I have fallen head-over-heels in love with a little Japanese woman. She smells like Asahi beer and stale cigarettes.
Her name is hard to pronounce so everyone at work calls her "Mama." Her jeans have rhinestones on them and her t-shirts are always black or white, sometimes her nails have glitter on the tips. My first week in Japan I was sick and Mama came knocking at my door.
'Here, this for you!' She handed me a carton of orange juice, a red apple with the skin carefully peeled and cut into tiny slices, and a little packet of white powder that looked suspect.
'What's this stuff?' I asked shaking the powder around. 'You mix in warm water with hot tea drink get rid of sickness! Now back to bed!'
I felt like shit but I obediently mixed the powder into the bottom of a tea cup and poured hot water. It tasted awful but I chased it down with orange juice, ate the apples and went back to bed. The next morning I woke up feeling great. My headache was gone and my nose wasn't running anymore. I showed up for work that day and Mama seemed pleased.
'Here this for you!' she handed me a baggie full of green pills. 'What are these?' I asked shaking the green pills around 'Full of protein and seaweed protein pills for you good you need to eat more!' So I started to take the protein and seaweed pills and by the next week my skin was glowing.
The next week Mama handed me a bagel and a plant. 'Bagel you eat, plant for room!'
The week after that she gave me beautiful blue and white lace curtains. Mama has been so sweet and warm since I got here. Not only as a boss but as a neighbor/ friend of my father's and just an all around sweetheart.
When I grow up I want to be just like her, and that is why I'm in love with her.
Starting to feel nauseous whenever I think of you. There are so many things about your skin I thought were good, but now when I think of your teeth my shoulders just feel heavy and I’m always tired.
Like the time you told me you wish my collarbone stuck out more. Or when you'd tell me you didn't like the freckle above my top lip.
During this particular time we were sleeping together, when we were "in love" I was absolutely adherent to the idea of you always being my best friend. People would say "maybe you just need time apart" but it's been a dozen months a handful of weeks and last night, after a hot bath where I shaved my legs, I came to the conclusion that you were never anything special. You just got there first, And that you were never special, you were just always right. And there isn't anything fucking special about always being right.
I never asked you to coddle me when I was having a bad day. I never begged on my knees when you told me I wasn’t good enough. When I whispered in your ear “Am I the one, do you think I could make you happy forever?” And when you said “I don’t know.” I knew it was over. I could feel it on the walk home.
I was close-hauled on my way to Japan. When the plane took off my heart lept into my throat and I thought “If I die right now the coroner will see my stretch marks.”
I left the last picture you sent me tapped to my bedroom wall. Four walls all painted that ugly pepto pink with the frameless bed and the dirty rug. I left all your songs, all the records, the books the clothes, threw away all the underwear you bought me and set a match to the coalescent idea of “you and I.” The memory box of you and I is more like a tomb that sits on the top shelf in a room I plan on never seeing again.
I made up my mind that from that day forward I would never stop loving you, but that I didn’t like you anymore.
I’ve found the difference in the way you tried to write me emails, detailed and speaking so highly of yourself. Awesome, you’ve finally made it.!
I made up my mind that I would never denounce your last name or pick apart your smile. You were at one point the very first thing that popped into my mind when I woke up. Your hands got me through an entire year of feeling like I wanted to die. The mornings you’d get up before the sun was out, you’d kiss my forehead goodbye and I’d lay in your bed for hours just smelling your comforter because every last bit of you made me feel so warm. I would wash you away from my skin and feel so sad. I wanted to keep every part of you deep into my pores.
I spent the summer sweating you out of my system. I made mistakes and whenever I felt like I missed you I reminded myself that shit changes and learning to love yourself is hard, and thinking you could love anybody else before you reach that point is impossible.
Off and on is what we want, what we want is off and on.
I keep trying to think why we react the way we do. What puts us in these sour moods where we're unable to climb out, get over it and just walk into a door that is bright without moth eaten curtains and something sticky on the floor. I think for me it's too soon. I'm still the sad girl inside her ugly pink bedroom hiding from everything. Here it's bright and big and people are friendly with eyes that light up whenever I talk.
You really figure out who your true friends are when you move across the world. I guess I was just never important to you, it was just something convenient to pass the time and I'm not bitter about that. We are adults and adults can see things children cannot; I can reach snacks hidden on top the fridge, I could smoke if I wanted (but smoking is disgusting.) I could drink if I wanted but we all know I'm hopeless and hate the taste. I could do anything I wanted but for some reason I just couldn't give up on you.
