July 1, 2001


Right now I'm feeling: Like I'm a total Perv

Right now I'm listening to: Misia

Misia -- Everything  

Dirty Old Man

It 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.

A 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.

She 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 friends.

That 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.

I 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.

I 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.

Note 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.

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