The Kimochi Warui Diary
Jotaro sits in a meditative, cross legged stance atop large grey rocks. Wayward flakes of snow fall around him.
He breaths in deeply through the nose and out through the mouth, his pace unchanging even as a cold wind blows through the mountain.
Several macaque monkeys bathe in the hot spring behind him. Yet, their actions do not faze him in the slightest.
It’s not until drops of water begin falling from the sky that Jotaro begins to wince. His expression forms into disgust as the drops increase by one, two, three, four…
I wrenched open the window, stuck my head out, and spewed vomit, watching it fall four stories to the ground.
“I thought you left the window open and it was raining,” Jotaro said as we packed our bags. “But it was just your fucking puke!”
That morning, the lobby of the hostel was empty. We initiated the hostel’s self-checkout process without anyone to say any goodbyes to.
As Jotaro and I made our way to the train, there was only one thing on our minds:
For the entire length of the train riding up the mountain, with winding roads and tightly packed homes built alongside them:
“Big boodher, yeh?”
My phone. It was a message from… the sushi waitress? Oh crap, really??
Apparently, I had sent her several messages last night—but they were harmless. I’d told her “Hello” and asked where she was from. Classic…
As I picked the conversation back up, I tested her English, but she didn’t seem to know much—if any. I had to make the effort of copy-pasting her sentences into my dictionary app, deconstructing them, and finding the main point.
In summary, she was half-Korean. Her dreams were to become a sushi chef back home—hence her employment at the sushi restaurant.
I exited out the conversation and saw the other Japanese contacts in my LINE friend list. The only other Japanese people I had known enough to add to LINE were the ones I met at college, through the university’s international program.
All of them had seemed interested in chatting and willingly added me to LINE, but the conversations with them always faded quickly. I’d tried to gauge their interest in doing something outside of class, but never got any committed replies.
“And no one in that society was ever going to tell him that directly.”
I remembered when I first met some of the Japanese students. At first, I was trying to play it cool like I didn’t know anything about anime as my classmate went on and on about Sword Art Online.
But then I got curious about what his reaction would be if I had mentioned a high-level Japanese meme—the kind that run-of-the-mill Western anime fans don’t know about.
I acted out the meme for him.
“What? You know that??”
At first, he seemed impressed. Foolish me had even felt a bit proud of it. But as he kept going, his enthusiasm seemed more like mockery.
He turned to his friend and told him. “Hey, he knows!” Then he’d act out the meme for his friend.
“Really? He knows that?”
From then on, whenever they’d see me in the humanities building on my way to classes, they’d address me purely by imitating that meme.
When I tried to change the subject, they didn’t seem interested in the slightest. They would just laugh, go on their way, and meet up with the other Japanese students.
“We’re here,” Jotaro said.
We’d arrived at the last top. Now, we just had to take a gondola up to the top of Mount Kouya.
I messaged the sushi girl to tell her that it was nice talking to her. Then I deleted the conversation and removed her as a contact.