Upon checking into the Okura Hotel there was a beautiful young Japanese woman working at the arrival counter and she made it a point to look right at me. We made eye contact and looking at her beautiful dark eyes I knew we were going to be friends. She checked me in speaking excellent English. We smiled a lot at each other and made small talk until she handed me my key. I thanked her for her kind service. Her name was Takahashi. “Domo arigoto, Takahashi-san,” I said, thanking her in Japanese. This showed I knew a little of her language and was not a total Gaijin. This means in Japanese this means foreigner and is usually used in a negative manner, similar to the word gringo in Mexico.
The bell hop took me to the room, we no sooner arrived and the phone rings. It was Takahashi calling to see if my room is acceptable. I told her yes and then I got the nerve to ask her to have a drink with me after she got off work the next day. She agreed and advised me to meet her at a coffee shop, about ten blocks from the Hotel, at 7pm. I was beat and had jet lag. Jet lag is caused by sitting on the plane for 16 hours and then landing in a different time zone. Basically jet lag is a feeling of being tired so the only cure is sleep.
I arrived at the coffee shop early and she showed up on time. Takahashi was a stunning woman, dressed plainly but stunning. She was very small at about 5 feet and had jet black straight hair cut shoulder length. Her black eyes, red colored lips, and bright smile made her look very attractive. She had worked at Okura Hotel for five years and became front desk manager because she could speak excellent English. She advised me that she lived one hour outside the city by train. She was 27 years old and still living with her parents. In Japan and Korea it is common for women to live at home until they are married. Normal marriage age is about 27 or 28. The last train to take her home is at midnight so she cannot miss it or she needs to get a hotel room for the night. I was fascinated by her kindness, manners, and beauty, as this was my first contact with a Japanese woman. She was so gentle and polite, speaking in her high pitched soft voice which was easy on the ears. After talking for about an hour we went for my first sushi.
I told her this was my first time to Japan and she asks me how I learned Japanese. I advised her I had been studying Japanese to learn enough to get around without too much trouble. She informed me she learned English in High School and then College. We talked mostly about our different cultures and places to see. I walked her to the train station that first night. Time had flown by and she was just going to make the last train. We shook hands good night and I watched her safely board the train. I saw her every day for the next three days while I was in Tokyo.
I stayed at the Okura Hotel for the next three years while visiting Tokyo. She took me all over Tokyo on different tours. We had a clear attraction for each other as friends. She would always introduce me to some of her good friends and we would go out for sushi or drinks. Japanese like to be in groups and usually there would be three to five people with us on our outings in Tokyo. They were all curious about the American Gaijin who could speak some Japanese. If the Okura Hotel ever found out she was seeing a customer after work she would have been fired.
I don’t know what ever happen to Takahashi-san. Maybe she became married. She was a great friend and lovely person whom I would like to see again. My business travels to Tokyo dropped off after four years and so I didn’t stay at the Okura Hotel any more. I learned many things about Japan from Takahashi-san. The Japanese people and most Asians have a completely different view point about love and sex than Americans. Love and sex are not the same thing. They are not shy and are very open to have sexual relationships even if it may never lead to marriage. In some cases if they are married it is accepted the husband may have a girl friend and sometimes the wife a boy friend. It almost seems Japanese people do not become jealous but this maybe due to the fact they normally do not show much emotion.
Over the next 20 years of my travels to Japan I made many friends. My Japanese friends would take me to places where tourist did not go. This was because I took it upon myself to learn some basic Japanese language, history, and manners. They knew I loved Japan, the customs, and the people. Read American Gaijin, Japan Samurai Adventures Part 9 – Noda and Kyoto