International Party Ginza   Leave a comment

“If you guess my job, I will tell it to you.” she says.

The ‘she’ is a tall, statuesque woman with the features of an aging Chinese actress. She tells me she’s part Japanese, Korean and Chinese. Her drink is held close to her lips, and her sly eyes shoot needles at me every time I make a joke. She and a friend are both a little red-faced and giggling. I’m in Ginza, at the monthly International Party meetup.

I can’t really figure out what she does, but I’m guessing hostess lady. She’s wearing a form fitting a purple silk dress with delicately stitched embroidery of flowers on the entire surface are of the fabric. With her hair in a bun, I couldn’t help but think of the heart breaker femme fatale assassin. Her friend, Kyoko, has shy, puppy-dog eyes and a mouth curved downwards into a non-smile. We laugh about silly jokes for a while, then I head to the bar.

I like events like these; they are a welcome break from the madness of Tokyo, and a good way to meet reasonably friendly foreigners and Japanese people. However, these social outings help to confirm the idea of “Japanese shyness” to the extreme. Unless the Japanese men are drunk, they generally stand up without speaking to anyone (except their friends). Several foreign men are the same, walking around aimlessly until the lights blink at nine, indicating that the event is over. Then there are groups of Japanese women who sit at tables with each other, also chatting until everything is owatta (finished).

Despite the ratio of very shy people in attendance, after a few doses of what we call “liquid confidence” in Jamaica, everyone starts chit-chatting and getting chummy. Tonight was interesting, from meeting a French Web Developer studying at a Japanese University named No-beer (Norbert), A genki personal trainer who learned English in Florida, Italian architects, and a girl from Alaska who told me something fascinating.

“I love where I live now because I can eat fruits!” she said.

Tall with an attractive face and dressed in a Yukata, she had the air of a foreigner who was more than comfy with Japanese culture. This was also bolstered by the fact that the Tokyo night outside was oven-hot. From her town in Alasaka, she mentioned receiving fruits twice a year from a barge that came into her town.

“Wow, that’s fascinating.” I said.

It was a fun event, which ended with me going home and losing a bet about an old Japanese cartoon I thought was Speed Racer, but was actually Falcon Boy. Next time.

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