Whilst I was still waiting for May to get her act together, it was getting closer to my last day. It was on a Friday that the phone rang in the place where I was working. The boss told me it was May on the phone and she wanted to talk with me.
"Oh hi Kris, funny co-incidence you being here, I was just phoning up to see when the next conversation class is, but your boss said that you were here so I just thought I'd say hello. I didn't expect you to be here." (yeah right, I believe you May..)
So we got talking again and she eventually got around to a feeble kind of masked apology, "Well I would have apologised if you'd apologised for this and that and blah blah", and we arranged to meet up the next night, which was my last night in Sapporo.
That night though, I decided to go partying and thought that
going down Bar Isn't it? for one last booze-up would be a nice good-bye to
my Japanese party days.
When I got down there it was around 12:30, so it was pretty pumping already. I started boozing it up and before I knew it some Jap dudes had started arguing with each-other...just like two samurai's man! I love watching Japanese guys scrap with each-other..
I got my usual ring-side seat, and stood next to this Japanese guy, who was also watching what was taking place. Unusually for a Japanese dude, this guy was built like a tank, I never saw anything like it, with an attitude to match.
Well, the fight never happened, and the guy sat down on the chair behind me, chatting with the dudes who were obviously his 'crew' buzzing around him like flies to shit. I went to walk away, but then realised my foot was trapped, and the dude accidentally had the chair on it, or something. Either way I was stuck, and I had to try to get the guy off my foot, but at that time, for some reason, I couldn't for the life of me remember what the Japanese was for 'Excuse me your chair is on my foot!'
Damn, so I started tapping the guy on the shoulder, and he's like 'What?!' in no friendly manner, in fact, it looked like the fight had spurred him on or something. And I'm just like, some moron, waving my hands around and pointing at my feet, with an anxious look on my face. The guy was just too dumb or something or didn't realise what the hell I was going on about. And I'm thinking by now "Jesus, this guys gonna start laying into me if I don't stop freaking him out.." - all his buddies were giving my evil glares and were starting to circle around me.
After a couple more attempts of me trying to tell him what was going on, I think the guy must've thought I was trying to take the piss out of him, and wanted a fight - I could tell he was gonna get up any second and start it off, so I was getting ready to get the first hit in, although I definitely was gonna get the cack knocked outta me the second I landed it. Then it came to me in a flash!
'ANATA WA ORE NO ASHI O FUMARASHITE!!..ASHI O FUMASHITE IRU!!', the Japanese for 'YOU'RE STEPPING ON MY FOOT!'
Luckily for me, the dude grinned in realisation and even made a kind of a fake 'Phew' gesture..turned out that he was just as worried as I was and probably thought I was some crazy gaijin about to pull a knife out on him or something..We started chatting weights, and birds and stuff.
After that, the night was un-eventual although I did get a girl, so I waved good-bye
to my new found buddy and left Bar Isn't It? for the last time. Leaving what was my
last of my playboy days (in Japan) behind.
The next day was my final day in Japan..I felt dead..I woke up with the girl I was with, and walked her home, then I spent most of the rest of the day playing video-games and pissing around, but the knowledge that I was gonna leave the place I loved hung over me like a Grim Reaper. I saw my pal Lenny from Texas. Before I'd met him I thought all guys from Texas were called Jobe and they referred to Japan as 'dat place whar dem dang chee-yinks dat daddi ke-yalled are' But this guy was a serious and brainy dude, who not only could read and write Japanese, but also Chinese. Plus he had a good sense of humour. The first time I met him at work he told me where he was from and I cracked a joke without thinking (one of my worse traits) like:
"So duh-uh, dain't be seeyin much o da Klan in these heer parts" -
Slapping myself for realising what a twat thing that was to say.
Luckily he saw the funny side and from that day on we had a fun relationship based on mocking each-others countries. I have to say he did a good toff accent, and any time I got pissed at something he'd be like:
"There there tallyho old chap - I'll fetch the tea and scones old boy and everything will be spiffy."
