Kaytay's First Day of Work in Japan, or
Quality Bathroom Time and a Happy Ending

I’ve never had to pee so much in my life. I’ve always taken pride in my ability to limit bathroom visits to perhaps twice a day, three times max, but this afternoon alone I was all but sprinting to the restroom every hour or so.

The source of my predicament? I met individually with two "sararimen" this afternoon and sipped gourmet coffee while making small talk in English for several hours. I made about a hundred bucks and was plied with as much caffeine as my heart desired (which was consequently much more than any human bladder could contain).

The first "student" (I use this term loosely, as the man is ten years my senior) was fifteen minutes late to our agreed upon rendezvous, but I was so pleasantly surprised by his handsome face that I immediately forgave him. he led me into a three-story Starbucks overlooking a huge intersection in Shibuya (picture a six-way crosswalk where thousands of people run headlong into each other every couple of minutes) and bought us iced coffee and even managed to find a tiny table on the second level.

The man is a doll; not too good at speaking English, but considering he’s only been studying the language for one year and can already hold an intelligible conversation at a decent pace, he is damn impressive. He works for Disney and is quite high up on the corporate ladder, which means he has some insane connections. He has offered me countless privileges and benefits involving merchandise and entertainment, which is priceless in my eyes since I am (embarrassingly enough) the biggest Disney fan one can be at the age of 20. His boss recently moved to a different company, and the replacement is an American who knows no Japanese (no surprise there), so poor Student #1 is expected to get his English to a level where he can comfortably conduct meetings, phone calls, and basically all business transactions and negotiations in a foreign language as soon as humanly possible.

He wants to pay me a hundred dollars a week for a few hours of conversation and help with translating confidentialdocuments, plus he’ll buy me dinner and coffee or whatever. Plus any time I want to have a lesson at Tokyo Disney, it’s on the house.

I love this city.

It gets even better – the next gentleman I met with is also an insanely successful man who speaks nearly spotless English with a slight tinge of an Australian accent. He took me to an extremely chic restaurant (more coffee, I wasn’t about to eat during the first meeting) and we talked for three and a half hours. Neither of us realized we had been there so long; it was quite possibly the best conversation I’ve had since arriving in this country. Student #2 offered to give me free Japanese lessons each time we conclude an English session, and he is so kind that I just might take him up on it and try to get over my embarrassment at making mistakes in front of people.

The fact that I became lost twice on the way home was inconsequential. I’m still happy as a clam and smiling ear-to-ear.

back to Being a foreign female in Japan

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