this be cool?” ahead of time. No, no. Of COURSE I’m only too happy to speak English to your third-graders! Of course I don’t mind them chasing me around and commenting on the color of my eyes and how “gaijin eyes are weird” and a hug from me would be “kimochi-warui [gross]”. No, that all sounds GRAND in exchange for dinner at a restaurant/cuisine I didn’t even choose. ??????
After I escaped from that, I went to Nichome to meet what I thought was a few friends – Ry and Ty, some of my closest friends here who came with me to Tokyo from Shimane by coincidence – but actually they had invited three others too, all guys I adore but hadn’t seen in forever. So what I thought was just going to be mere fun was actually AWESOME. It was soooooo like 癒される, like healing, to be around people I adore but rarely see and have fun laughing and talking and drinking with them for hours. And I hadn’t even know it was going to happen! Just amazing. I’m extremely happy it worked out that way.
I went with two of the guys to Shinjuku Station to catch our last trains, only for them to realize along the way that they had already missed their last train. So, I graciously offered to put them up at my place and brought them home. And then we had a sexy threesome… no, that didn’t happen. But we did have fun laying on my bed and playing with the cat (literally…) before I sent them downstairs to sleep on the couch.
It was a lovely cool post-rain day. I had a date at 2 in Kagurazaka, who almost canceled on me but kept it in the end, although it didn’t end up being worth it at all. We had been chatting on okcupid and LINE for a couple weeks and it seemed like we had some promising things in common, and he’d even done an exchange year in high school just 25 miles from my hometown by pure coincidence. He’d gone to college in the US (at an Ivy League school, even) so his English was fluent, and I prefer 帰国子女 (returnee to Japan who lived abroad a long time) to regular old Japanese people because they’ve gotten out of the rigid Japanese-person mold, so that was nice, but… But… he works in finance. He was a Japanese finance bro. That by itself is fine, but we did not understand each other at all. I thought he was humorless, and I’m pretty sure he thought I was totally illogical. “You sleep in until 2 or 3 O’CLOCK on weekends???” he asked, totally flabbergasted. I’m not even that out there, I don’t think, but that’s probably because I usually hang out with people who are pretty similar to me. Oh, and while I’d only seen one picture of him before the date (this is the second time I’ve done this and I’ve been disappointed EVERY TIME) and it’s not like he was unattractive, he was not quite my type. Definitely, opposites attract can work if there is chemistry, but I don’t think there was. At the end of the date, we went our separate ways, probably equally relieved, and I haven’t heard from him since.
I have to laugh about it because we were just so comically mismatched, and this was also my second time going on a date with a finance guy (the first one, from Washington DC, basically rejected me – I would have been open to a second date but he announced within days after our first that he “wasn’t feeling it, dating wise”) and I think I can see now why the first guy wasn’t into it. I just do not get along with that type. So, lesson learned. No more finance guys and no more guys with only one picture. Although it sounds shallow to ask for more pictures, so basically anyone without a good variety of photos, I don’t date. I guess that’s the price you pay…
Anyway, after that I planned to go to the planetarium at Skytree to see the Night Flight show narrated by one of my favorite singers and voice actors, Maaya Sakamoto, which was ending that day. I wanted a Japanese-speaking buddy to go with me and Ry agreed, but since it was the last day I was worried about tickets selling out so after the date ended I headed over to Skytree to get tickets, then I hung out in Starbucks for a few hours reading until he got there. Neither of us had been to the Skytree mall complex before, so it was fun to explore. The show was interesting; they released fragrances into the air and it was like part actual planetarium show, part sort of tour around the world. I don’t think I’ve been to the planetarium in 15 years, maybe, and never in Japan, so it was a cool experience and definitely pretty chill and relaxing. Ry enjoyed it too, so I was glad I didn’t make him join me all the way out there (I never go to that part of Tokyo) for nothing!
And actually, now he’s going to be working with me at my job in my department!! Super, super, super exciting and I am feeling thrilled about it! His Japanese is better than mine (he actually has N1, unlike me) and he’s already been doing freelance work for my company so bringing him onboard full-time makes sense, and he gets to escape teaching English to elementary schoolchildren which I’m so happy for him about. Yay!! I’m trying to hook Ty up with a job too (at another friend’s company)… we’ll seeeee!!