Stereotypes are wrong. I hate them, but sometimes I feel I contradict myself whenever I express myself on different topics. Not on this. One thing I never fail to deliver clearly on is sake, good food, onsen, and Jukujo. I won’t fail. I never fail.
There are a lot of things lacking in Japanese society today. Things like wholesome communication, good sleep, good sex( not the obligatory kind), expensive nihonshu and a good three square meals a day. I learned that the best way to enjoy Japan is to do more of the things that people in Japan do less ofLess brain. More balls should be a spiritual mantra for this country. And then some….
I met a lovely Jukujo a year ago on bus #110 bound for Yokohama Station. She was one of the most fantastic human beings I had ever met. 44 and in great shape. I was staring at her on the bus from the back seat. From time to time she would steal glances back at me and I took this to mean she was interested in me, but as you know , looks can be deceiving here in Japan, especially a smile.
When her stop finally came I followed her off the bus into a very busy part of town. I stayed very close to her from behind. Sensing me she swung around and with a loud voice yelled at me: “ Are you a criminal! Are you a dangerous man!?” she shouted. Should I call the police. By this time, everybody was looking at us and suspecting that I was the culprit behind all of the commotion. I was mortified and left speechless surrounded by a mass of onlookers and passersby.
I had to come up with something quick, so I reached for my business card and quickly offered it to her and told her I was an English instructor and that I was just looking for potential students for English lessons, and that if she were interested to contact me. She held the card in her hand for a few moments (holding my breath).
She said OK. Then I calmed down. Eventually the onlookers went about their way. She never gave me her number. Eight hours later, I get a call and she asked to meet me for coffee. So we did, we talked, and come to find out she was a little intrigued by my aggressive nature. She offered to teach me Japanese instead for free, and even correct my ENGLISH from time to time. I’ve been scolded by her for poor oversight, how embarrassing, but I’m man enough to fess up. She was really good!
Thanks, in huge part, to her I was able to get my books published and registered with the National DIET Library(Library of Congress of Japan), and eventually sold through Yurindo, one of the largest bookstores in Japan. Since then I have shifted markets and am selling them as coffee table books this summer since the books are too large and heavy for mass production along with costs. I have the largest compendium of onsen in full color in book form in the world along with my own mini-paring guide for sake and food.
I was the student and she was the teacher of all things Japan, and this was so beautiful for me. We both appreciated delicious food and sake. I truly believe that in any kind of relationship/friendship where two people are learning from each other it is essential for both parties to learn and grow from each other.