♬Meeeeeee annddddd Mrs., Mrs. Jones! Mrs. Jones, Mrs. Jones, Mrs. Jones…♬
I cranked up the radio and cruised into the Friday evening sunset. Pass the rice paddies, pass the pachinko parlors, the small castle-like homes, karaoke bars, and convenience stores . Off to my abode; the weekend had arrived. I made my favorite meal for dinner: breakfast. Three scrambled eggs with cheese, toast, fruits with cereal, and yogurt. Watched few episodes of Uchuu Kyoudai (Space Brothers) and freshened up for the evening. It had been a while since I had hung out in Ryugasaki. I planned on hitting up Nyan Peace and seeing where the vibes would take me.
I arrived a little after 9:30 and it wasn’t too much of a scene. My friend, Rumi, was there, bar tending. Another woman was there along with a middle-aged man and an ojisan (grandfather/old dude in Japanese). Due to the small atmosphere, we all ended up conversing together. A few drinks later and the ojisan tells me, “Finish up your drink and let’s go. Don’t worry about the bill. I want you to meet this younger woman.”
And so I was off on another all-expenses paid, Ojisan Adventure. This time including the “potential love interest” subplot. I walked, he stumbled, down a few narrow streets until we arrived at a place with a red, windowless door. I could hear the sounds of Enka, and a man pouring his entire soul into a microphone. We stepped inside.
I had a feeling that ojisan felt like he was the man when he walked into that place. His entire posture changed as he walked confidently to a table as if it were his own. The whole time, embracing all the attention he was receiving for having a foreigner friend at his side. We placed orders and waited, listening to others belt out the most drunken renditions of their favorite songs. Moments later, she arrived.
I’ll admit, the girl (whose name I don’t remember) was cute. Tall and thin, long hair; the “magazine model standard” for lack of better explanation. She took a seat next to ojisan and we started to chat. As time progressed, I came to find out that she actually bar tends at this place. She also wants to study abroad in Thailand, since some of her family is from there. I got the feeling that she was in some sort of transitional phase (Aren’t we all though??). She’s been postponing college for monetary reasons it seems, judging from the conversation. It felt like we talked for a long while, ojisan adding his two cents here and there.
Later on that night, a wild old lady came and sat down with us. Think of that crazy aunt or relative who has absolutely NO filter. Yeah, that was this lady. Not wanting her to feel left out (because I know that feeling well), I decided to entertain her antics for a bit. While we talked, I noticed that the ojisan and young woman were holding hands across from us. I tried to ignore it but as I stole glance after glance, I realized that they weren’t just being friendly with each other. I could see it all in their subtle body language; there was a genuine, intimate connection running between them. I thought to myself, “Hmm, maybe this actually is a hostess club. She’s got to be acting. Why would someone of my age be interested in someone of his age?” But as I looked around there were groups of men, women, and couples in the mix. This was definitely a bar.
It was clearly evident that they were close. Having an urge to comment (and break this long, crazy conversation I was having with the older lady), I jokingly suggested, “You guys should get married.”
He showed me his left hand.
“I’m already married.”
As the song goes: they had a thing going on. They meet every Friday at the same place. 10:30, he knows she’ll be there. The 70s platonic anthem, which I had just heard on the radio hours earlier, was playing itself out right before my eyes.
We got the bill and said our goodbyes. The next night I stopped by the place alone. I didn’t have any intentions of drinking much really, I just wanted to practice my conversation skills. The young woman was there again. I befriended a few patrons who also came alone and before you know it, we were all singing Beatles songs together. As busy as the night was, she often came over and talked to me. Maybe the ojisan really did want me to meet her that night for a reason. Or maybe I’m just reading too much into her friendliness. Yeah, probably the latter. Peace.