Well, it seems that Mr. X had been pouting about his perceived botched relationship with Miss Y for the past couple of days. This morning, as he boarded the train for Tokyo, he thought to himself, "OK, I've only gotten a couple of generic e-mails from Miss Y, so I don't think she's really interested in me. After all, she had a few glasses of wine at our dinner, and no doubt she now regrets giving me the impression that she was actually interested in me, but she can't actually come out and say it. OK, I understand. Today at work, I'll just ignore her, and she will understand that I understand that she's not really interested in me."
Well, at work, Mr. X did his best to ignore Miss Y for most of the morning. But then, about a half our before lunch time, Miss Y came over to his desk.
"How would you like to have lunch with me?" she asked.
"Oh, my gawwwwwwww" thought Mr. X. "Can this be real?"
Speechless, Mr. X could only manage a "two thumbs up".
"So I take it that means 'yes'?"
"Hai, hai! Yes, yes"
"OK, let's meet at the restaurant section on the 1st floor."
Before Mr. X knew it, it was lunchtime. He saw Miss Y furtively slip out of the office, so he gathered up his things.
"Are you going home?" asked one of his co-workers, with a surprised look on his face.
"Aha!" cried another co-worker. "Going for a secretive rendezvous, no doubt!"
"No, I...I...just want to eat at...Burger King today!" lied Mr. X.
"Uh huh, suuuuuuure."
Mr. X hurried to the elevator, only to see the doors shut just as Miss Y got in. So impatiently, he waited for the next one, which seemed to take forever. And when the next elevator came, it was too jam-packed to get in, so he waited for the next elevator. Finally, an elevator that wasn't so crowded arrived.
It seemed like forever, but the elevator finally made it to the 1st floor. Miss Y was waiting where she said she would be.
"I couldn't find an unoccupied table, so I had to ask someone if they would share a table with us" she said.
Mr. X was a little surprised. Someone had told him that Europeans do this, but in Japan it is almost unheard of to ask a complete stranger to share a table. But, no matter, at least they had someplace to sit.
After apologizing profusely to the woman who had agreed to share her table, Mr. X and Miss Y sat down for lunch. Lunch consisted of "bento" that each had brought from home. Mr. X had no idea what Miss Y was eating, because he was too busy looking at her, and thinking what a lucky day today was.
I know this guy, let's call him "Mr. X". Mr. X gets off work one Friday, and as he is getting into the elevator, so does one of his female coworkers ("Miss Y" . Mr. X is kind of surprised, because usually his female coworkers will duck into the nearby ladies' room if they see him getting into into the elevator after the work day has ended.
Anyway, Miss Y, who recently entered the company, gets next to Mr. X in the elevator and strikes up a conversation. There is the usual chit-chat, which, when it does occur, usually ends on the 1st floor where the elevator stops. However, Miss Y continues to walk with Mr. X to the train station, which is extremely unusual. And even when Mr. X stops to buy his ticket, Miss Y stays with him. This usually doesn't happen even when Mr. X is talking to a male coworker after work.
Anyway, they get in the train together. Mr. X is headed for Tokyo Station, Miss Y is going to Akihabara, two stations after that. They continue to talk in the train. For Mr. X, this is the first time in 4 or 5 years that he has talked to a lady in a Tokyo commuter train. The conversation appears to go well.
When the train arrives at Tokyo Station, Miss Y says, "Is this where you're getting off?" Mr. X replies, "Oh, heck, might as well go to Akihabara, because we're having such an interesting conversation."
At the turnstile at Akihabara Station, Miss Y says, "I'm meeting a long-time friend here and we're going to have dinner at a restaurant. Maybe you can join us?" Mr. X is very keen to that idea, so Miss Y goes off into a corner of the station and phones her friend. The restaurant is a reservations-only place, so it takes a while to get everything set up. But eventually, Miss Y comes back and says that it's OK, Mr. X can make it a threesome.
So the friend ("Miss Z" meets them at the station. They walk together to the restaurant and have a great time. During the conversation at the restaurant, Mr. X finds out that he has several things in common with Miss Y. Miss Z, the longtime friend, turns to Mr. X and says, "Looks like you've got a new girlfriend." Mr. X and Miss Y exchange coy looks.
The conversation continues until the reservation for the table has expired. Miss Y and Miss Z have further plans for the night, while Mr. X has to go back home because he has to work at another job the next day. So they accompany him to the train station. After everyone says what a great time they had, Miss Y tells Mr. X, "Monday, give me your private e-mail address".
