Monday, April 26, 2010

The Tale of the Kimochi-warui, Part I

Previously I mentioned the idea of getting "picked up" in Japan. We usually think of Japanese men as being shy, reticent to approach strangers.

I had only been in Japan about 4 weeks, when a man approached me in my local train station. I had just gone through the turnstile when he walked up.

He: "Hi."
Me: "Uhm, hi." I kept walking. He's probably just being polite since I stepped in to his line of vision.
He: "How are you?"
Me: "Fine, thank you. You?" My grandparents taught me my manners!
He: "Good. You from America?"
Me: "Yes." Ah hah! He must want to learn English. I'm being approached for English lessons! How will I get it across that I don't teach for free - no English bandits, please! Did I bring my business cards? I'm on my way to an do I end this conversation without being rude. I tromp up the stairs - he is still in close proximity.
He: "Look. I think you are cute and I want to have a coffee with you."
Me: Stunned silence.
He: "You give me your keitai number?"

At the time, I did not have a cell phone. (In fact, I did not get a cell phone until I had been in Japan almost 6 months. I used email, skype, and pay phones.) We exchanged email addresses instead. Then before I got on the train, he leaned in for a little hug. I thought...that is sweet but also a little odd. Only in Mexico have I noticed people doing a little hug or close greeting to people just met.

I went on to my appointment and returned home about three hours later. Logging in to my email, there was already a message from him. My daughter, ever hovering over my shoulder, demanded to know who the email was from. Who is he? How did I meet him? Does he look like a girl?

His email was short and to the point. "Like you. Want see u. Coffee Saturday?"
Well, I guess short emails are okay. I reply that Saturday at 6pm would be fine.
He replies "See u then. XOXO"
Hm...XOXO? I don't know....that's a little...well, maybe he just thinks it's cute.

Saturday rolls around. I get dressed, my daughter insists on doing my make-up. She wants to try this new "smokey eye" technique she saw Carmindy do. I am to meet the guy at 6 at my local train station. I leave my house at 5:57 as the station is just a couple blocks away. My daughter escorts me there - she will go home after "dropping me off." We arrive at 6:04pm.

The guy is there. I introduce him to my daughter, she leaves. He says "I sent you an email when you weren't here at 6. Just ignore it." Uh, okay.

We start to walk to Doutor for coffee. He grabs my hand to hold it. Is it me? This seems creepy...I don't know this guy and he wants to hold hands...we get to the coffee place...he wants to sit right beside me...IN MY PERSONAL BUBBLE! I feel weird, he is to close. I tell him that I am shy and am uncomfortable with public affection...could he scoot over?

Then while we drink coffee, he continually wants to hold hands and sit closer - and take millions of cell phone pics of us smiling and making faces at the camera.

He walks me back to my apartment building. We say good-bye - he will email soon.

I go upstairs. Greet daughter, make dinner - check email. At 6:01 he had sent an email...
He: "It is 6. Where are u? Are you rude and not show up? What is wrong with you?"

I think, is this already creepy? Or just the language difference?


  1. So creepy. I'd be worried if someone acted like that here where PDAs are much more acceptable.

  2. oooohhhhh...when I'm not so sleepy I will continue this tale...the creepiness WILL continue! bwa ha ha!

  3. Can't wait to hear them rest :)

    Btw, I get the impression that dating is even very different in the states to Australia. Here it would be rare for a guy to ask a girl out on a date at a first meeting unless they met in a bar or somewhere like that.

    If you just met someone randomly, in a cafe or on the street and they asked for your number it would seem really weird (unless they were a total hottie then it would awesome).

  4. Well, It does seem to happen if the people meet somewhere random - a place they are not likely to run into each other again. Of course, at work or school, no need to immediately ask for number or date since you will see them again. But, if at the store or on the bus...this could be the only chance!