We met at a party full of those types of people who have money. Don’t even ask how I came to be there, as I have none. I mean, I get by like most people, but I am certainly not an heiress.
Somehow between the house party and the club we exchanged numbers. He seemed like a cultured person, intelligent, and well travelled, and he claimed to be a TV personality, what the Japanese like to call a “tarento” – taken from the English word “talent,” though what exactly their talents may be could be hotly debated.
We had a coffee date the following week, near the izakaya that inspired Quentin Tarantino for the set in “Kill Bill” apparently.
I had the strangest sensation in the pit of my stomach. As I sat opposite him, sipping my latte, I could feel every single fibre in my body telling me “RUN! RUN AWAY NOW!”
Perhaps it was the fact that he hugged me when he saw me, even though he didn’t know me and it was the first time we were meeting to talk properly, and contemplated me quite lasciviously (ok maybe the lascivious part was in my head), like a trophy, before deciding I met his standards and he pronounced me “Beautiful.”
Either way it was quite a struggle to sit there looking calm, I can tell you.
“Do you believe in love at first sight?”
“Umm, I don’t actually.” (Bloody hell, how old is he?? Do women actually fall for this pap in the 21st century?)
“Because I think it might be love at first sight for me with you.”
I think I just gaped at him with my mouth open in the most unattractive manner. What do you say to that?
“No. I believe there can be lust at first sight, but not love,” I said cautiously.
He seemed to think that was hilarious.
It got worse. He told me about his “theory,” how Japanese girls care too much about what their mothers say and listen to them too much, about how they are always in little cliques, where the leader is always the pretty one, and the other two aren’t as pretty but they want to be friends with the pretty girl, and that they always end up backstabbing and undermining each other. He pointed out a group of three girls sat nearby and applied his theory to them. Pop psychology to the max methinks.
It made me feel quite sick to tell you the truth. And he was claiming to be interested in studying gender issues. If you want to study gender, that’s fine, but why are you speaking for women? Let women speak for themselves. He didn’t even seem to realise that the cause of a lot of the things he was pointing out is the patriarchal structure of society. He was so infuriating. A quack, self-styled intellectual on gender issues, who wants to popularise naked sushi. Right. I can take you so seriously.
Anyway, I managed to make it though the so-called date.
I met him twice again – don’t ask me why. I do stupid things all the time.
Constantly name-dropping (“Ken will be there, Ken Watanabe, you know him right?”), and claiming to be on TV and having released a hit rap song, after tea one evening he invited me to a party for an artist friend of his from Hawaii at the Grand Hyatt in Roppongi. We hailed a taxi and once we were settled in the back seat, he grabbed my hand.
WHAT??? What on earth made him think he should or could do that?! Simply meeting him again? Well, he kissed me on the cheek when he saw me just before, so why should I be surprised?
He started playing with my fingers and making out with the back of my hand. Ok, making out implies there was drool everywhere, and that’s gross. He was just planting light, feathery kisses on it. Happy? I was freaked out and tried to stiffen my hand without pulling it away entirely – it would give offence, right?
His “party”, by the way, was 6 girls including me, and just him and his friend. What a party.
Said artist friend paints dolphins and unicorns – it was hard to keep a straight face.
When I said I’d had enough he insisted on escorting me down in the lift, and took the opportunity to hug me and attempt a kiss. I turned my head away so fast I nearly got whiplash, but he still did get the corner of my mouth. Eww. He then held my hand all the way to the station.*
I went to another of his parties at the Hyatt, this time with a friend in tow. I know, I never learn, right?
I guess I just wanted a second opinion on how awful he was.
It was very girl heavy again.
A few old (oh all right, not old, middle aged) foreign men, and lots of beautiful, young Japanese women.
It was here that I met possibly the bitchiest girl I’ve ever met in my life.
Very superficial. An avowed fan of the aforementioned unicorn and dolphin artist.
“You should sit down!” she said.
“No, we’re fine standing up,” said my friend.
“Why don’t you want to sit down? Are you burning calories or something? You’re slim already, so you don’t need to do that,” said the beeyatch.
“We just prefer to stand, that’s all. Maybe you should sit down.”
Yes, you read correctly. That conversation actually happened.
But wait, it gets even better.
Having taken a look at the National Geographic issue that was lying around, the one from June 1985, the one with the stunning photograph of the Afghan girl with the striking green eyes, she said, “Who is that? Do you know?”
“It’s a very famous cover! It’s the Afghan girl in the refugee camp in Pakistan!” I was really shocked. Hasn’t everyone seen that cover?
“How old is she?”
“She must be around 12 or 13 I think,” I replied.
“Oh my god! She looks 35! Her skin is awful! She has so much sun damage.”
I was floored. Did those words really just come out of her mouth?
“Well,” I retorted, “She’s a refugee and she’s lived through a war. I think her priorities are more about whether her family is still alive, or where her next meal is coming from, rather than sun damage and good skin.”
It went over her head, and I didn’t speak to her again.
This experience was a good thing though, because I realised that I had integrity. That I didn’t care for free champagne and ritzy hotels if it meant being around people I didn’t like.
Thereafter I fended off all calls and messages.
Several months later, a Japanese friend texted me saying, “I think your man is on TV! Check Fuji TV!”
I did and lo and behold, there he was, part of a panel on a variety show.
“It’s HIM! How did you know? And don’t call him my man!” was my reply.
“He’s criticizing Japanese girls so much, I thought it must be him!”
We had a good laugh about it.
He still phones me, once in a blue moon, when he needs something, asking me to watch him on TV at a certain time, proposing job offers, or party invites, and things of that ilk. I usually ignore them and send a sorry I missed your call, I was asleep/busy/on the train/tired along with a feel free to text if you want. It puts him off.
Vile people can never be bothered.
*For those of you who might be wondering, at this point, why I let all this happen when it was so distasteful to me should know that I am a pushover, and so very English, that I find it extremely difficult to give offence without feeling dreadfully guilty, even if I don’t particularly like the person in question.