Note: some are real, and some are fake, and those make a story.
As a foreigner in Japan, having a Japanese girl as my girlfriend, even for a short period of time, was a kind of must-do list in my journey, though I didn’t know why I wanted to make it happen. This idea had been implanted in my mind since I was a kid, perhaps, due to watching so many Japanese dramas during my childhood. In real life, of course, things were not going well as expected, and below is one of my experiences.
It was the winter time, when I first came to Fukuoka. I started living with my host family as I haven’t lived with any host family in my life, and wanted to try something new. Besides, I liked to speak Japanese as many as possible,for not wasting time in Japan here to speak other non-Japanese languages. When you come to 30 years old very soon, you can’t help thinking in a rather practical way.
The host family was living in the countryside which was 10 minutes walk from Sue-Chou station.
⇓⇓⇓ Sue-Chou station
Every morning, my host mother prepared me a good breakfast, and I happily ate them with watching morning news, and chatted with her for some trivial topics. In our breakfast time, my host father was practicing Korean language. He has learnt this foreign language for around 3 years by listening the morning Korean radio program. My host mother joked that his Korean language skills were only enough to handle the trip in Korea.
Usually I left my home at 8:15am, walked slowly to the station, caught a train which arrived at 8:35am on time. Arriving at the station 5 minutes before the train came was like one of the routines I liked to do during my stay in the countryside. I loved thinking nothing at the station, purely enjoying the waiting time for no reason. Sometimes, doing stuff without a reason is kind of fun. Everyone was quietly waiting for the train as well.
I liked sitting at the bench, waiting for the incoming train, and usually there was a same girl sitting next to me. Everyday she liked to eat her breakfast at the waiting time, with reading some news on her phone. (Sorry that I had a bad habit to peep what others were doing in public.) I thought her appearance was similar to Mai Shiraishi, the member of Nogizaka46.
Everyday we took the same train back to Hakata station, but she walked in a different way, leading to the area full of vocational schools. “What does she study ? “ I always thought about this question. Perhaps she was studying something cool, or something boring.
No Surprise. We met each other every morning, and she kept sitting near me everyday, though we did not have any conversation. I guessed she knew I was a foreigner, as sometimes I encountered my Singaporean schoolmate, who was also living with a host family in the countryside, at Chojabaru station, and he always spoke English to me loudly in public. He seemed to want everyone to know that he was a naive English speaker.
I did think of some pick-up lines and approached her actively. However, in Japan, it is not common for a man approaching a girl suddenly, and this scenario only happens in Manga, but not in real life. Girls in Japan usually feel shocked if a man does this way. My gut feeling told me I had to wait for the right moment, though I was not sure when it was.
One rainy day, a miracle happened.
It was around 6 pm. I seldom came back home around this time while living with my host family, as their dining time was usually around 8 :00 pm. I was waiting at the second train back to sue-chou station, at Chojabaru station, sitting at the beach and reading “After Dark” written by Haruki Murakami. And she sat near to me, with a tiring face, and didn’t recognize me in the beginning, till one minute later she released me sitting next to her, by peeping what I read.
⇓⇓⇓Chojabaru station, ( the day I met the girl)
We took the same train, without any exchange of glance or word. The high school kids chatted loudly on the train. Perhaps they were happy to finish their after school activities and forgot their manners. But it was good to chat loudly sometimes.
The sudden rain came before we arrived at our destination. She got off the train ahead of me. She was puzzled about what to do next by looking at the sky and the phone, but didn’t text anything.
Without any second thought, I came to her and said “ do you need an umbrella ? “ in Japanese. (I didn’t know why I brought an umbrella that day)Actually, now I think back, I should say a better line.
“ It is okay” she told me, with a smile, with a follow up question, “ Are you a foreigner?” It seemed she was also curious about me.
“ Yes, I am. I am an international student. My name is Andy. Nice to meet you”
“My name is Mai Tanaka . Nice to meet you too. The rain is so heavy. I want to wait a while, as I need to ride my bike back home”
“You ride your bike to this station everyday? “
“ Yes, it takes 25 minutes on foot from my home. But it seems it is not possible to ride my bike back home today”
“How about I walk you home ? I like walking,” I said.
“Really? Thank you. Let’s go. She replied.
Actually, I was quite surprised she accepted this offer. Perhaps I was not looking like a bad guy, but a nice guy without any evil purpose. (smile)
We kept talking on the way, to her home. I was holding the umbrella and she was walking with pushing her bike along her. Due to the privacy issue, I won’t disclose any surroundings on the way we walked together. In first 10 minutes, we basically introduced ourselves.
Mai was a vocational school student, studying at the secretary course for 2 years, in the preparation for becoming a secretary working for a big name company, and she dreamed of working in a big city like Tokyo or Osaka. She liked to listen to Nogizaka46, loved drinking coffee, and went picnic with her friends on Sundays.
(Wait, I just started studying Japanese for one month. Why I could understand so many things she said? )
Indeed, Mai was not good at speaking English, and almost 70% of the conversation was done by the translator on our smartphones.
It was my first time to realize there was something to be called “ language barrier” which one could not overcome in short time. There were more stuff I wanted to ask, and say , and she was also struggling about a word to say, in order to express herself.
To be honest, It was quite fun for both of us to chat in this way, wrote on the translator and translated them into English/Japanese. But it is hard to have deep conversation and mutual understanding, without speaking the same language at the similar level. We could only talk about some simple topics. It was fun, but not enough to bring us to be a couple.
When she arrived at her home, I said goodbye to her, and didn’t ask her Line number.
I walked slowly back to my host family’s home, under the rain. My mind kept popping up with one phrase
The right person, the right place, but the wrong timing.
⇓⇓⇓ the way to home
Watch my latest YouTube video! Why Japanese girls don’t like socializing with their colleagues after work?