This is a chapter out of my ridiculous memoir I’m writing about my time and misadventures in Tokyo. The title is called “J-girls.” Reader beware: I’m a horrible person and if you’re just figuring that out you haven’t been paying attention.
Sayuri Gogo was mine and Miho’s boss at our company, Bosmo.
No, I didn’t hook up with Gogo-san.
Although I totally would have.
But I bring her up because she’s the female who most stands out on this particular evening in late April, 2005. As I mentioned before that Japanese school year begins in April, as does the work year. So, many companies and schools have get togethers and gatherings, usually (always) involving alcohol. Bosmo had organized one such event.
So, at an Izakaya in Takadanobaba I went and gathered with a collection of some of the most inappropriate misfits and dorks I’d ever met. All of us were working for Bosmo as ALT, Assistant Language Teachers, and all of us new next to nothing about teaching. What a group of weirdos; Australians, Americans, Canadians, English…and to my horror, I discovered that largely the Americans were the worst of the bunch.
The word had gotten out via Hatch, the Gaylord, and whoever else, that I was serious about kickboxing. At the long table we were seated at, across from me to my left was a rotund white woman, American, who had heard the rumors. I looked the part, I must say, I had slimmed down to about 96 kilo’s, near 205 pounds, was tall, broad shouldered, tanned and was adorned with some appropriate swagger. She was medium height, white and probably the same weight as I was and it was primarily focused around her rear and midsection. She had blond hair wearing it up with bangs. She spoke.
“So, you’re the kick boxer guy?” She said as she dipped some fries in ketchup and bit into them.
“I might probably be the kick boxer guy. I’m Eric, nice to meet you.” Nothing wrong with some civility.
“Cool. I do Kung Fu…”
Here we go.
“…I’ve been doing it for like, ten years. We trained so hard. You wouldn’t believe it. Our Sifu used to make us do all these crazy drills and trainings. Seriously, like, I had to push a nail into a board with my thumb. We would hit these wood boards over and over to make our hands harder…”
“That’s really inten…”
“…and there were all these black guys in my dojo. Like, all these big black guys and I used to have to train with them all the time and I’d be sweating all over the place and so would they and they’d just stare at me and like…yeah…we trained really hard there. It was awesome.”
Speechless. Utterly, speechless and I was staring at this person for a few moments before I realized the guy sitting next to me was also staring at her, in a kind of confused horror and I then knew at least one other person here wasn’t completely doomed. Then she started again.
“I think I’ll try kickboxing. What dojo do you go to? Where is it?”
“Um, it’s actually, rather…far.” I mumbled, picking a beer which might be mine, I didn’t know, and taking a drink from it. It isn’t mine I then realize.
“Cool. Well, let’s train together for sure.” She said as she jammed several ore fries into her mouth.
And then I said, I had to say because I was compelled but I knew I shouldn’t say but I couldn’t stop myself so then, almost a whisper, barely audible, I had to let it go.
“But, like, I’m not black.”
The guy next to me choked on something and the girls chewing slowed down for a moment, as if everything had gone into slow motion, but then a moment later it picked back up and she said, food visible in the mouth: “But there are black guys at your dojo, right?”
Hand up, GARCON! Whiskey!
Garcon means boy.
I turned to the guy next to me who was looking at me with a gleam in his eye and we were both sharing the same thought and it was: Can we make it out alive?
“I’m Eric.” I said.
“I’m Ben.” He said.
“What the fuck is going on here, Ben?” I said as I looked nervously around the room.
“That’s a good question. Where are you from?” He said, slowly eating a pickle.
“New York. You?”
And that is how I met my best friend, compatriot, co-writer and legal guardian for the next ten or so years, Ben Ducas.
The night wore on. Miho would smile at me from another table and I’d smile back, only to realize that the person sitting next to her, Hatch, thought I was smiling at him and he was beaming back at me and I’d quickly look away, terrified. Around last call of our two hour nomihodai, all you can drink plan and the grease which keeps Japan moving, a long conversation about Japanese tattoos climaxed with some pasty, skinny-fat white guy standing up and lifting his T-shirt to expose his flabby abdomen which had a large orange tiger head tattooed on it. It looked like a pancake covered in lava, and somethings one can never un-see. Ben was staring wide eyed in shock/horror, I was choking back vomit and tears. It was a tense moment.
Ubiquitous karaoke followed.
Miho was chirping away on the mic, some Japanese pop song, and an Aussie named Keith, who I had met the year before, leaned in to talk to me. Keith, it’s worth mentioning, was a hiking and exercise fanatic. He was 190 centimeters tall, so nearly 6’5” and heavy set. He eventually would get fired for hanging his sweaty training wear, he’d cycle to school, in part of the kitchen at one of his schools. He was baffled on being fired because “What’s the problem, it’s warm in the kitchen it helps my gear dry out.”
He leaned into me now in the Karaoke both and said “We are taking bets on who is going to take home either Gogo-san or Miho.” I gave him a glance. Taking bets you say?
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“Simple, you can put money on who is going to shag one or both of them tonight. They’re both wasted.”
He was giddy as a school boy for this greasy business.
“Who is betting on taking Miho home?” I inquired.
“Um…” He actually had a piece of paper with names scribbled on it. “…Jake, Brian and me.” How he managed to say this with a straight face baffled me, but I knew something Keith didn’t.
“I’ll take all that action. Miho doesn’t go home with any of you and I’ll give you 3:1 odds.”
He stared at me now, and smiled a little. “Not much confidence in your boys here, is that it?”
“I’m sure you’re all heart breakers, I just think she’s a good girl and will be heading home on her own. That’s all. You want this action or have you lost your confidence then?” I smiled back and waited.
“Very well. It’s done.” He said and scribbled something on the paper. “If you don’t mind I have some work to do.” And off he went, first to the two other guys, who looked over at me like I had a fish bowl on my head, and then toward little Miho, who was just finishing her song.
The last hour rolled by. I sang some songs, crooning into the mic, and I made some jokes with Ben who was turning out to be a damned funny guy. All the while I kept an eye on Miho, who was getting more attention than she’d ever gotten in her life. The poor fools, little did they know what she could do to them in the sack; suck their life force out and leave them for dead most likely.
But that wasn’t going to be an issue for them tonight. The only issue would be the money leaving their respective wallets next week when I collected after, shockingly, disappointingly, none of them could get horny, drunk as a skunk Miho to come home with them.
None of them needed to know, of course, that she already had plans to come to my place after the party anyway. Knowing that I won a few hundred dollars helped mediate the beating Miho gave me in the sack that night too, the alcohol working its endurance magic and me going for hours.
I had scars, marks and bruises for a week and a half.
But at least I won the bet and seeing Keith dejected, flagging down a cab to head to Roppongi with Brian and the plus sized Kung-fu princess in tow, in a desperate attempt to find some ass, anything, sent me to my midnight rendezvous of battle-sex with a smile.