Japan Diary: March 20th (2010) [Part 1/2]

Read the story from the beginning HERE (From the bottom of the page.)

Saturday 20th “A trip to a bridge, which lead to awkward and beyond”
This is the day I’ve often later told to friends and family in an edited version. I don’t think I’ve felt ashamed, but maybe I knew that what happened didn’t really live up to people expectations and it certainly wouldn’t be used as input for the perfect romantic movie. Though, back then I told the truth to my diary and I’ll tell the truth on this blog as well. Maybe it’ll make a good laugh.

The next morning I certainly didn’t feel refreshed when it came to sleep, but my weird hope regarding Hiro and I felt revived for some reason. I went to the living room and Hiro was up as he promised. I could hear a strong wind flowing around the house. Hiro told me that the flea market was postponed until tomorrow, so we decided to discuss what to do instead. Hiro suggested some kind of bridge located in the mountains around a two-hour drive away. It wasn’t like I had better plans myself.

In the car I felt no progress at all and we didn’t speak much either – except when I discovered a spider in my side of the car, which resulted in Hiro having to pull the car over and come and get it. The hope concerning us I had felt this morning was already dwindling.  Like always, we drove though a lot of areas with beautiful, countryside scenery. Tall mountains, interesting houses and numerous rice fields. Then we finally arrived to our destination. Mountains surrounded us and in between them, making a passage located several kilometres above ground was an elegant bridge.

I was happy that heights had never been an issue for me. After having crossed the bridge, there was a small path that took us on a 2 kilometres walk along uneven terrain, over several small bridges and water streams. We were once again alone and “the other Hiro” seemed to wake up. He started to put his arm around me and played with my hair.

We sat down on a bench and if I hadn’t noticed it myself, Hiro pointed out the fact that there were no people around.

“It’s your chance!”

“Chance for what?” I asked, even though I kind of knew the answer to this repeated joke.

“It’s your chance to kiss me.”

“Well, … it’s your chance as well.” I said and made a laugh, even small children would categorize as fake.

We looked at each other, waited for the other person to make a move, but we knew that wait would turn out way too long so we got up and kept on walking. Hiro put his arm around my waist; first I playfully showed it away, but in the same action I got a grip of his hand and let my fingers tangle up with his. He didn’t seem unpleased with this outturn, so we kept on walking like that until the small path ended and we were among other people around. We returned to the now overheated car to rest and then suddenly things were happening a lot faster than I could ever predict.

“What do you wanna do?” Hiro asked and looked out the window.

I turned my face in his direction, a bit surprised about the question since I thought we were on our way home.

“I don’t know” I answered and once again turned my face away.

“Wanna have sex?” Hiro asked in an emotionless voice.

The question startled me and I desperately tried to pull out yet another fake laugh. This question was surely a step up from the other suggestive things he had asked me the past two weeks, but I still couldn’t imagine him being serious about this.

“I kind of think this is the wrong place” I said, trying to sound nonchalant.

“Do you know love hotels? It’s a place you can go for like 2 hours.”

I turned my head to face Hiro, who had leaned his seat back and was looking straight at me. I searched his face for hints of an upcoming laugh or smile, which would reveal the fact that this was just another joke, but his eyes kept their gaze and he looked at me with a serious look. His hand reached out for my hair, which he once again started touching, while I blankly starred at a spot between the car window and his face. He once again opened his mouth and continued.

“It’s not possible for us to kiss or have sex at the house, while my parents are around. They would become furious if they found out that I was fooling around with a precious homestay student. But, … if we went to a love hotel…”

He was serious and my brain officially had a melt down. I sat up straight in the car seat and looked out the windshield, I looked into nothingness. I sat like that for a while, without saying anything. I wasn’t debating whether I should say yes or no, rather how I should accept his suggestion and still keeping my dignity intact. I didn’t like things were moving this fast, up until now I had hoped for a kiss and then we could take things from there. But, if I said no now, I might not get the chance to move any further. I did feel sure of my physical interest in him, my body had certainly given me lots of signs of that the past week or so.

“What are you thinking” Hiro asked and interrupted my flow of desperate thoughts.

Nothing, I’m blank” I lied.

“You’re probably thinking, “No way, Hiro” or something”.

