Thursday, August 07, 2008

so who's drooling?

Yuri asked me if I thought he was cute. In fact, Masami asked me the same question too on a separate occasion. When asked these kinda questions, I deftly avoid answering in the affirmative even if I'm secretly drooling and stealing glances at the guy. Sometimes I throw the question back, hoping that would put them in a spot and turn the attention away from me! To that, they did say he was a bit too "serious". That was my first impression as well, so I wasn't exactly drooling!

So I continued in this nonchalant attitude when we were invited to his place for coffee. The rest had already met him in his earlier trips, so I was considered the new friend. That gave me plenty of reasons to talk to him and get to know him. But again, due to my ego it wasn't as if I was all over him trying to find every little opportunity to ask questions and show I was genuinely interested in being his friend.

The evening went on pretty well. Three really deliciously baked thin-crust pizzas followed by home-brewed coffee. He was showing his newly-delved passion in making good coffee and unfortunately since I'm not such a coffee fan, I couldn't pretend I was into it. Being courteous, I said I would take just a sip. So he offered to share with me his cup instead. After a few sips, I still couldn't understand why the rest had proclaimed it as one of the best coffee they had drunk!

And so, after saying goodbyes, I wasn't really expecting to see him again. He was just a visitor and would be returning back to his home country. But one thing I got inspired from him, which was to have a passion in something and really learn all you can about it and be good in it. He invested in that coffee grinder and brewer and could tell me all about the beans and their various acidity level, aroma and whatnots.

Somehow, an opportunity struck not too long ago and he accepted my invitation for an evening of festivities. It was his last weekend in Tokyo and so I thought it would be good to bring him around town to experience a local matsuri* and the fireworks display that marked the peak of summer and meet up with some of my friends.

I guess I had unconsciously taken up the challenge of getting to know him, especially when more than 1 person commented that he was too "serious". I was not really surprised as the Brits are known for their dry humour. So perhaps the Japanese are more used to Caucausians being loud, outspoken and friendly.

In any case, we did have lots of fun watching the local procession in the streets of Nakameguro, (him) having beer on a humid evening, and then proceeding to stuff ourselves with izakaya** food. I must say that on the outside, he may seem aloof and humourless, but once you get him to talk about his hobbies and passion, he can get real chatty and funny.

My goal was not to see if he had a sense of humour, but rather, quash the commonly-agreed notion of him being too serious, and reiterate the fact that if you take the time and effort and charms, you will find a person more interesting than he or she appears to be. My reward was a cute friend who's not only a Cambridge law graduate who speaks fluent Japanese but darn good in B-boy breakdancing too! Yes, you have my permission to drool.

*matsuri (祭り)- local festival, feast, usually with dancing, singing & music
**izakaya (居酒屋)- local Japanese-style bar, tavern serving all sorts of food & drinks

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