Well, Mr. X's heart starts pounding when he hears this. After years of loneliness, and several unsuccessful attempts at dating, it seems like he might be able to finally get into an interesting relationship with a woman. He can hardly wait for Monday.
Monday comes around, and Miss Y seems to ignore him at work. But eventually she comes by Mr. X's desk and talks to him briefly about last Friday's dinner, and Mr. X gives her his private e-mail address, and eagerly awaits for her reply. But she writes a kind of a generic reply, and Mr. X is a little disappointed. But eventually, he sends her a reply telling her how he loved the get-together and how he would love to do it again. Miss Y replies that she would love to do it again as well, but first she wants to make as many new friends at the company as possible. Mr. X scratches his head and thinks, WTF?
are not available in English. They contain quite a bit of interesting information. The first article (about repopulating the town of Naraha), for example, includes the story of an evacuee from Naraha who is currently living in Iwaki and has her doubts about being able to move back in 2 or 3 years. She visits several places in her old town and is sad to see that so much has changed.
For example, the park where she spent much time with her family has been turned into "ground zero" for the radiation clean-up effort and much of the greenery has been replaced with steel and concrete. She visits the downtown area and sees that a store near the train station has been vandalized. Then she goes to her home (which she and her husband were buying with a sizable home loan) and says with a great sigh, "How can I come back here under such brutal conditions?"
She also visits the industrial park where she used to work, which housed 24 factories at one time but is now a ghost town, and reflects on the 2011 disaster. She says that from the high ground of the industrial park, she and other workers could see the tsunami coming. They cried out in horror as they saw the disaster unfolding.
That is the title of a book authored by one of America's greatest Senators, J. William Fulbright (1905-1995). Senator Fulbright, who had also served at one time as president of the University of Arkansas and US Representative, was Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee when he voted, along with 97 other Senators, for the Tonkin Gulf Resolution in 1964. However, Senator Fulbright soon realized the error he had made, and in 1966 published "The Arrogance of Power" which was a major critique of the Vietnam War. However, it is as relevant today as it was back then, and should be required reading of everyone with a position of power in government.
Here is an excerpt from the book, written on the back cover:
"...America is now at that historical point at which a great nation is in danger of losing its perspective on what exactly is within the realm of its power and what is beyond it. Other great nations, reaching this critical juncture, have aspired to too much and, by overextension of effort, have declined and then fallen. Gradually but not unmistakably, America is showing signs of that arrogance of power which has afflicted, weakened, and in some cases destroyed great nations in the past. In so doing, we are not living up to our capacity and promise as a civilized example for the world; the measure of our falling short is the measure of the patriot's duty of dissent."
More excerpts of this excellent book can be found here:
Suddenly, a stream of random thoughts started flowing through her head. First, as a trickle, then as a raging torrent. "Why do I prefer Coke over Pepsi?" "Do bears REALLY crap in the woods?" "Who put the bomp in the bomp bomp bomp?"
Eventually, her thoughts turned to that age-old question: "Who am I?" And she thought, and she thought, and she thought about it. And when she couldn't answer that one, she thought, "How in the world did I ever get a name like Matilda Bleat?" But once again, she failed to find a satisfactory answer. So she decided to go inside and listen to an old 45 record player that had been given to her by the third cousin of her step-mother's second son from her fourth marriage, who had traced her ancestry all the way back to Atilla the Hun.
After rummaging through her eclectic collection of small vinyl discs with big round holes, she found one that she had never noticed before but now, somehow, immediately caught her attention. It was "Waltzing Matilda", as sung by the Merry Mailman. "Maybe this record holds the answer!" she exclaimed to herself.
Eagerly, she put the old record on the thick spindle. The spindle slid snugly through the hole. "Mmmm", she thought. "For some reason, I'm starting to feel a little frisky." Just then, the crackling voice of the Merry Mailman began singing,
"Once a jolly swagman
Camped beside a billibond
Under the shade of a coolibah tree..."
Matilda was puzzled. The words sounded like English, but yet, they were so foreign. Was this some sort of code?
After a bit of research, Matilda learned that the song was, indeed, in a code, called "Australian English". One by one, she looked up the meanings of the code words in the song. Eventually, she found that the word "jumbuck" meant "sheep". And what do sheep do? They "bleat"! Eureka! She had solved the mystery of her name!
Then, still feeling a bit frisky, her thoughts suddenly turned to that hunk of a lifeguard she had met just a couple of days ago. A wave of indescribably intense feelings started sweeping through her body. "Enough of this music!" she shouted to no one in particular. "I'm heading for the nude beach!"
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Home country: USA
Current location: Japan
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