Tokyo Turbocharge

This blog is not really a blog so much as a story in the process of being written. It's about what happens when an English guy goes to Japan for a couple of years. Please use the comments to let me know what bits you like or don't like.

You can start at the beginning by clicking here, or go to my normal blog Glacons.

Friday, March 18, 2005

7. Mr Uematsu and Mr Ron Fast

Mr Uematsu was an awkward sorta guy who was about 45, whose jet black hair was starting to thin, and who wore god awful glasses with lenses that were almost as big as his cheeks. I met him in the foyer of the Keio Plaza as he stepped forward and reached for my hand after we were introduced by one of The Programme organisers. He had come down from wherever it was I was going to live to collect me. It was an awkward introduction, with hands being offered for shaking but the shake being too limp for me, too firm for him. I tried to make eye contact, as is customary during a handshake, but he bowed his head away from my gaze. Guessing that maybe I should bow too, I nodded my head with a nervous caution that made my effort laughable by native standards. The Programme had primed us with a few basic Japanese greetings, and I was prompted to make an effort by his use of a Japanese 'how do you do'. Of course I completely fluffed up my reciprocal 'dozo yoroshiku onegaishimasu', mainly due to a lack of attention during the language briefing, but not helped by a jet-laggy hangover. 'Daniel-san', he said to me, sucking his teeth in the way that Japanese men do when they are being highly polite, 'this is Mr Ron Fast'. I looked to my left at the tall slender Canadian guy who had been waiting at the side. Things picked up a bit as Ron shook my hand in the correct manly eye-contacting way, avoiding the text-book English greetings and asking me more spontaneous questions, 'How was your journey?'.

We must have stood around talking for about five more minutes before Mr Uematsu prompted us to pick up the luggage to go and catch the train. With my one hundred or something kilos of snowboard and tent and CDs and clothes strewn one bag or case each between us, we three strolled out of the Keio Plaza into the humid air and along the shiny pavements, our bodies absorbing the heat and our shirts sticking to our backs. It wasn't much more than one hundred metres before Mr Uematsu decided that we should stop in a coffee shop. This one was of the Doutor chain, a small little place stuck on the bottom floor of a twenty story building covered from top to toe in grey tiles and neon signs. As we entered the air conditioned atmosphere hit me smack between the eyes at the same time a chorus of 'irashaimasayyyyyy' hit me between the ears, the waiting and counter staff crying out welcome. As we sat down a girl dressed in a tidily pressed uniform with a knee length skirt and a brown and yellow shirt of the corporate colours came across with a tray to serve us each small glass of water and a hot steaming hand towel. It might have been meant for my hands but that thing went straight across my sweaty brow, attracting what I noticed was a slight look of surprise from Mr Uematsu. Wiping one's face was obviously not the done thing. We chatted as Mr Uematsu ordered three ice coffees, or aisu kohi as they are better known over there and, seeing I was hot, handed me a plastic and paper fan that I thought was a gift but which I later found out was a form of free advertising he had been handed on the street. The polite chat continued with stuff he had obviously and surprisingly read in my long forgotten application. With my own questions I found out that Ron had been there a month already, that he was 30, had worked in Korea as an English teacher before, and wanted to save money before starting a post-grad programme back in Canada. I also gleaned that we both had quite luxurious one bedroom appartments already lined up and supplied at a nicely subsidised rent.


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I'd like to read the follow-up to this nice beginning :)

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Me too :)

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He ketched a frog one day, and took him home, and said he cal'lated to educate him; and so he never done nothing for three months but set in his back yard and learn that frog to jump.. None were left but Hester, the great French scholar, who, being one of those young imps that seem to have the faculty of living without sleep, sat bolt upright with her eyes wide open, watching the uncomfortable visitors.. On the day before the dream he had given a student instruction concerning Grignard's reaction, in which magnesium is to be dissolved in absolutely pure ether under the catalytic influence of iodine.. Oh, I am chilled to the bones! said Podington.. Certainly I have heard of few men more beloved, and of none more worthy to be loved.. No! gentlemen! The defendant exhibited in this affair a certain frugality of--er--pecuniary investment, which I am willing to admit may be commendable in his class.. ) She then looks out through the car window to see whether the parts cannot be seen behind. How I should like to stop there over night! You would probably wish yourself away before morning, Evelyn, replied her mother indifferently.. The dream is then a sign of pregnancy.. Elder Brown held it out, upside down, at arm's-length.. I am prepared to maintain that no dream is inspired by other than egoistic emotions.. Most short-sighted persons are very glad to have the help of glasses; but Mr.. The odd clamor and confusion drew from a saloon near by a group of noisy youngsters, who had been making a night of it.. The dream was very vivid, and showed me my beloved mother, with peculiarly calm sleeping countenance, carried into the room and laid on the bed by two (or three) persons with birds' beaks.. That the dream work should unhesitatingly use the double meaning of the word is certainly remarkable; ample experience has shown, however, that the occurrence is quite usual.. She pointed to a sleepy boy about five years old, who with head thrown back and mouth wide open, was slumbering in his chair.. But there will here remain no tendency again to occupy the perception of the source of pain in the form of an hallucination or in any other form.. Podington rolled up his life-preserver and carried it under his arm.. I have overruled the objection, repeated the Judge; you may go on.. How I should like to stop there over night! You would probably wish yourself away before morning, Evelyn, replied her mother indifferently...

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