What was even funnier was the moments I shared with my German pal, Schorsch as we'd
go mad on long bike rides. I'd be
taking over him on my bike screaming:
'Ack!! Ze Iiinglish schvinehund, look es e takes ze skillful lead over ze German! OHOHOHOHOHO!!!' mocking his accent and the German 'comrade' laugh. But then he'd catch up, going:
"Zis ez a joke, yaaa? Meine axe-ent? Vos is zis, I don't speak like zis!! yaa? -- well, ve didn't win the Waaar bet ve'll win dis baasikle race!!" then he peddle like a man obsessed into the horizon.
Aaah..all good, harmless fun.
So anyway, back to reality. So the Texan guy comes up to me with his baseball
cap on and says:
'Dude, I finally did it, just like you.'
'I Japanesized my hair man..'
He took off his cap and it was true, replacing the long black pony-tail was a perfectly curtained blonde mop, shoulder length, straight as an arrow and ruffled at the edges, exactly like they young Japanese guys had it. Just like I had it. Haha, if you can't beat em, join em.
We sat on the steps near the Eiffel Tower in Odori Koen, watching the birds go by, with the sun in our faces. We both sat in silence for a minute, and then Lenny says:
"Going tommorow eh?"
"Yeah...shit don't talk about it.."
"Wouldn't want it to be me.."
"Really sucks mi hombre.."
I put my head in my hands, then I turned to him:
"Oh, hey man, anyway, do you wanna meet this Chinese bird, ah, girl I know? You can speak Chinese right?"
I thought of introducing the two since Lenny didn't have a lot of friends in Sapporo, and he always told me how he'd want to practice his Chinese but couldn't in Japan. So I phoned up May, and she said she'd turn up later down the park. The rest of the day was spent hanging out with the other gaijin. It was such a bright day, a really shitty time to leave the country I'd grown to love. For some reason - I think it was because it was University holidays - a lot of gaijin had gathered sitting on the grass that evening. It almost seemed to me like it was some kind of weird coincidence that my last day would be when I met the most foreigners in one place. Suddenly, my main amigo Oscar turns up on his bike.
Now, Oscar's the most famous Mexican in Sapporo, so I don't need to cover up his name, because everyone knows him anyhow, and would only guess who I was talking about if they read this page. Besides me and him had been on TV before in Sapporo, on some kind of documentary about his life and being a gaijin in Japan..it was hilarious because I remember the doc was about him trying to find a 'good' job in Sapporo, and they'd had him dressed up like a Mexican gun-fighter, going into shops and stuff with his bad Japanese. At the end, the Japanese host was like: 'Well Oscar, good luck and I hope you find a job soon'..and then me and all of the rest of the gaijn were supposed to say 'Good luck' or something nice to him, but we all took it in turns to call him a 'bum' or something equally derogatory, which was oblivious to the producers who could barely speak a word of English. And all on national TV.. Oscar found it as funny as we did.
So Oscar's the eternal philosopher, always full of good stuff, and a funny guy to boot, quick-talking, like Cheech out of Cheech and Chong. So he comes along and we start chatting till the sun goes down and then he see's some guys and tells me they're his friends, and that we should go and sit with them.
So that we do, and it turns out to be a bunch of Arabic speaking guys, from all over Africa, Tunisia, Morocco - very clever guys who were studying at a nearby University. We started drinking together after introductions. Oscar was friends with the Moroccan, and they were laughing over the Moroccan guys resemblance to every other Moroccan Oscar had met before. The Moroccan guy was very well-humoured and was smiling at everything. Oscar was more than a little drunk and flailing his arms around like a true Latino.
Oscar: "Eh, so you're from Morocco? Man, is emazing you Moroccan guyz, you looks all de same si?. Same faces, si? Is amazing, I saw some guy in de airport - Moroccan..I swear... iz your tween brother man!!'
