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Kumiko-chan

Pachipro

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Rest in Peace
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When I became a student and moved off base way beack when in December 1976, I opened a bank account at the Bank of Yokohama near the station. As I had an ATM card all my withdrawals and deposits were done at the machine and I never used the tellers save for the one time each month I would need to pay my bills and rent.

Going to a Japanese bank is far different than going to a bank in the US and can be a very time consuming ordeal that may take 30 minutes or more just to pay a few bills and your rent or even to deposit some money if you didn’t use the ATM machine. A form must first be filled out with your name in Japanese and stamped with your personal name stamp (hanko). You then place your money and form, along with the bills into a tray at the counter and a teller will usually give you a number and you have to wait until your number or name is called. Your tray is then passed among 3 – 5 people sitting at desks behind the counter who methodically check it and place their own stamps on it. After what seems like an eternity, your name is called and you receive your tray with your change and receipts along with a bow and a thank you from the teller who served you.

There wasn’t much I disliked while living in Japan, but I did dislike having to go to the bank. What unusual experience could come out of simply going to a bank you may ask? Well, you are about to find out.

One day, in 1978, I went in to pay my rent and was waited on by your typical female teller in her late 20’ whom I had never seen before. She was tall for a Japanese woman, and had short black hair. She was dressed in a blue skirt and vest with a white shirt and small, blue cross tie with a small, white name tag on her left breast with ツ“Takahashiツ” printed on it. We hardly spoke, but she was impressed that I could speak and write Japanese and she mentioned that she spoke a little English. She asked what I did and I told her I was a student at a Sophia University in Tokyo.

Throughout the transaction she was very professional and I didn’t give her a second thought when I left. However, I did notice the unusual, long eye contact she made with me even though our encounter was brief. Most people, especially at banks and other places of business, when they encounter a foreigner (maybe even Japanese for that matter) will hardly make any eye contact with them even if they do speak Japanese.

A couple of days later I get a phone call at home at about 9 pm. It is this same female teller that waited on me at the bank. She apologized for calling me at home and I instantly thought I had left something there or didn’t fill out my forms properly. But that wasn’t the case at all. This woman was calling me to ask me to dinner!

I was completely taken by surprise as this was most unusual for a Japanese female to be so forward. Being single and not attached to anyone, I agreed to meet her at a time of her choosing after giving her my schedule for the coming week. I remember thinking that she wasn’t especially attractive or anything like that. In fact she was not even my type. I agreed to meet her more out of curiosity as she was so forward and I wanted to find out more about this woman who had the guts to call a strange male gaijin at home and ask him out.

Afterwards, I wondered how she got my number and figured that she must’ve gotten it from my records. This is even more unusual as what she was doing was probably against the law or the rules of her company and she could probably get into big trouble if I complained. Now I really wanted to meet this woman who would take a chance like that.

We met a few days later after she finished work at 7 pm and went to a nearby Denny’s. We talked and I found out her name was Kumiko. She lived alone only a few stops from me at Ebina station, has worked at this branch for three years, studied English while at university, was born and raised in Niigata, enjoyed playing tennis, liked foreign movies, never dated a foreigner before and was extremely attracted to me because I was a student and could speak Japanese, and, I was a foreigner. She said that she just had to get to know me. She was also 28 and I was 24.

After dinner we went for a couple of drinks and something to eat at a nearby ツ“snackツ” that I knew. Afterwards, I walked her to the station and we agreed to meet again the following Saturday night at her station (her suggestion). I thought about inviting her to my apartment, but I didn’t want to be too aggressive on a first date and give her the wrong impression. Also, the encounter did not make me any more attracted to her, but she was interesting nonetheless.

The following Saturday night we met again and went to an Izakaya where we drank beer and ate all kinds of Japanese food a la carte for a couple of hours. Our conversations were mostly in Japanese with a little English thrown in here and there. After a while she asked if I wanted to go to her apartment. Since I had no other plans, of course I said yes. What single male wouldn’t? Besides, even though I was not attracted to her in a physical way, I still wanted to know more about her.

