The title is making a mountain out of a molehill. And as it wasn’t even a date, some of you might yell at me, “This post doesn’t even belong here!”
But it was unusual, and I want to remember it, so on the blog it goes.
I was on my way to the gym one Sunday morning, minding my own business under my parasol, when a man – one of the most heartstoppingly handsome men I’ve ever seen in my life – accosted me and pulled me out of my reverie. I thought he might want to ask for directions or even the time, so I stopped.
おれとあそぶ？(Ore to asobu or, in plain English, “Do you want to play with me?”
I looked into his beautiful eyes, and movie star face, a million thoughts swirling in my head. I really didn’t know what to say. What does one say to that? What does it even mean? Play as in let’s grab a coffee play, or let’s go to karaoke play, or let’s do it right here right now play?
The exchange took place in Japanese, and while nowhere near fluent, I can get by enough to understand this.
“Hey,” he said.
“Yes?” I stopped in my tracks, expecting to be asked for the time or directions.
“Do you speak Japanese?”
“A little bit.”
“Do you want to play with me?”
“Um, I’m just going to the gym,” I said, gesturing vaguely towards it.
“What time will you finish?”
“In about an hour…”
“I – I’m supposed to be meeting a friend…” (Which was true.)
“Okay.” And just like that he walked out of my life, leaving me topsy-turvy.
The violence of the emotions I felt was new to me. On the one hand, he was so attractive, and I was kicking myself for not having gotten his number. And on the other, the numerous tattoos showing from beneath his unbuttoned shirt terrified me. I was in the flap and panic of a lifetime.
I don’t mind a nice, classy tattoo. But the sheer number was intimidating. And as it’s quite rare to see anyone with that many in Japan, I suppose I was just shaken up. It’s equally as rare for a guy to just come up to you and say anything like that out of the blue, so I was doubly gobsmacked.
There was also that nasty little voice in my head saying…
“Yakuza!” my Japanese friend blurted out over her noodle soup.
“Shhh, you don’t know that!” I mumbled. “It’s not right to judge someone because they might have a tattoo, or… twenty. Having a tattoo does not mean that you are evil.”
“Let’s face it, tattoos are super rare in Japan. If it had been Europe or the States, maybe. But not here.”
“But you know, he had a kind face, and kind eyes. He didn’t look like he was a bad person.”
“Well I’m glad you didn’t follow him,” she said, adamantly. “Anyway, if he had been a decent guy, he would have asked for your number. And he wouldn’t have said ‘ore’!” (Ore is very informal bad boy way to say “I”, as in, me. I hope that made sense.)
I feel like I’ve seen him before, many months ago, one night in Shinjuku – I never forget a man that handsome. And if that is the case, perhaps we’re destined to bump into each other again – and who knows what will happen if we do…
Either way, it’s been kind of fun to think that I’ve been this close to having a Yakuza fling.