Everyone laughed at that, it was some funny shit, you had to see it.
Also I met a seriously ugly guy from Afghanistan, not that I've met many guys from there, But the way he talked really stuck in my mind. He was very educated, and he had common sense too, which is rare for many educated men. I'm in Oxford now, and trust me, a lot of these Oxford-dites are as dim as they come. This guy was a good speaker, the kind of guy that could make a conversation about nuclear atom-structure seem fascianting to listen too, I never met a more charming guy - and not in that greasy Arabic "acccch Saaacchlam" way, but a real cool guy like, and I realised that guys can still be 'attractive' to girls and yet be as ugly as sin. Which probably explains why women like Micheal Winner..ummm.
Anyway, Oscar was busy laughing at a story that was being told about how one of these guys could never sleep, because his flat-mate was always humping a Japanese girl next door, and every-time this guy was asked what he was doing the night before, he replied, 'studying' as he was too shy to admit what he was really up to...So Oscar was killing himself with laughter, and the Arabs were chuckling like jackals too as the main guy was saying to the him how the guy next door must've been a genius, as he was in his room 'studying' for most of the day:
"Must be a fucking genius man!! you study in the morning, in the evening, eh, you make a lot of noise when you studying maaaan!!"..
Then one Afghani starts
chatting to me:
"So where you from my friend?!"
"Oh England!..lovely country"
"You think so? I'm going back tommorow, this is my last night."
"Ah well, it's quite a good place my friend, you'll have fun, very pretty girls in England!" The guy mentioned casually as though it wasn't my favourite subject in the world.
"Scary man. Scary is a better word.."
At this point Oscar bumps in almost choking on his drink.
"Eh bat my friend Kris man, he likes de Japanese girlz better! hez de 007 charmeeng sheet guy straight from Inglend itself, you know?! Bet only Orientalz izn't man? Ahh..You know what I like about de Inglish girls, man? You knowwhat? Iz dat in Inglend dey got those girl with de big beeeeaaauuutiful buttz, iz like e butt paradise man! sometimes de Inglish girls face too, can be really heavenly, but de butt is like two plum cherriez!"
We start arguing jokingly about the comparisons between Asian and Western women, when all of a sudden May walks by and says Hi. Lenny wasn't around so I had to look after her. Oscar starts whispering in my ear in my ear:
"Well, you know my friend, eef I had a girl like that, a wouldn't wanna go back to Inglend neither.."
So I walk off with May, and we end up I say good-bye to all my good friends, and all the wonderful guys that gave me so many adventures and so much good advice, and walked into Susikino with May, arm in arm. However, she didn't seem in such a good mood for some reason. But tonight was my last night, and, depressed enough as I was I wasn't gonna let her screw up my last night.
She may be the face I wouldn't forget, but I wasn't feeling so romantic towards her that night, and god-dammit, she was pissing me off again, with her lack of sweet bullshit to cheer me up on my last day. So I let her have it:
"May, you're a nice girl, but let me tell you something, my last piece of advice if you will as we go our separate ways. You're beautiful, but you're not assertive towards people's feelings, and I reckon when people meet you for the first time, you come across as a complete bitch."
She was taken aback, naturally.
"What? What do you mean by that?"
"I mean, you're cruel, you know? Beauty and the Beast in one. How can any guy love you when you just expect men to give you everything. You don't give me anything.."
"I give you lots of presents actually.."
"I mean, nothing emotional. You know! You just want me to tell you how beautiful you are and stuff.. And sometimes I wonder if you're just with me because you like the way I look, and because I'm popular with other girls. You're not a very deep person, even though you want people to think you are."
I bit my lip as I knew I'd gone too far that time..
"That's not true!! I like.." she couldn't think of anything.
"Kristian!!! I can't believe you can say these cruel things on our last night!!"