 “No. Actually I wasn’t”

“Really? Then… should we find a hotel?” Hiro asked with a relieved voice.

Thousand of thoughts flew through me head. I wanted an innocent kiss and now I had to accept a sex invitation to get it? Well, it’s not like I expect anything serious to happen between us anyway. Hiro was looking straight at me and his question was still hanging in the air. I took some deep breathes, searched my brain for a decent answer, but all that managed to get out of my mouth was “iiyo” (fine).

“Really? So we’ll go?”

I nodded, kept my blank gaze directed towards the windshield. Was I going to regret this?

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Japan Diary: March 19th. (2010)

Read the story from the beginning HERE (From the bottom of the page.)

Friday 19th “Gathering things for the flea market”

When I woke up today, I felt rather empty – I had no idea of what I wanted to do and Hiro wouldn’t be home before around 10 pm. I went into the living room, where the mother told me that Keiko would come by soon, because she was going to pick up some things at an old lady’s house. The mother then asked if I wanted to come along – well anything seemed better than just waiting around. Some time later Keiko came around, dropped off Hikaru and said she would take the car to the old lady’s house. Since it wasn’t far from my homestay house, the mother, Hikaru and I went there by foot. It was just a short trip though the big yard, a walk on a narrow path, which was surrounded by small houses – all with a touch of “country side”.

We reached the old lady’s house, where Keiko was already busy with emptying out closets and shelves and I had no idea why. While the mother talked and Keiko loaded up the car I was watching after Hikaru. I was finally told that all the books and clothes Keiko was collecting was going to be used for a flea market, which were going to take place the next day.

After some more talk with the old lady who made me try to guess her age – I guess she liked hearing people guess 80, when she was really 97 years old. That must be considered a compliment. We went back to our house.

Then the rest of the day was spent with carrying all the stuff inside and look through it and then Keiko went home. I actually felt happy that dinnertime was approaching, since it meant that Hiro’s return would approach as well. Like always the father went to bed early, the mother stayed up and played some games with me, while I was mostly keeping my eyes on the big living room clock. Around 9:30 the mother said she would sleep for a while and then get up later. I took this as a change to go take a shower before Hiro returned, but when that was over and I returned to the living room around 10 pm, there were no signs of him. I started watching television, hoping that I any minute would hear the sound of his car, but nothing. The clock turned 11 pm, then 12 o’clock, still no annoying Hiro. At 1 am, I decided to stop being so awkward and went to my room, but I couldn’t really sleep. Around 3 am I finally heard the sound of a car pulling up. I argued with myself if I should go out and greet him or just stay in my room, since it was late and he probably would go to bed right away, I chose the last option. Then I heard the parent’s bedroom door open, it was the mother. I heard Hiro go to his room and then the muffled sounds of voices, well if they were going to be up, I was too.

I quietly left my room and went towards the living room, where Hiro’s room also was. The door to Hiro’s room was open and I placed myself there in the opening, watching Hiro and his mother talk. Hiro turned around and sent me a smile.

“You’re late” I mentioned in a casual tone.

Shortly after the mother, once again returned to bed and Hiro and I went to the living room.

“Are you tired?” I asked and sat in the chair next to his.

He answered no, but that statement was soon after followed by a yawn.

“You are tired!”

“Well maybe a little” he said and gave me a smile.

“Then why are you still up?”

“Because you are” he answered and kept looking at me.

I didn’t know what to answer and instead I tried to find something interesting to watch in the living room.

“What time are you getting up tomorrow?” He asked.

“What?! Why?! Why do you want to know that?” I stuttered, not sounding casual at all.

“Then I would get up around the same time, there’s also the flea market”

“Well, then what time do you think would be good?” I asked, hoping some dignity had returned to my voice.

“What about around 10? Then you could come and wake me up.”

“Listen… I’m not your alarm clock!”

He laughed a little and moved to stand by the heater, I followed, as always. After standing for a few minutes, we said our good nights and went to our separate room. That night I felt a sleep, while being happy about changing my bus ticket.

Japan Diary: March 18th (2010)

Thursday 18th “A trip to the city”

Around 9 o’clock in the morning I heard the front door being opened and mumbling voices. I sat up in my bed and peeked out from the window. Hiro was loading up the car and his mother and father was also standing out there, probably wishing him a nice trip. Then Hiro got in the car, started the engine and then he was gone.

