While I was living with my host family, I voluntarily helped my host mother teaching one 17 year old girl English every Saturday morning. The girl was called Aya, she was a second year student of high school in Japan and she loved to learn English and work very hard for studying English, as she wanted to travel and live in Australia in the future. I forget why she loved Australia, but not Canada or other English -speaking countries. Aya-chan was in favor of everything about Australia, and even could remember many of the main cities in Australia, and was knowledgeable about the history of Australia that even some locals didn’t know.
Aya-chan was a cute girl, looking like Manatsu Akimoto, one of the members of Nogizaka46.
My host mother worked as English teacher while living in Tokyo many years ago. After she moved back to Fukuoka, she taught English to the kids and teens in the town. And she invited me to be her assistant every Saturday. That’s why I knew Aya-chan.
Aya was quite shy at the first time when she met me, but after a couple of lessons she was opened up herself and talked more about her enthusiasm in Australia and always asked me my experience of living in Australia. ( I lived in Australia for one year for working holiday 5 years ago, but she knew this country way more than I did.)
One night, while I was listening to “Born to be blue” played by Chet Baker, by my Ipad, before going to bed, I received a message from Aya and she invited me to walk around in the Kayocho pond, the pond near Sakado station, 2 stations away from my living place.
I was wondering why she asked me out, as it was kind of uneasy for me to go out with a young girl, who was my private student, and my host family knew her as well, but she sounded like she wanted to have a listener, from her recent lesson performance that she couldn’t focus very well.
We met at the Sakado station at 5 in the afternoon 2 days later, walking slowly to the pond, exchanged a few words about what we did that day. As I sensed she wanted to tell me something, I asked her directly, “ What do you want to talk to me? There must be some reasons she suddenly asked me out.” I said.
⇓⇓⇓Sakado station, Fukuoka
“ It is embarrassing to say that, but I am afraid of telling my friends about this as they may tell others or my parents. But you do not know my friends, and you are a foreigner. Most importantly, my gut feeling tells me you can keep a secret.”
“I see. I hope your gut feeling is correct this time” I joked. Sometimes It was hard to have a close relationship for Japanese people, I thought.
“ I recently date one Australian boy, and he is an international student, studying in a Japanese language school and I love him so much. But he told me he would come back to Australia 2 weeks later. I am thinking about whether I should go with him to Australia.”
“ What ?@! How long have you been in a relationship with him ?” I asked
“Just 2 weeks” she replied. “ But I am sure he is the one. When I first saw him, I fell in love with him. After 2 hours, we held hands and kissed. 2 days later, we made love.”
“Ohh cool… but you have your high school life, your friends and family in Fukuoka. And your parents won’t let you do it, right? It is not about studying overseas, but about going with a man to start a new life, which is always tough, and full of shits. Besides, your boyfriend is also a student, as you said. How can he support you financially? What do you plan to do while living in Australia? “I asked her impatiently, as I thought she was too naive and thought that love was everything.
“I have considered the questions you asked. To be honest, I do not have any clear answer for all your questions. But I cannot help controlling my desire going with my boyfriend. Plus, I can come back to Fukuoka anytime if I am not getting along well with him, and start my study or work. As we all know, Japan is short of manpower, I can come back and get a job anytime. It is the nice fact. That’ s why I think it is nothing lose for me to do some crazy things at this age.”
Actually, what she said was correct, No matter whether she worked in Tokyo or Kyushu, her economic future was not optimistic, but not worse, as she could get a job anytime and live alone in Japan without any big difficulty.
“How about your parents? “ I asked.
“ I have been obeying them for 17 years, and when I come back to Japan, I also have to obey them and follow the path they suggest. I don’t think being selfish for one or two years is ridiculous. For example, if my life span is 80 years, It is nothing wrong to follow my heart for Just a few years. The rest of my life I will do what the society expects me to do. I don’t see what I do is wrong.
“Why don’t you go to Australia after graduating from your high school? ”
” If I wait till my graduation, things have changed, and I think I will calm myself and follow the path walked by the majority. Now is an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and no second chance in my life, perhaps” ” Teacher Andy, you will support me, right.” she asked.
I didn’t reply her question; and changed to other topics. We strolled around, toyed with some cats in the park, watched the sunset together.
As we took different trains, we said good-bye to each other at Sakado station. She suddenly hugged me, and said “Thank you and take care”. At that moment, A thought came to my mind that I would not see her again. She took a train first, and kept watching me and waved her hands for good-bye, till the train left the station.
One week later, Aya did not attend the lesson at our home, and I didn’t meet her again. Every-time when I see the sunset at Kayocho pond, and pass by Sakado station, I think of Aya.
6 Japanese commercials about working women in Japan