She kind of stormed ahead and I watched her, but didn't catch up with her. In fact, the more I watched her walk off the more I thought "Just let her go..who gives a shit.."
But she stayed close and eventually we got to a turning corner towards the area where she lived. I sat down on a shop entrance, and she came and sat down next to me. I said sorrowfully:
"Look May, I'm sorry about that okay? I'm just sad. You know..It's my last day and all."
All I wished for in the world at that moment was just for her to forgive me, to put her head on my shoulder, let me hold her as she stroked my hair, and re-assure me that we'd see each-other again.. that everything would be okay.. that everything in life would be okay. And that we had all the time in the world...coulda been soo easy..
But she was pure bitch.
"So, walk me home then! I need to be back soon! It's cold!"
Bollucks..I said I had to go sit down and walked off towards the park full speed. I made sure she didn't follow me, and that was that, goodbye to May.
And good-bye to Japan.
The next day I boarded the plane back to England, I went with my old birds father to the airport, Otosan, and I have to admit, we were both so choked up about not seeing each-other again for such a long time, we hardly said a word to each-other, regretfully. As I was about to cross the barrier we shook hands, and I stood holding his hand for longer than I should have, holding up the qeue, and I looked into his eyes, which reflected all the pain I felt inside myself, and said, in a broken voice that I had to strain to control, how grateful I was for everything he'd done for me, and that I'd never, never forget him. It was possibly the most emotional moment of my life. Then I left.
I had the window seat, and as the plane started off, I'd watched Japan get smaller and smaller through the window. All the various thoughts ran through my mind, mind-snaps of all the great things that had happened to me in that country, the places, a family I felt a part of, the beautiful girls, the happy smiles on my students faces, flashes in my mind of moments of such joy with all the incredibly passionate foreigners I'd met, people I'd been searching for all my life...Otosan...I watched it all slip away, I felt so desperately choked I could hardly breath, it was like being taken back to a prison-cell I had just escaped from, with all the horrible prospects of years more in England waiting for me. I heard a quiet voice in my head that was saying pitifully:
"Don't take me away from there, that's my home..That's MY Japan.."
I broke down like a little kid who'd lost his best-friend in the whole wide world. Niagra falls man, bloody Niagra falls...it can't end like this.
So that was that, back to England.
After catching the second connect flight to Heathrow from Amsterdam, I groaned as I saw a bunch of 'lads' on their way back from a trip to Amsterdam. They were talking about football, work, the telly, all the crap I'd really thought I'd escaped from. Grim reality that I was going home hit me in the face like a 30 pound hammer.
It was nice to see the few members of my family again, but I felt sick to my stomach to be back quite frankly.. I couldn't settle for weeks.. Even now I don't feel quite 'correct' in England, and I keep telling myself 'Dude, you're not here for good, you're like a foreign student or something, waiting to go back home.' That does the trick, but there isn't a night that goes by when I don't imagine when I'm back on my futon on the first night I arrived in Japan, looking out the window and seeing everything Japanese and thinking "My God, I made it to Japan". I sometimes wonder if it wasn't all just a fantastic figment of my imagination. But I'll go back, one day.
So University had
started, I'd settled into Portsmouth by then, it wasn't so bad, besides I'd met
a few Japanese in Portsmouth, and made a real good friend called Masashi, but
who called himself Rick - yeah, despite the lack of a surf-board and blonde hair..haha
well, it stuck and everyone else called him that,
so so did I. 3 months down the line I started thinking more and more about May.
It's like that when you miss someone you've been close to, you only think of the
good things. During my time in Japan, even though I'd been with a lot of other
babes, the original one was still playing crap in my mind right
up until I got back to England. But by that time I'd actually finally got over
her. And I always thought about May, and how it shouldn't have ended the way it
did. I forgot the bitchiness, the vanity, and just remembered her cute laugh,
and the funny conversations we had together.
I just knew I had to find her. Things had come to a boil.