July 1, 2001
now I'm feeling: Like I'm a total Perv
now I'm listening to: Misia
was about 9pm and I had got the urge to go down to The
Way, a local CD/video rental store to rent a half dozen
CDs and some vids. I biked down there and bumped into a fellow
ALT and chatted for about 10 minutes. He paid for his stuff,
said goodbye and left. I turned around and... Whoa.
I saw a young, very attractive woman about five feet
away from me looking at the new CD display. At first I thought
she was about 20. It's almost impossible to figure out a Japanese
person's age, except in the broadest sense, just by looking
at them. The face seemed vaguely familiar and I couldn't figure
out why. I went to look for some older CDs, keeping an eye
on her and trying to remember who she was. After a few minutes,
an older woman who could only have been her mother walked
up to her and asked her a question. She gave her mother a
stack of MDs and returned to the CDs.
wave of shock suddenly fell upon me as I realized that if
the young woman were a girl, I would recognize her. I had
taught her English.
graduated two years ago, which would make her about 17 years
old. I couldn't believe how much she had changed, physically
and in demeanor. I had see her since graduation, once. One
year ago. In Burakuri-cho, Wakayama's largest shopping
area. She screamed my name ("JEFFUUUU!!") from fifty
yards away, ran up to me and threw her arms around
my neck (an unusual occurrence, I assure you), while
trying to keep from burning me with the end of her cigarette
(which I made her extinguish, of course). She was wearing
her school uniform and had just finished taking purikura
(little seal stickers) with some of her other high school
adoring little high school girl was a completely different
person from the young woman that stood a short distance away
from me in the CD/video rental store. Knowing I was there
(she must have, she listened to me talking with A for 10 minutes)
she was just examining the CDs with a cool detachment. Her
eyes had lost their youthfulness, too, I was sad to see.
approached her and she asked if I remembered her and I said
of course I did. She told me in Japanese (she had forgotten
all her English) that she was working at a beauty
salon (she must have dropped out of high school) and that
she liked her job. I told her that that was great, careful
not to let the disappointment show on my face. We talked for
a couple more minutes, about my going back to America, about
her co-workers, said goodbye and she walked back to her mother,
who was in the checkout line.
saw her talk to her daughter in a low voice, obviously asking
who I was and how she knew me. I watched as her mother finished
up at the checkout line and they both walked over to a cigarette
vending machine. Her mother put in a bill and they reached
down and each pulled out a pack of cigarettes. Sigh.
to self: next time you see Ayumi, don't bother to take
away her cigarette. Oh, and watch that wandering eye
it could get you into trouble someday.