Kumiko’s apartment was about a 15 minute walk and consisted of two rooms: a six mat room with a small kotatsu (small table with a removable top for the placement of a quilt, with a heat lamp under it to keep the feet and legs warm), a single bed, a TV, a radio, a phone, and a couple of other items of furniture along with a kerosene heater, and a small kitchen with a bath and toilet.

I sat at the kotatsu, warmed my feet, and leaned against the bed while she put on the TV, opened the window a crack and lit the heater. Then she grabbed a couple of beers from the small refrigerator and brought some Japanese seaweed flavored potato chips and some dried squid. While we sat on the floor drinking and eating we continued to talk about all kinds of things and, when the conversation lulled for a bit, we watched TV.

After a while she mentioned that it was getting late and that, if I wanted, I could stay her place. That is unless I wanted to catch the last train home and had other plans tomorrow. I thought about it for a millisecond and told her I would stay if it was alright as I was feeling pretty good and really didn’t feel like going home.

Now I was in a kind of conundrum here. Was she asking me to stay because she was being friendly in a Japanese sense and was comfortable with me, or did she want to sleep with me? Having been in Japan more than five years now I knew that persons of the opposite sex sometimes asked one to stay at their place as a courtesy or sign of friendship and not as an indication that there would be sex. Japan can be strange in this sense, especially for a foreign male, and one has to know how to tread lightly here. One misstep and you could screw things up. But she had showed no signs, in either her words or her body language, to lead me to believe that she was interested in me in a sexual way.

Now if this were a woman I had met in a bar or other place frequented by foreign males, I would know immediately that her intention was to probably sleep with me as it had happened a few times in the past and the signs were quite clear. However, this was different and I didn’t know how to read her. It was a little like when I met my first wife after being in Japan about a month and she took me home only for me to find out - in the morning! - that she lived with her parents and I ended up sleeping in the same room as she and her sister!

We talked for a while longer and I decided that she was just being friendly. Soon she asked if I’d like to take a bath before bed. Still she made no advances to me, or I towards her. Knowing the Japanese custom on baths, of course I said yes.

She proceeded to heat up the bath while I sat there sipping on a second beer racking my brain to figure out her intentions. Not wanting to be too forward (read: I was too shy) I decided that she was just being friendly as she had made no advances towards me or me towards her. I quickly drank my beer and decided that I would be ツ“too drunkツ” to do anything with her besides sleep just to be on the safe side. My mind wanted this, but my hormones were dictating something else and I had to put them to ツ“sleepツ”.

We continued to have small talk until the bath was ready. She brought out a pair of her oversized sweats for me to wear and I changed in the kitchen and took my bath. The sweats fit quite well for, as I said, she was tall for a Japanese woman. In fact she was almost my height and I was 5’ 9ツ”.

After my bath she went in the kitchen and did the same while I drank down another beer and munched on the snacks and watched TV while warming my feet under the kotatsu. (Man do I love kotatsu’s). Now I was feeling real good and was getting quite inebriated and was really not quite feeling up to initiating sex with her. This was a good thing I thought. Besides, if I were a ツ“gentlemanツ” tonight, I thought, it may pay ツ“dividendsツ” later on if the relationship did develop further.

After her bath she came back into the room in her pajamas and sat down. Seeing that my beer was gone she brought another. Now I was really getting drunk, my hormones were ツ“asleepツ” and I had no intentions whatsoever of being forward with her.

We continued to watch TV for about an hour or so and then, after the TV had signed off for the night at about 1:30AM, she turned it off, turned on a radio, said something about bed, and got a futon out from the closet. I moved the kotatsu against the wall and she laid out the mattress and quilts in the middle of the floor. Man did it look inviting and I couldn’t wait to get into it.

She turned off the kerosene heater and we sat on the floor a little while longer talking and listening to the radio until the smell of the kerosene heater dissipated. Then she closed the window and turned off the radio. I slipped into the futon and she turned out the light leaving only the tiny 5 or 10 watt bulb in the ceiling lamp lit and slipped into bed. Throughout it all I made no advances towards her or her towards me.