I let myself fall back onto the bed, feeling hopeless and most of all frustrated. Images from last night came back to me, I started counting the days I had left in Miyazaki and for no specific reason at all, I started crying. I didn’t know why I felt like crying, it was like the tears weren’t mine, but the pain I didn’t understand the cause of, was certainly my own. I went back to sleep, what felt like the best thing during the current conditions.

I left my room around noon and was greeted by the mother. I had decided to go to Miyazaki city to take some pictures, since I had almost spent two weeks in Miyazaki prefecture, but I hadn’t seen much of the main city. The mother got out a bike I could borrow to get to the station, since it would have been a 45 minute walk – life on the country side.

A little later, when I finally had got my things ready and was about to get up on the bike, the mother came out with a phone in her hand.

“Keiko wants to take you to Miyazaki city in her car” she said and smiled.

Will I ever get some time alone around here? It’s not that I didn’t enjoy the company of Keiko, the matter of fact I liked her a lot, but I was worried about the rest of my Japan trip. What if I was always on my own later on, wouldn’t it feel even lonelier after being here?

Around 30 minutes later Keiko came around in her car, which also carried Hikaru and Keiko’s husband. A small, skinny guy with big front teeth, who didn’t reach much farther than my shoulder when he stood next to me – and it’s not because I’m a tall north European, since Keiko and were pretty much the exact same height. This guy, Tsu-kun, talked a lot, which was a nice change from all the silent guys Miyazaki had presented so far, but his words also came attached with a thick Miyazaki accent and on top of that, those words were put on high speed.

I was put in the front seat, next to Su-kun, while Keiko sat in the back with Hikaru. Tsu-kun saw this as a great opportunity to get to talk and ask a lot of questions in his country side Japanese, which often resulted in me saying “what?” and looking back at Keiko, who then “translated” into more main stream Japanese.

Since I just wanted to take pictures and see the city I had no idea where I wanted to go, so first off, Keiko and Tsu-kun took me to the Miyazaki government building.

After that they took me to see one their friend’s shop, where he gave me some stickers and a postcard. I often got asked to hold or watch Hikaru, which I liked – especially since he seemed to like me as well. What I didn’t like was when the conversation became about my departure date. Only three nights left in Miyazaki. That fact made my stomach turn.

The last stop of the day was the highest building in Miyazaki prefecture – not that it has that many high buildings to compete with. It was a hotel, where we could visit the highest floor.

Up there Keiko and I took pictures together, I knew I was going to miss her when I continued to Fukuoka. I started to think about the bus tickets to Fukuoka the father had ordered for me not long ago, maybe I should have asked for a day later. Just one day. I started to wonder if changing the tickets was possible.

After enjoying the view over Miyazaki, we decided to get back to the car and drive back to Kawaminami – a one-hour drive. When we got back to the house it had gotten dark and the mother and father had already eaten their dinner. The mother gave me my portion, which I started eating while Keiko was saying goodbye to her parents. I gave her a final smile and thanked her. After she was gone I worked up courage to ask the father about my bus ticket. He said that I couldn’t cancel, but the date could be changed. He promised to call for me the next morning.

I went back to my room. I sent an e-mail to my hosts in Fukuoka, saying that my computer had problems and it was being repaired, so I arrive a day later than planned. (Which was already three days later than originally planned.) I then decided to start a travel journal, in order to put words on my feelings – and also because I had a feeling that this trip to Japan was going to be a little different than my previous ones. After that I went to bed.

Japan Diary: March 17th (2010)

Wednesday 17th “All in for the game”

Today was a relaxed day, way more relaxed than I wanted it do be. Hiro’s parents were off to the hospital for his mother’s regular tests, so Hiro and I were the one ones in the house. I went to the living room, but he still hadn’t left his room. That made walk a lot between my room and the living room in the hopes that he would hear my footsteps and come out, but it wasn’t before I carried some of my laundry that I heard him move around. He opened his door shortly after at seemed a bit surprised to see me, he gave me a silly smile and the usual good morning greeting.

