Chapter 38:

Tokyo Part II: Chapter 33

The Kimochi Warui Diary

We awoke at 9:00 A.M., on the dot, thanks to a shrill buzzer that blared through the ceiling speaker—a reminder that checkout was in an hour. Bookmark here

We shook off our sleep, threw on our gear, and returned our key. Down the street, we ate at the first open place serving food.Bookmark here

SlurrrrrpBookmark here

“You don’t actually have to slurp the ramen,” I said.Bookmark here

“In Japan, slurping means you like the food. It’s rude not to slurp,” Jotaro replied.Bookmark here

“I’m pretty sure it’s not rude to not slurp.” Bookmark here

SlurrrrrrrrrrpBookmark here

Today was the official day that our rail passes expired. Travelling outside of Tokyo was no longer an option for our budgets.Bookmark here

Yet, none of my searches for tonight’s hotel were turning up anything nearby. We’d been lucky to find vacant rooms on such short notice up until this point—had our luck began to run out?Bookmark here

We explained the situation at Noah’s place. Bookmark here

“You could always try a net café,” Noah said. Bookmark here

A net café? That’s right, Torako also told me something about that once:Bookmark here

“I spent 3 nights in the net café leveling up my character in Eden of Eternia 2, only leaving to eat kebab sandwiches and these delicious ice cream pops. God, I miss those ice cream pops, I would even—”Bookmark here

I shook the memory from my head. Bookmark here

“Okay,” I said. “I guess that can be our last resort. Is it comfortable?”Bookmark here

“Some of the rooms have reclining chairs that you can sleep in. It’s not bad.”Bookmark here

The net café could be our backup if I couldn’t find anything else online.Bookmark here

“Noah,” Kumiko said, “Why don’t we take them to Harajuku and Shibuya today?”Bookmark here

He agreed. They explained that we’d be able to browse the shops, view some iconic Japanese sights, and then grab some food. After that, we’d separate, leaving Jotaro and I to our own devices.Bookmark here

“If you haven’t been to Roppongi yet, that could be a good chance to go.”Bookmark here

Roppongi? Where had I heard of that? Bookmark here

Ah yes… Roppongi was one of the most popular locations for foreigners. If you do any online search for “What’s fun to do in Japan?” you’re bound to find Roppongi within the first suggestions. Bookmark here

In other words, Roppongi is supposed to be normie central: bars, dance clubs, and parties.Bookmark here

Of course, there was only one reason I was ever interested enough in Roppongi to have done research on it. I pulled out my phone and scrolled through my bookmarks until I came across a blog post I’d read almost a year ago:Bookmark here

“Roppongi: The Easiest Spot for Foreigners to Get Lucky in Japan”Bookmark here

So, it had come to this. Bookmark here

I reviewed the blog post again to drill some more of the information into my head. One part, in particular, stuck out the most to me:Bookmark here

“Here’s what you have to remember… You can’t be speaking any Japanese to the girls in bars. If you’re one of these guys who knows a lot about Japan and knows the language, you gotta keep it all to yourself. Why is that? Because Japanese women aren’t interested in guys who don’t make money (even if you don’t make much money, at least put on the impression that you might be making a lot of money)! And that means not speaking Japanese!! I can already hear you fighting me on this, but let me explain: A foreigner who speaks Japanese means only one of two things to Japanese women. One, that you’re an otaku who spends all of their money on anime merchandise, or two—and worst of all—that you’re just another English teacher.”Bookmark here

The website had some outdated HTML styling, sure, but the blog post itself felt far more authentic than most other articles I’d found online. Bookmark here

This post wasn’t afraid to get into the dirty details. The whole thing was written with an air of authenticity that felt like it couldn’t be made up—as if it was written purely because the author felt he needed to, not because he was being paid to by some travel agency or hotel chain.Bookmark here

I had to stop myself, though… Could all of this stuff really be true? Isn’t this all a bit cynical? After all, I had actually done OK when I revealed all of my Japanese interests to Tomoyo.Bookmark here

No! That situation was completely different. Bookmark here

We’re dealing with complete normies in Roppongi! What kind of normie Japanese girl is going to ever find herself in a hostel in Osaka messing around with some foreigner, drawing kanji on his arm as a joke? Bookmark here

The side of myself that I showed to Tomoyo would be completely incompatible with the kind of girls that hung around Roppongi. Even Tomoyo was a bit weird in her own way, after all—she was an exception. Bookmark here

While it’s true that I’ve been a closet otaku for the last seven years of my life, I did have another life outside of the closet. Bookmark here

From a young age, I was a loner and a daydreamer. That was in sharp contrast to Jotaro, who ruled the schoolyard with his friends.Bookmark here

My seclusion was so bad that even my own mother suggested I break out of my shell by following along with the shenanigans of Jotaro and his friends, even if it meant getting into trouble.Bookmark here

From then onward, I would be raised by the normies… Molded by them.Bookmark here

But their efforts didn’t start working until high school. By then, most of my friends were all acquired through mutual connections to Jotaro. That web of connections always brought me in the orbit of high school parties, underage drinking, recreational drugs, and other normie delights.Bookmark here

Though I was never comfortable enough to reveal my full power level to anyone from that side of my life, it did help me overcome the barriers of social interaction. Through the fake confidence they instilled in me, I was able to find Torako and a few other of friends—ones that understood my true nature—all on my own.Bookmark here

But what I’m trying to say is this:Bookmark here

If I have to go to the bars and act like a total normie to get some Japanese female attention, then I’m ready to put on the mask once again.Bookmark here

If I could pull this off, just think… I’d be able to stay in a love hotel—with a girl this time instead of my own brother! Plus, I wouldn’t have to worry about tonight’s hotel crisis. I’ll figure out something for Jotaro later…Bookmark here

“Hey, what the fuck is taking you so long in there?”Bookmark here

From the time Noah said Roppongi up until now, I had wandered into the bathroom, obsessively trying to get myself ready for tonight’s special occasion. Bookmark here

The problem was that I hadn’t come dressed for any such occasion. Again, all I had was my puffy jacket and a haircut that hadn’t entirely grown in.Bookmark here

I was at Noah’s sink trying to somehow part or fix it in a way that would make its unkemptness look somehow intentional or styled. I wet it, ran my fingers through it, dried it off, started over and tried again in new directions, looked around to see if Noah had any hair product I could pilfer— Bookmark here

“Hurry the fuck up, I need to piss.”Bookmark here

Jotaro’s banging at the door shook me from my neurotic loop. Bookmark here

In truth, there was really nothing I could do about any of this stuff. I would have to grasp the entire strength of my heart to pull out enough self-love and confidence to carry me through the night.Bookmark here

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