Mushi Atsui

It ended up being a good day. Driving home from the train station in my little Nissan March in the rain, the dark and listening to jazz-- oh, what serendipity-- to turn on the radio here and hear a lovely rendition of Good Morning Heartache. I forgot how much I love jazz-- haven't been listening to enough of it these days.

And just minutes before, standing on the platform in the station waiting for the train, the rain down on the tracks-- wet, and this is what Japan is-- that sultry wet warmness. And this evening it was wonderful. After a few glasses of red wine, splendid.

A short and doughy businessman about my age, looking a little red in the eyes, asked me the time the train'd arrive. 11:25, the last train. Then he recognized me, that split second look, "moshikashite," "maybe, are you..." "Yes, I'm not Japanese." I said to confirm his doubt.

For the next 30 minutes we had friendly conversation in both English and Japanese. He asked me what Japanese actors I like, I told him, Watanabe Ken, the sexy samurai in The Last Samurai. He told me he liked Cameron Diaz. Then said, "Oh, you look like Cameron Diaz." I just had to laugh because I have brown hair, am not tall, am not skinny,.... Later he said he liked Beverly Hills 90210 and said I looked like Brenda. At least he got the hair color right this time and he said, No it's everything about you! "Brenda is beautiful, a pretty girl."

We didn't exhange names, and was relieved he didn't ask to become my language exchange partner, but even though he was uninhibited by the beers he probably drank after work, it was just a sweet exchange. That was cool that he had the guts to have a normal, friendly conversation with me in English. Most people don't.

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