He went to the shower room to freshen up and I went to my room. After that we both sat down in the living room, but since the parents were using the car our possibilities of going somewhere seemed slim. Hiro was sitting in a chair in front of the heater and I moved my chair as close to his as possible. He let his hand rest of my leg for sometime and then he got up and found another movie to watch. My eyes shifted to the clock, from tomorrow Hiro would be going on a 2-day trip to Fukuoka to meet up with some friends and I would be left here all alone. I guess I had hoped that I would actually see some progress between us today. Wait what? What progress did I actually wish for? And why did my trip to Japan suddenly become a very boring, two-person, reality-show-like, love chase? Even I would have desperate looked for the remote to change the channel.

His parents returned home around 3 o’clock and Hiro’s movie ended around a half hour later and we ended up not leaving the house that day. Leaving me a bit frustrated. We spent the rest of the afternoon trying to improve Hiro’s English – which turned out to be a quite challenging task, that guy surely did not posses the gift of words and especially not pronunciation. Then we had the usual dinner and the father went to bed shortly after. His mother asked if we wanted to play a game and Hiro promised to explain the rules. After the mother had found the game she handed it to us and went to bed. We played to rounds of the game without any proper conversation, which meant I had to work on that myself.

I started to tell about my elementary and high school life and some of the people I liked and especially those I didn’t like. I led the conversation over to Japanese girls and how pretty they are, Hiro took the bate and started asking me things about a previous conversation we have had, concerning me and liking Japanese guys – a thing I had told him for a reason. I asked him about previous girlfriends and he started counting and it seemed like he had a nice list.

“You’re popular I see.”

“What about you?”

“I haven’t had any actual, committed relationships.”

“Really?” “Well, I’ve been around a few Japanese guys… doing things…”

Hiro laughed and I guess he caught my hint. He shared a few extra points of information concerning past relationships and I felt I was getting closer to my goal. What was my goal actually? Getting to second base with this guy? Well at least I wanted to see if I could blur the lines between friend and something else and most of all I wanted to overstep those invisible lines before leaving Miyazaki and losing didn’t feel like an option. Hiro went to take a shower and I waited in the living room for him to return.

When he came back he decided to sit down next to me, instead of the usual chair on the opposite side of the table. He once again touched my knee and started to play with my hair. A few times his fingers managed to touch my cheek, which made my heart beat faster and sending warmth through my body. I worked up the courage and told him I would probably be lonely without him.

“Really?”

“Well, in the evenings maybe, since everybody goes to bed so early.”

After some time Hiro got up and went to his room to prepare for bed, I waited and hoped he would come back, which he did a few minutes later. He went behind my chair and put his hands on my shoulder, which put my full body on high alert. He started massaging my shoulders and I looked towards the living room mirror, hoping to catch a unnoticed glimpse of his face, but in the mirror’s reflection I saw him sending me a smile and I turned my blushing face away. His hands went away and he went over to stand in front of the heater. I followed.

”Ishouni neru?” (Should we sleep together?) *Not necessarily sexual. I could feel him walk closer up behind me. I felt my knees get weak as I looked into the empty room, where tatami mats was laid out. I turned around and faced him, we were both alone in the big living room.

“Chotto dame to omou” (Don’t think that’s a good idea) He laughed and agreed.

“Well, tomorrow I’ll go to Fukuoka” he said and looked directly at me.

He started playing with my hair again and his face came closer to mine and I suddenly started to feel warmth that was not caused by the heater. His hands stopped moving, but stayed in my hair and eyes looked into mine. That’s when a voice inside my head started yelling, “It’s happening! Now! It’s now! He’ll kiss you!” He opened his mouth a bit and my heart was racing in my chest. Beneath me my legs were fighting against the feeling of being reduced to some kind of jelly. I was about to lean my head towards his when my motion was interrupted by Hiro’s voice, which breached the silence.

“Oyasumi” (Goodnight) I opened my mouth in surprised and forced myself to say the same.

He gave me a smile and went into his room. I just stood there, unable to move my jelly legs and fought to gain control of my heart that just few minutes ago had hit overdrive. So close, but still so far. Was he playing with me? I looked towards his door and started cursing in silence. I finally managed to go to my room where I felt more than sad about the thought of Hiro leaving me for two days.