Being American here in Japan the first thing Japanese girls (the guys never speak to me) ask is "Do you have tattoos?" Aside from my best friend back home everybody I'm friends with as at least one tattoo, if not a few. I have absolutely NOTHING against tattoos whatsoever. The dude I'm seeing now is completely covered in tattoos and I literally drool all over his arms. My female friends with tattoos all have bright beautifully colored pieces of artwork across their bodies and it's mesmerizing. I in no way shape or form think tattoos on girls take away from anything, I think when done correctly tattoos only add to the beauty of a womans body.
Almost every Japanese girl I've met here in the past 8 days has a traditional Japanese tattoo, usually around her arm or on her lower back. In America we'd call that a "tramp stamp" but the girls here are a little behind and still consider this shit to look trendy or whatever. A girl I work with who's seriously adorable showed me her tattoo on her upper arm and it was a band of four leaf clovers. I was a little confused thinking "well, are you Irish?" She laughed and said "no it just means good luck!"
Then the girl proceeded to tell me I needed tattoos. I did my usual lip bite, eyes to the side "ahhh I don't know..." she laughed at me "why not! you're young! you need one!" Aside from the whole pain aspect (I'm irrationally afraid of all needles) I'm just too fickle. I change my mind every three seconds. One minute I want to wear tights and shorts the next I want jeans and a white t. One day I want to be super fem and the next day I just want to wear a band t shirt and throw my hair up. I'm a complete headcase in my own body and I know the minute I get a tattoo I'd probably regret it.
Or knowing my luck I'd be allergic to the ink.
So I'm expecting more "do you have a tattoo?" questions followed by the "why not" followed by "you should get one across your lower back!" Japan, Japan.
Japan is great, my new job is fun a little stressful because I'm still learning. Walked out with close to 30yen in tips, plus I'm being paid by the hour. I'm in love with Lemon Tea in a carton and finally bought Milk Tea because my one friend kept bugging me to try it. My dad bought me a coffee pot so I'm starting to feel more at home, with my mud brew every morning.
Here are pictures of my new space :
The natural sunlight is perfect and I started to hang some of David's portraits he gave me on the wall. There are bits and pieces of my friends scattered on my window sill. I told my dad to extend my ticket so instead of 2 more weeks we're planning on 3 more months. I miss Rashi a lot and I miss being able to take the china town bus up to see David and walk around Nyc drinking tall arizona t's and just laughing, but everyones busy doing what they love so i'll just give Japan some more time. I'm still adjusting but it feels more like home everyday.
I've been in Japan since Tuesday afternoon. I'm still having a hard time sleeping but besides that I'm enjoying everything. The weather here is really nice, breezy and blue skies and just cool enough that all you need is a t-shirt and cardigan. My dad and I have gone out exploring pretty much everyday, and I finally went out yesterday afternoon by myself to the convenient down the street to buy iced tea and chocolate covered almonds. I walked around listening to Best Coast and kind of took everything in by myself, for the first time.
It's hard (or maybe just more annoying) being a vegetarian here. Almost everything has some sort of animal in it.. (beef or chicken stock in the brother for noodles, the "red" sauce in you mix in with the quail egg of course has meat in it, fish everywhere, shrimp) etc etc. The bar down the street makes American food like nachos. Coincidentally this is the same bar I start working at Saturday night, so I have a feeling I'll be eating there a lot.
The bar is an old Baptist church (in Yokosuka.. I know right?) and is owned by an American "lifer" who works at the ship yard like my dad, but married a Japanese woman who he can't stand. They avoid each other at all costs. The head bartender is a 46year old Japanese woman who looks like a model and dresses like she lives at the Jersey Shore, but despite her appearance she's very sweet and even a grandmother.
(View from my bedroom)
Tonight my dad is taking me out for a traditional Japanese dinner with a few of his friends, it's supposedly cost a lot and is very fancy (two things I'm not familiar with) so I'm already wondering what I should wear. Everyone over here dresses nice, at all times. You never see girls rolling out of bed in sweatpants, it puts more pressure on me to make sure I look my best since I already stand out as the 5'7 foreigner with the big black eyes.
I think when I'm done eating this apple I'll tacked the tedious task of finally washing my hair. My dad doesn't have a shower head, it's just a traditional Japanese bathroom with a sink, washer, and a little steam room that has a tub in the middle of it. The toilet is in a little closet kept separate. If you know me you know how much I hate washing my hair (especially when it's bending my head under a little faucet) but I'm pretty such I can handle it. Maybe I'll eat some peanut butter for extra protein provided I'll need all the strength I can get trying to tame this wild mane.