I lay there for a few minutes thinking about this woman, where I was, and the interesting time I had had with her; a woman who called a foreigner out of the blue and asked him out on a date, which was unheard of back then and I am now sleeping in her room! Man, this is an interesting country I remember thinking and I’m still loving it all. I was glad I was living there in this foreign land of the ツ“Rising Sunツ” as I am amazed almost on a daily basis by the differences in culture and thinking.

I’d like to say that we ended up making wild passionate love, but such was not the case. I just fell asleep and awoke in the morning about the same time as she. She made me some coffee and afterwards some buttered toast. We talked for a while longer and I left about noon.

We did see each other a couple of more times after that, but it never amounted to anything more than a drink and something to eat. As I mentioned earlier, she was nice and all, but the ツ“sparkツ” was never actually lit for me and I never again took her up on her offers to stay at her place. Had I taken her up on her offer again, I know for sure that we would’ve had relations as I could tell she was really beginning to like me. And that may have not been a good thing.

Call me crazy, but I am funny in that way. If I am not attracted to a particular woman I cannot sleep with her even though the indications are there. It’s just not me. There are exceptions of course, like ツ“two ships passing in the nightツ” or something similar. Or the woman bass player of an all girls band I dated for a couple of years who only wanted to have sex and nothing more serious (that’ll be another story), but this was different in a way that’s not easy to put into words.

Seeing that she was beginning to fall for me, I gradually cut down our dates until I had to come right out with it and tell her one day that I was just not interested in her in a loving way and it wouldn’t be fair to her for me to take this relationship any further. I really felt bad as I could see the hurt in her eyes. But it had to be and I did not want to lead this woman on. I can count on three fingers the number of women I broke up with and Kumiko was one.

Kumiko continued working at the bank for about another year and then was gone. Maybe she was transferred to a different branch, maybe she got married. I don’t know. If she was the one who waited on me when I went to the bank we just exchanged small talk and that was it. She never called me again nor I her. However, it was an interesting experience and one I’ll remember forever as it was rare indeed for a Japanese woman to ask a man out back then, especially a foreigner. She was ahead of her time.

Kumiko-chan, I wish you well and it was pleasure meeting you.
 

MajideSaiaku

tsuyaku o tsukete kudasai
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I hope she did get married...and to a nice bloke....i understand where your comming from man, its just a shame, two great people coulda made something special of it. 👍

As for me, ive only had sex with one woman my entire life, and im still with her, granted, im only 20 and we aint married yet, but i dont date around, its not me.....knowing my poor luck ill end up married to her as an 86 year old geezer shuffling down to the seven eleven outside kabe station, and telling my horney grandkids who are always dating about (like westerners) ask in wonderment if people ever only had a handful of sexual partners on avarage in my day, enough to count in two hands, and be even more suprised to learn i only had 1......just 1 woman.............1 woman my entire life.....

The funny thing is i dont even care :S, some blokes would feel cheated not getting to tryout all the women he could have, im happy with what i got.


Nice story man, keep em comming. :)
 

Kara_Nari

Angel of Life
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How was this story here for so long, and I didnt see it????
Im still waiting for the book Pachipro. The book, give us the booooook!
 

Damicci

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I honestly don't know ANYONE who has the experiences you have. In US or anywhere else in the world. For get the book. You need a movie!
Lost in Translation 2 hahaha
 

Tollen

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hehe yeah that'd be kewl!!! ^_^ i like the way that she just went and asked you out like that... it may not have worked in the ed but its the chance and the possibility that makes it kewl ^_^ makes you think of the possibilities like that that you don't tkae and where they could'v ended up.... ouch deep
 

Kakulin

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Good thing that she didn't try to ruin your credit after you broke up with her.
 

Pachipro

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Rest in Peace
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Good thing that she didn't try to ruin your credit after you broke up with her.
I didn't have a credit card back the. Besides, I think she was too nice to do that.
 

leonmarino

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I think it's genuinely a touching story.. It touched me anyways, sentimental as I can be sometimes. :(
 
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